Monday, 8 February 2016

Two Years On ...

Taken at daughter's wedding October 2015
Two years ago I was diagnosed with colon cancer, with a secondary tumour in the liver. Today I had the result of my latest 6 monthly scan and all is well. With every check-up the prognosis gets better but if, if, if it were to recur, then the more time passes the more slow-growing the tumour, and the better able my body would be able to cope with more surgery and chemo. I don't think about that too much.

There has been much breaking news recently of famous people who have sadly passed away from cancer somewhat before their time. I hope this post will help to redress the balance as there are many more who survive the dreaded ‘c’ word which should give hope to people currently reeling from the shock of a recent diagnosis or feeling the ill effects of treatment.

I wrote here before, a few months after my diabolical diagnosis on 29 January 2014 (the photo there was taken about two months before in Australia, when I was blissfully oblivious of my condition), and again after my second operation, which at the time seemed like hell, but I got over it! 

The actual year of surgery and chemotherapy was one where physically I went through a rich variety of discomforts, lethargy, and post-op pain. Unable to do many normal things, I watched far too much daytime TV!! But on the plus side I had comfort from friends and family, felt at ease with the world - and became quite the expert (not really) on antiques and bric-a-brac! My husband and I enjoyed lunches with old friends and two memorable holidays, slotting them in between operations and courses of treatment.

Then 2015 was a year of gradually getting back to usual activities, like doing the Edinburgh Festival. I also finished my fourth novel, Secrets in Appley Green, set in the Sixties, but beyond that, I’ve also taken up a few new things.

I ran some writing workshops and hope to do more in the future as it is great fun to meet up with people who want to write a novel but need a kick-start!

More recently, having written articles for the online LoveaHappyEnding Magazine about  ‘People who put life into village life’, I am now a monthly columnist, writing on the same theme, for the glossy magazine, Surrey Life! It’s lovely reaching out to villages to acknowledge people who do great things for their local community. If you know of any such hero or heroine, either in Surrey or elsewhere, please do contact me. (Tweet me your email address in a DM. Give me a prod on Twitter if you need me to Follow you, in order to do this.) My debut article is already done and dusted and will appear in the April issue of Surrey Life (in shops mid-March).

Last week I painted a vase in a ceramic ‘class’ for novices! Ta-da! Not exactly a masterpiece but very therapeutic.

I went to my first lunch meeting with the Romantic Novelists Association (RNA), as recently joined. I've also committed to a study project with King’s College, London, carrying out mental exercises and ‘brain training’ to improve understanding of the ageing brain and the causes of dementia. Take a look if you are interested in taking part. The latest new venture is becoming a member of Rock Choir, an uplifting thing to do despite the fact I can’t sing! Oh yes, and I love going to operas streamed into cinemas live from Covent Garden Royal Opera House … 
On the other side of the coin, if there is something I don’t feel sufficiently excited about doing, then I don’t do it!

So – for anyone going through what I went through, or something similar, please keep positive and take heart. The chances of surviving cancer and a sunny future are so much improved these days compared with years ago. It’s hopefully something to get through, get over, move on and do new things!!


  1. I love this positive outlook on life after cancer. Needs to be spread whilst acknowledging that not everyone is so lucky.

  2. Fabulous news, Miriam! I love your positivity. And I love your vase! Multi-talented lady! :) xx