Monday 26 November 2018

Ask Me Anything (but I'm not an expert)

I am being described as a Cancer Expert which is a little embarrassing as I'm not sure I'm really anything close to an expert in anything, bar perhaps optimum washing machine temperatures for non-biological powders or coming up with the most compelling excuses to go out for a run when really I should be 'cracking on regardless' (the brain is so much more effective after exercise, I can plan a new writing exercise as I run, I'm nicer to everyone when I get some fresh air so it's a win-win - do you see what I mean?) 

However, I would admit that as 
my Five Year Cancerversary approaches in December, I have picked up quite a lot from the real coalface of living with cancer - not only from my own experience, but also from the extra research for Tea & Chemo and simply meeting so many wonderful people who have also had the misfortune to frequent Cancerville. Indeed, it's one of the many silver linings of cancer which I have spoken of before both here, in a post from the 'early days' and more recently, here: Tour de Friends 

And so it is that I find myself hugely honoured to be hosting the Live Better With's first Ask Me Anything (AMA) online Q and A event @ 7pm on Tuesday 4 December. 

A taste of Tea & Chemo at the launch of the
Live Better With store at Guys Hospital
And whilst Cancer Expert may be a bit of a stretch, what I have learnt since I first stepped into this new world is much more comforting than I ever could have envisaged in those terrifying first days after diagnosis. If I can lend a little of that to the discussion, then I'll be happy.

Questions can be posted now, right up to and during the event. Just click this link or enter via the website using the Forums & Info tab and then the drop down option of Community Forums.

You will have to register first with the site to take part and you can do this, here.

Please let me know if you've signed up and I'll look out for you 😊

A little about Live Better With:

With fellow writer, Lucy O'Donnell
Live Better With started life as an online retail company in 2015, focusing on useful and original gifts that might help and comfort people living with cancer, as well as their carers and loved ones. Following on from their online success, their physical shop, the Live Better With Boutique at Browns, was launched in November 2017, taking pride of place in Guy's Hospital Cancer Centre in London.

Through their FaceBook site and their own online community forums, Live Better With also provide a safe place for people to discuss anything and everything to do with dealing with cancer and its treatments. From there, the first AMA events have been launched and they can be found here in Discussions along with other cancer related topics.  

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Tour de Friends!

Deeply embedded in the world of Cancerville can be a whole heap of beautiful experiences, sprinkled with oodles of silver linings and unexpected relationships. Surprising, I know. But maybe that is good to know if you, or a loved one, have recently been diagnosed with what is also a horrible, spiteful, nasty little b**ger.

Why so? You may ask. What can possibly be good about having your mortality thrust so very cruelly and dramatically in front of your eyes? Love, that's what. I hear time and time again of people who've navigated the thorny path with the love of those close to them and have met great friends through the shared experience of having cancer, or caring for someone who has cancer. And I am a firm believer that positive relationships and our health are the only two things we really need in life to be happy. Yes, we need money as well to survive, but survival is a slightly different thing to what I'm talking about today, so please forgive me for parking that one just for now.

...with apologies to Steve, I'm not great at selfies
Louise Brownley is one of those people I never would have met if it wasn't for our cancer diagnosis. I am so sad to say that she has recently discovered she has secondary cancer and, well, it's not easy. Not that it's stopped Louise in her tracks, you understand, despite struggling with new treatments and the constant barrage of hospital appointments, not to mention holding down her full-time job, she is throwing herself into an enormous fundraising campaign. She, her equally adorable hubbie, and their team of firefighters and police officers will be cycling the 146 mile, rather hilly coast to coast from Whitehaven to Sunderland next year and they'd like to raise £5000 for Cancer Research.

You can read more about the Tour de Friends, their training and their trials and tribulations, here.

I have a post on the site too, with some questions I've never been asked before on everything from defining moments, to trainers and kettles (and a grass ring) to my new strategy of 'denial'.

I have only previously asked for sponsorship once via a blog post: Put on the Spot. It was fantastically successful and I was enormously grateful for, and touched by, all the donations. That said, I recognise there are so many demands on our funds and it's not fair to be constantly asking for people's support. But I hope you'll forgive me for asking you this time, and on behalf of this very special lady, whether you could spare a few pennies here.  

If you do feel able to sponsor Louise and the Tour de Friends riders, please let me know in the comments (or privately here if you prefer) I'll put your name in the hat and one winner will receive a signed copy of their choice of Tea & Chemo or Glass Houses. And if you're sick to death of those, I'll give you a big hug instead😉

Monday 5 November 2018

Stuck in a Book

I'm not really here. 
I'm really here... 

...and much as I lament the distinct lack of blogging over the past few weeks, my stiff word with myself has been somewhat successful. The latest draft of the novel had an enormously out of shape middle and only two hours of strict writing a day - that isn't all I do, by the way, although, imagine, she says, drifting away for a few moments to the top of a fluffy cloud, the number nine fluffy cloud, with pen, paper, and tea on tap and not even a hint of a spreadsheet or PowerPoint and especially no slightly grimy bathroom as distraction - has managed to shrink and tighten it to a more acceptable shape for its first appearance in public. But there's still work to be done. We're not talking six-pack yet, more of a slight bulge where you could imagine there might be a six-pack lurking underneath. Meanwhile, my ever patient first beta readers await their copy of This Remarkable of Days and I feel the least I can do is get it to them before the first Christmas cards are dolefully staring upwards, expecting to be written.

And thus, I'm even more grateful to be appearing on the Greenacres Writers' 'A Conversation ...' this week. This fabulously successful and busy reader and writers' site was set up in 2009 by a group of writers based in Finchley and features book reviews and interviews with a whole host of fabulous writers, a whole heap more interesting than me. The questions were intriguing, thought-provoking and made me smile and I just hope I've done them justice. You can read the interview here.

Meanwhile, any ideas of what you'd take up to your Cloud Nine? I'd love to know!