Monday, 13 May 2013

Five Days

It's a five day countdown to "Play Day" when Coke Floats & Chemo opens at the Brighton Fringe, and it is getting all very exciting, nervewracking, and there is still so much to do. I was trying to stay focused and on-task with one of my several-pages-long-to-do lists steering me in the right direction when the postman brings the letters. I really should say "THE" letter.

It's the copy of the letter from the Consultant Oncologist to my GP, stating exactly where we're at with my cancer, following the meeting we had a couple of weeks ago where both WM and I came out feeling confused, and with totally different understandings of what had been said.

Well now it's all in black and white so there is no confusion, but more than a little bit of shock. Reading the letter, "Treatment" is the word that has caused us such confusion. Yes, they think the cancer spread to my spine has been "treated" but treatment does not have the same meaning as "cured".

It was probably there already when chemo started, and all chemo can do to bone metastatic disease is to slow it down and reduce the size of the tumour, it cannot cure it completely.

The letter makes it very clear that I now officially have Stage IV metastatic disease, which is the terminally ill variety. The letter also very kindly states that I took the news "very courageously". It's easy to be courageous when you don't fully understand.

It's good to know what the bottom line is. I can now look the enemy in the eye and get on with fighting it on the beaches or whatever.

Terminal illness takes various forms though. There is the Hollywood romantic version where the beautiful heroine lies on deathbed with her nearest and dearest gathered around, looks fragile and angelic, says a last line of wisdom that will change everyone's life for the better forever, and  then she swoons towards a quick and painless death.

I really don't want that one.The one I want is this: "Shame she didn't see the nightbus coming when she was leading the hokey cokey dancing over Waterloo Bridge, but she was 94, she's had a good life, and what was that nonsense she tried to tell us all those years ago about terminal cancer?"

There is a load of stuff I can do to help me stay strong, boost my immune system, and delay the onset of the end, and quite frankly, right now I feel so fit and well and energetic that I think I could keep going for a load more years. That's the irony, after months of breathlessness and fatigue and feeling like death-warmed-up, the very week we had this fateful meeting with the Oncologist it was like a switch had been turned back on, and my energy levels and wellness just flooded back in, making me feel better and fitter and younger than I have for several years before I ever got diagnosed.

So back to the cancer curing diet I've yo-yoed on about for several months. Slowly but surely this time, introducing 2 or 3 more elements every couple of weeks or so to ensure I don't completely set myself up to fall right off the wagon. I'm very pleased so far with my progress, I'm drinking 3 cups of green tea every day and going on the exercise bike twice a day too - and I've kept this up consistently for a fortnight. 

The real hardcore weaponry against cancer is the conventional medical treatment, and I'm really lucky to be getting the very latest, best and most effective of everything on offer. All the other little bits and pieces I can do for myself aren't a substitute, but could help to influence the outcome for two reasons. Firstly, they can be effective, secondly, it gives me a sense of empowerment, of being in the driving seat and in some sort of control, all things that are really important if I am to keep going for years upon years.

So what is the bottom line? The average length of life past this specific diagnosis is a bit more than 2 years. However, some manage 10, and with new treatments, that 10 may stretch to 15. Well I never intended to be average, so I'm aiming for 30.

Meanwhile, back to Coke Floats & Chemo, this is the week I should be having a ball, and I'm not going to let some silly words on a page rain on this week's parade.

Last week, we were on Ridge Radio, with the lovely Dave Roberts during his "Music for Grown Ups" slot. It was a really fun evening, with my daughter Francesca (who is also in Coke Floats & Chemo), the fabulous Alice, and miniYvonne who made some really rude gestures on air. If you'd like to listen to it you can, here's the link:-

Dave took some lovely photos afterwards, and Francesca and Alice should really have known better than to let me manage miniYvonne - she looks very drunk and disorderly in the photos of just the two of us. Please notice the interchangeable hat and wig - we really could be twins! 

We're also being featured on several websites, this one, Broadway World, has used the press release I sent out in it's entirety, which is lovely:-

If you want to come and see me make a complete idiot of myself on stage, we're at the Brighton Fringe this Saturday, 18th May, performing two shows at 1.00pm and 3.00pm at The Friend's Meeting House. Tickets are only £5.00 and the show lasts about 50 minutes. It would be lovely to see you there. If you do come, please come and say hello afterwards, that would be really good. The link for tickets is:

So, got to go and learn some lines. At this rate, I'll be making them up and talking nonsense on Saturday. "So, what's new?" did I hear you whisper?!


  1. Yvonne,
    As I'm writing these words, a song is playing on Ottawa's Jewel radio station, "Never give up on you"! timely!

    Sadly, the official medical prognosis can come over as so black and white and ominous.

    However, the natural holistic health field opens up a whole new world of healing possibilities, and I can offer many suggestions for you to explore beyond chemo.

    On the countdown to the play's opening at the Brighton Fringe, I wish you all fun, laughter and a wonderfully invigorating experience.

    Love from Sharon, Ottawa xox

    1. Thanks, Sharon. I need a couple of weeks to get my head quiet,and then find a way to stay really well. Another lovely omen I heard today. My favourite Aunt, who is nearly 86, is coming all the way to Brighton from the Isle of Wight to see the show tomorrow. She was given 3 months to live in the early 1980's because of her cancer.....! xx