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

Saturday 10 January 2015


Dear Fellowship,

So my beautiful friend, ex-roomie and double cancer survivor legend Greig Trout wrote a piece on his blog tonight that made me and the hardcore Matt Furlong cry, for heaven's sake!! Matt had had a few beers when he read it though so he was in a weakened state, in his defence... smile emoticon
I thought I'd share Greig's post with you because a) it made me happy, b) it makes me sound like a total ledge c) I can do what I want right now and d) his gorgeous 101 blog is way better than mine and you should all follow it immediately! Trouty has also been an absolute rock over the last week and I'm ridiculously grateful that he walked into my life when he did. 
The news has been largely good today, Dave the boob man was ace, knows a thing or two about dealing with the likes of Lumpy and Lymphy and their ilk and I trust him all the way. Lots of you have asked me how it went today and I haven't had a chance to sit down and compose a proper post so this is un-edited and will probably ramble on. It will, rest assured, be grammatically perfect. 
In brief (or not), no Angelina Jolie op needed as I quietly feared yesterday, the Connerty rack should hopefully remain intact as long as Lumpy has stayed within his boob boundaries but the signature Connerty Bouff is probably going to take one for the team despite me trying to wheedle my way out of chemo. 
Black comedy moment with Dave earlier discussing fate of bouff:
Me to Dave 'will it go?"
Dave to me 'yes it'll grow'
Me "no, will it go?'
Dave : yes of course it will grow!
Dave: oh yes but it'll grow back.
Me: thankyou Dave. 
So 40 years (25 years really as my hair was an absolute disgrace till I was 15) of ringlet-twirling may be at an end but this ringleted bouff is made of the tears of unicorns so I doubt it will go down without a fight. Weirdly, I have felt sadder today about losing the bouff than I have felt happy about keeping the boobs but I tried on a tea towel earlier and it looked awesome so every cloud...
On a semi-serious note, losing one's hair especially when you are a bird with hair so big that you regularly flick it in people's faces by accident and that people like to touch on public transport in wonderment, is a bit shit but in the grand scheme of things, it seems a small price to pay to stick around and annoy the shit out of everyone for another 40 years. 
Dave said today 'my job is to get you another 45 years not another 10'. He looked a bit baffled when I started stroking the bouff absent-mindedly like I was comforting a pet hamster and when I explained that I would be quite sad to see it go, he said 'don't worry, am sure you'll rock the Annie Lennox thing'. The man is not remotely moved in any way by the power of the ringlets. It's shocking to see but strangely reassuring. 
Yet again, I must thank you all for your flowers, gifts, supportive comments, messages, calls and texts today - they have all kept me going and made me focus on what's actually important in this very average situation.
Special thanks to Jez Clark who took the day off to come with me and take copious notes while everything Dave said went in one of my ears and out the other. I took JC because he is essentially the calm to my chaos right now but he is also a total jobsworth and copious note-taker. No better man for the job or so I thought….

Sitting in reception waiting for Dave:
Me : All you have to do is just listen, absorb and write it all down.
Jez: I'm all over it, VC. I'm a brilliant note-taker and (taps forehead) a lot of it is all in here babe. (Pause) That Sam's nice, isn't she?
Me: Who's Sam?
Jez: Sam on reception. We just met her.
Me: Her name's Kate. Oh god. 
The Aussies don't hang about and my surgery is on Tuesday next week. Same day as my beautiful niece Lottie's 1st birthday - gotta be a good omen!

VC x

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