Back for good

These are the words I never ever wanted to write again. I have cancer AGAIN.

When I first started this blog last March I wrote something very similar. Back then there was hope. I went on to have so much horrendous treatment. I really thought that I’d killed the cancer. Now it turns out that the cancer will kill me.

This is the third time I’ve been diagnosed with the disease. I have advanced cancer, the kind you can never get rid of. All I can now is try to destroy each tumour every time I get one. I’m not terminally ill but I will die a lot sooner than I ever imagined.

The crazy thing is that I feel so well and yet I might be dead by the summer.

The worst case scenario is that I have six months to live. So little time. I’ve been told that it’s a good idea to ‘get my affairs in order’. That’s such a hateful phrase. I’ve started to write my will and think about my funeral. You may be finding this hard to read, I’m finding it almost impossible to comprehend that this is actually happening. It’s unbelievable. This is the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to deal with.

Can it really be months?? I’m an optimistic person and I just don’t think so. I reckon it’s better to believe that I have ages left to live and be proved wrong, than think I don’t have long and be proved right.

Even so, I have to be realistic. I probably only have a few years left to live. Most likely I can expect five years. Maybe ten or more if I’m very lucky.

As you can imagine I’m utterly devastated. I feel upset, angry, emotional, sad…..it’s just so unfair. I cry so often especially when I break the news to someone. It’s all so traumatic. At times it seems like my head is going to explode as I have so many thoughts swirling around. Right now, the world seems pretty meaningless and irrelevant. Nothing really matters.

It was all so different a few weeks ago. I celebrated my D Day. It was 11 years since the first time I was diagnosed. A big happy cancer-versary to me. To be honest, I didn’t really celebrate too much as the next day I had a check-up with my consultant, The Professor. It was a scheduled appointment, three months after my last one.

“Any symptoms, any pain?” The Professor asked as I sat down in the bare white room.

“Well, some. A little pain near my scars from the operations,” I casually replied not sure whether it was serious enough to mention it.

“Right, you need a scan straight away.” He didn’t need to tell me anything else. The way he looked at me said it all.

And that was it. The moment my life changed forever.

It was at that very second I realised the stupid cancer had returned. I desperately wanted to take my words back. I tried to persuade The Professor that the pain wasn’t really that bad. I’d only had it occasionally at night for a couple of weeks.

“No matter what you say, you need a scan, you won’t convince me otherwise,” the consultant told me firmly.

Of course I had that scan. As I waited for the results, I was overwhelmed by worry. I’ve never been more frightened.

A few days later it was Christmas Eve and I was back at the hospital for the results. The nursing sister brought round a plate of homemade mince pies but it just made the grim atmosphere seem even worse. Only the urgent cases were being seen. Why else have an appointment on this day of the year?

Just as I feared the cancer had come back. Or maybe it never really went away. The tumour is tiny. Just 9mm. It’s so small, I could barely see it when I was shown the scan. Precisely 11 years and 1 day after being told I first had cancer, I have it again in exactly the same spot.

What I felt was likely to have been the tumour growing inside me. With ovarian cancer you normally don’t get any obvious symptoms. That’s why most women die from the disease. It’s incredible that for the third time in a row, my body had told me about a tumour.

This shocking news is still just sinking in. I’ve had a few weeks to start to come to terms with it but it doesn’t seem real. Next Tuesday though the reality will hit me. I start another round of chemotherapy.

My hair will fall out; I’ll get sick and be so incredibly tired. But my time is limited. I can’t afford to put on my life on hold any longer. I want to carry on as normal as much as I can. I’m still going to work, and plan to drink the odd cheeky vodka and flirt with unsuitable men. Maybe not all at the same time!

When I had cancer the first time I came up with my List for Living. It was a five year plan of things I always wanted to do. Thanks to the list I became a BBC foreign correspondent and had the most amazing adventure abroad. Now that the cancer is back for good I’m so glad that I followed my dreams.

I’ve been writing a book about my List for Living. I want to get the book published so doing that will be going on my new list. Every day I have more Ideas about what else I want to do before I die. Some people have asked me if there is anything they can do. Once I’ve come up with my new list, you could always help me with something on that.

