In January 2015, following a routine check by my vigilant GP, I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.

As a Brit living in Sydney, Australia since 2008, I realised over the following days just how many of my friends and family were scattered across the globe and different timezones.

The Fellowship of the Ringlets was originally just a tremendous pun and the title of a closed Facebook group I created to keep those distant friends and family in the loop and worry-free.

But over 12 months, my little group somehow grew from 80 to 800+ and became a veritable band of brothers, a support team like no other and a true Fellowship in every sense of the word.

Their love, laughter and rallying cries have been the greatest tonic a little ringlet'd cancer-face like me could have wished for.

The following letters, musings, incoherent ramblings and occasional bouts of bad language are for them all.

Welcome to the Fellowship of the Ringlets.

VC x

Monday 9 March 2015


Juice. Tick. Phone. Tick. Matching bag and T-shirt. Dick. 

Writing room with a view

Dear Fellowship, 

So after 8 crazy weeks, a bout of boob surgery, one dead arm, some egg harvesting and the snipping of ringlets, I'm now ready for tomorrow's big Chemo Day #1.

In a weird way, I'm glad this day is finally here. Over the last 8 weeks, it feels like I've heard nothing but chemo chat from a gazillion different sources - most of it has been fairly terrifying and hearing about all the potential side effects from puking to hair loss to chemo brain to fingernails falling off would strike fear into the hardiest of souls.

But oddly, I'm not actually scared of tomorrow despite all the horror stories, I'm keen to crack on with this next phase and it's not just because I have the finest of cancer survivor mentors setting me the very best of examples. To me, it's very simple but I'll spell it out.

In short, chemo is there to cure me and ensure that those cancery little cells never return to mess with me again. Chemo is going to make me feel really quite average at times without a doubt. It will make me sick, make me tired, piss me off more than an 8am client meeting and probably make me look like Voldemort and Dr Evil's illegitimate child for a while. It will hammer my immune system, compromise my fertility and make me as weak as a kitten when all my life I have been as strong as an ox.

But here's the point. Chemo's job is to kill my cancer so it can frankly do whatever it needs to do to make that happen. If I feel shit, then it's guaranteed that cancer probably feels shitter. And we should all be ok with that. Even if we're not ok with the increased levels of bad language hitting this page from me...

Please rest assured I am not in denial about this treatment plan, I am not relentlessly and irritatingly cheerful (as my nearest and dearest will willingly testify) but I will also not be cowering in fear of either cancer or chemo.

I'm outrageously lucky to have the greatest of people around me, both near and far, and as I venture into the unknown tomorrow, I'm yet again grateful I chose my team and my Fellowship wisely.

Seeya on the flipside of CD#1 kids and finally, Happy Birthday to my beautiful mum, the toughest bird and greatest example-setter of them all...

Meanwhile, here's a quote I like.

"When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly." (Patrick Overton, The Leaning Tree).

VC x

P.S I'm not getting enough credit for typing all these posts with one hand frankly. Hence a pic of my concentrating face and Lefty in action at Tamarama Beach earlier today 

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