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

Tuesday 12 May 2015

* CHEMO 4 DONE - 2 TO GO..

Dear Fellowship,

4 down and just 2 to go! I believe this equates to being two thirds of the way through, despite maths not being a strong point. Wahay! This drug promises to be a bit more hardcore apparently - if I could sum up my chat with 'no sugar-coating for VC' Dr Dear yesterday, my key take-out would be that the last drug was all about managing nausea (which I did quite well with the help of an indecent amount of anti-nausea pills) and this one is all about managing pain - uh oh...
Plus just when I was getting smug about my re-growing hair and my eyelashes and eyebrows remaining intact, she said casually "oh yeah, this drug will take those"... Ho hum. 
The pics below, as well as confusing the devil out of all passer-bys - "why are those idiots posing inappropriately outside a cancer centre?" - also show the delightful and massive ice mitts that I have to wear for these next three rounds to apparently protect my lovely Shellac manicure or more probably, fingernails. My priorities may not be in quite the right order…

Imagine sticking your hands into a freezer for 90 mins and that should give you an understanding of why my facial expression is less than joyful. Reminded me of that time a bunch of us were boarding in Banff in Canada in -40 (because we were young, thought we were hardcore but were actually largely stupid), got up to the top of the first run of the day and came down with frostbite, snapped bindings, tears in our eyes and a lesson learnt. Whereas that time we sacked it off and stumbled home defeated by the elements in Banff, today was the equivalent of getting back on the ski lift and going back up. Without gloves. Good times.
But I digress. Amazing to have my bro and mum there today on Team Cheem #4 - not sure Jon really knew where he was (jetlag, he claims) but Mum did really well, only a couple of sad 'mum watching daughter have chemo' moments that made us both well up momentarily before regaining our British composure in true Connerty-esque style and deciding to laugh at my massive ice jazz hands instead!

Thank you for your lovely messages of support - as ever, they spur me on to power through these chemo sessions more than you know. smile emoticon
So, today is done - another milestone reached and passed, and as always, I'll take the next few days easy with my loungewear, box sets and family before emerging, fully rejuvenated hopefully, on the weekend! 
See you on the flipside...


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