I want to have fun and enjoy my last few months/years. Especially as chemo will now be a part of my life forever. It will keep me alive. The aim is to shrink the tumour and all its friends that follow. I will have an evil chemo cocktail every week for 18 weeks in the very same hospital as before.

It’s a case of here we go again. It’s so frustrating after all I’ve been through. With this stage of cancer my treatment options are limited. There are only a few types of drugs that can help me. This is terrible, terrible news but it could be worse. I could be terminally ill.

I know how I’m probably going to die and roughly when it’ll happen. It’s weird having a likely expiration date. I really hope my Best Before is at least 2023. But you know it’s not the years in your life that matter; it’s the life in your years.

Once I have my affairs in order I’m not going to dwell on the dying, I will soon have a new list and a whole lot more living to do.

82 thoughts on “Back for good

  1. Hi Helen. My thoughts are so with you as you digest all of this and do the painful job of sorting things out. I’m not in totally the same position but when I got a diagnosis of myeloma was effectively given a life sentence with no knowledge of whether I’d have 1 year, 5 years or 20 years. It is hard to know exactly how to live life on these terms but you do learn to. With 2 young kids I’ve had to. I know you don’t know me but if you wanted to talk, I’d be happy to…sometimes a stranger can e helpful!
    But good luck and I will continue to think about you on your journey. And I hope it’s a very long one.
    Deb xx

  2. This news is devastating im so sorry you are inspiring to so many. your a fighter i know you can do everything you want

  3. Oh Helen. I so look forard to seeing your new posts in my inbox, I always read them straight away. This has me so weak at the knees, I have to sit down to write this. I’m simultaeously desperately sorry to read this and learn of your news and overwhelmed with admiration at your courage in sharing it. You are a true inspiration to us all, and if there is anything on your ‘to do’ list that I can contribute to, sure thing!

    Keep fighting and don’t give in.

  4. Ah, bugger.

    On my cancer journey, people would often tell me how ‘brave’ and ‘courageous’ I was…I would reply ‘true courage is being scared but saddling up anyway’.

    Yee-haw, cowboy and I am thinking of you…

  5. Hi Helen its cold and snowy and kyiv and this news chills my heart and makes think of the random unfairness of life and its fragility. I have loved reading your posts both as a journo and on here over the past few months. They have been honest, moving, funny and positive. I hope they will continue to be over the coming months and years, even if you may not need to worry to much about your pension plan!. The book should be a good read too…. and why stop at one! Anyway keep writing and being positive and giving off all that great energy to the rest of us who can now put our minor troubles into better perspective. ps having now moved to somerset (when not in Kyiv) I have now perfecting my carrot cruching accent! Best wishes jock

  6. Dear Helen, I hope that I will be able to participate in your new list. Allow yourself to be scared, sad, emotional… Cry when you feel like it – it is healthy. I know your innate optimism will prevail. If you wish to talk, you know I’ll be there. Kisses and hugs!

  7. Helen, what to reply to this awfull news?
    Lot’s of strength is what i whish you! Saddle up and fight!

  8. So sad to read this, at first thought you were doing a flashback post, as you say this is incredibly unfair. Have so much admiration for your attitude and idea about your list for living. Thinking of you and wishing you love and luck.

    Rosie

  9. I start my second round of chemo today and when I saw your email heading, I thought ‘great’ that will cheer me up. So I was even more distraught when I read your news. Not enough to say that I am really sorry to hear it.

    Alongside the words ‘get your affairs in order’, the other bad one is ‘if you have any travelling to do, do it now’.

    So off to the oncoogists today, with a heavier heart than I thougt that I would have.

    All the best to you.

    Maureen, Edinburgh

  10. Helen, words are the things that YOU are good at. Its not my skill.. I just can’t explain what I feel right now for you. But as many others have said already you have changed many of our thoughts and attitudes to our own lives. You are not going to give up. You are not. You know it and we all know it. Big Hug and kisses from me. You are a very special person.

  11. Hello Helen,

    Devastated to hear the news. Write your list and make sure it’s a bloody long one. There’s a lot of things you still have to do.

