WHAT IS THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGLETS?


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, 20 April 2015

* MARATHONS, MUM & THE MIDWAY POINT

Dear Fellowship,

Way back in Jan, when I was just getting my confused face and curly bonce around all this brand new cancer shizzle, my friend Jo messaged me. 
She told me she had signed up to run the Great Wall of China Marathon in May (as you do if you are 98% mad and enjoy climbing up 5,164 steps for fun) and that in the wake of my cancery news, she wanted to raise money for a charity of my choice. What an amazing gesture from a top bird.

The Great Wall of China Marathon madness

I thought long and hard about which charity to choose. The obvious choice would have been a breast cancer charity I guess, but in the end, I asked her to run on behalf of the MS Society. 
My amazing mum Lyn was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2004. A radiographer by trade, she had enough medical knowledge to know what her symptoms probably meant before she officially got the results. Her four kids on the other hand were totally oblivious and pretty terrified when she told us - we didn't know what MS stood for, what it looked like or what the future held for us all and I suspect this is still the case for lots of families across the globe. 
More than ten years on and Mum is still doing a monumental job of refusing to bow down to MS and its ongoing effects. Alongside my dad, she too is a shining example of how to get up every day and just get on with life, regardless of what gets thrown at us along the way. 
Having Limpy (literally) hanging around for the last 3 months has been fairly annoying but I always believed the feeling and movement in my arm would eventually return which I'm happy to say (after a fair amount of physio and a number of stern talking-to's) is thankfully starting to happen. It seems poor old Limpy's days are finally numbered! 
I'm lucky though - by comparison, MS is a degenerative disease and sufferers just have to tolerate and adapt to their ongoing and worsening symptoms. There is still no cure and like cancer, early detection and preventative research is critical.
Over the last few months, lots of you have asked me if I need anything or if there's anything you can do, which has been tremendous. There really isn't anything I'm lacking - your support and generosity has already been overwhelming - but if you do have a few spare quid or if MS is as close to your heart as it is to mine, then I would be hugely grateful if you could find time to click the link below and sponsor Jo and her friend Lucie.

https://www.justgiving.com/Jo-Scott4/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=fundraisingpage&utm_content=Jo-Scott4&utm_campaign=pfp-share

Never one to let her MS dictate or hamper her plans, Mum has been over to Australia twice in the last few years to visit and is coming out again in less than a fortnight with the rest of my Connerty clan. I cannot WAIT to see them all descend onto Australian soil (there will doubtless be tears at Sydney Airport on the 3rd of May - not from me obviously, I'm hardcore) although I fear, currently looking out of the window at torrential rain, that I may spend most of the time explaining to my disappointed niece that despite rumours to the contrary, it isn't actually sunny in Oz all the time…

The clan, then and now(ish)
Meanwhile it's Chemo #3 tomorrow, the last of this current drug cocktail and therefore the official halfway point in the old chemo treatment plan. Boom! My usual man-slaves are taking a well-earned break in both Europe and the slightly less glamorous Melbourne so I have drafted in my friend Ryan as a replacement who's just popped over from the UK for work. What better end to his trip than 4 hours in a cancer centre watching me get chemo'd?! Thanks Rhino! :)

I still feel really good at the moment so fingers crossed that this continues beyond tomorrow. Meanwhile, I have Netflix, Apple TV, Foxtel and a brand new 50" TV (it's like having the Moonlight Cinema in my living room - ridiculous) to keep me occupied during this restful week - frankly, I may never leave the house again…

See you on the flipside of Chemo #3!

Love,
VCx