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

Friday 11 September 2015


Dear Fellowship,

A year in the life of the Bouff...yikes.

I'm posting this photo with a not insignificant amount of insecure, girlish trepidation but as I wandered round a service station anonymously yesterday 'sans wig' on the way to see my Mum, I thought it might finally be time to reveal the new Bouff in all her glory to my actual pals, instead of some random West Country shoppers who probably just think I'm a trendy nan, attempting to go full (Judi) Dench.

I've not wanted to focus on the hair loss shizzle too much in these musings over the last year. The few cancer blogs and books I've read labour the point so much that it can become, I believe, pretty unhelpful to those going through and facing cancer treatment as well as to those who are not.

Yes, losing your hair is not fun. But dying is worse. It's really that simple. So you stop crying about all your wasted curl products and you suck it up. You embrace the loss of the very thing you thought defined you and you discover that a head full of ringlets didn't actually define you at all. You find that actually you kind of love the simplicity of the crop and then you find a magic wig that re-defines the very perception of cancer wigs. You even learn that many people (mainly boys, you saps) prefer the wig to the Bouff but that's ok. Losers. :)

And now the Bouff is coming back. It's poking its roots cautiously over the parapet and concluding that it's safe to re-emerge. And it appears to be coming back grey or as I prefer to call it, ice-blonde. OMG. I fear that I may end up more Supergran than Judi Dench but we shall cross that bridge (and hairdressing salon) when we get there.

But my point is this: cancer is not about losing your hair, it's about not losing your life. And way back in Jan, when the diagnosis had sunk in and I learnt that my hair would need to take one for the team, I was oddly ok with it. Because when you are here, my friends, in the swirling eye of the cancery storm, you really don't care one jot about hair.

So do not get all misty-eyed about seeing the Bouff in her former glory. She is coming back in a disguise so cunning that even Hannibal from the A-Team would be impressed. (Actually she's currently in a bag in my apartment so she's still around if you want to say hi.)

Off to google 'ice blonde crops' and get some inspiration... :)


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