    Great big hugs,
    Rudy

  12. I’m rarely rendered speechless, but this post has I fear robbed me of the ability to say anything helpful or profound. However, once again I am struck by your amazing ability to communicate and connect, and even though we would all rather not hear it, I thank you for sharing this most intimate piece of news. My thoughts are with you, and I shall await your list in the hope that it includes something I can help with. In the meantime I wish you well and would like you to understand that although we have never met this news has hit me as if we were friends – this is how powerfully your blog has got to me. You are a gifted and very special woman and I wish you well at this most difficult of times.

  13. Oh bollocks Helen, that’s just sooo not fair. You’ve had much more than your share of cancer, now you’re just being greedy. Right oh, so now it’s time for Plan B, doing what you want to do & putting the life in your years. There will be all the help you need around as and when you need it so don’t hesitate to ask. Thinking of you & your family,
    Love
    Clare
    X

  14. Helen – you are one of the most inspiring people I know. I can’t begin to imagine how devastating this is. But yes – you lived your dreams and continue to do so. And that is something even cancer can never take away from you. x

  15. Really sorry to hear about you’re bad news stay positive thinking of you and your family Tina xxxx

  16. Helen – you are an amazing person and I am so so very sorry to hear your news. But I know that you will the make the most of every precious moment – and everyone who’s ever known you or read your blog will be wishing that there will be many many more of those moments….and that you will keep fighting this and enjoying life. xx

  17. So sad to hear your news. We spoke before, some time ago via twitter. Know this, you touched many lives. Fight on dear Lady. Much love xxxxxxx

  18. Helen,
    you helped me so much when I was going through chemo myself. I am so so sorry that it has come back Devastated. Bastard thing
    Susan xxx

  19. Absolutely speechless. Can’t believe the unfairness of this bastard disease. I’ve only been through it once and wouldn’t wish it on anybody. Twice must be really shitty. Three times is just plain unfair. Wrong. Wicked.

    But you know that and me saying it doesn’t make it any easier. I just felt compelled to write something to you, to let you know I’m thinking of you and sending lots of love and cyber hugs. I guess it’s time to jump in the passenger seat of Bond’s Aston Martin…Get ready to blast the little buggers again with the help of your 007 chemo cocktail (shaken, not stirred)

    We’re all here to love and support you along the bumpy rode, gorgeous girl… Good days and bad

    Lots of love

    Anouska xxx

  20. Sorry to hear your news , looking forward if there’s anything I can help with for your list for living please give me a shout. If it involves horses or fast cars I may be able to help out or anything at all really. ( am Sarah burn’s friend)
    Keep fighting & keep living it to the full, have so much admiration for you ;-)
    Sophie

    • Thanks Sophie.
      Helen, Sophie really will be able to help out with a fast cars and/or horses if they appear anywhere on your list. Just let me know, Sophie is based half way between me and your parents x x

  21. Hi Helen, So sorry to hear this news, when i read the title of your email I thought it was about you being back for good and was so shocked to see it was the cancer. I lost my wonderful mum to this horrible disease and I know what you are going through as we went through it together. Sending you loads of positive energy:-)

  22. Wow! This is just….lost for words. I lost my Mom to cancer in 2003, and contrary to how some people feel I should have gone numb when the disease is mentioned, I still get panic attacks when I hear or see someone facing its scourge.

    You have bravely shared this story, and gone on to live your life as an inspiration rather than calling a pity party; I pray that strength carries you till the very end

  23. I so admire you for being able to write about this with such clarity and wit, Helen. I hope your Best Before is at least 2023 too. Love Simon

  24. Hello Helen, I didn’t know you or what this was about, but I saw this link on Paul Bellards page and have just read it and come to tears. Despite the complete disbelief and fear I can tell you have positivity running through every cell of you by the way you have written.

    Only this week I read of how PLANETS (cancer organisation) has purchased equipment to zap specific areas that need it, rather than the whole body. This is ground breaking stuff. So I absolutely know that even in the next year ahead new discoveries and experimental drugs will be available.

    I want to send my wholehearted love to you and thoughts of your positive cells remaining healthy for far longer than you, or the medics, could have imagined.

    Thank you for sharing too. You are without a doubt strength and inspiration to others. I teach exercise classes to cancer patients and the one thing that comes across is the fear and the feeling of being alone and you are bridging this gap.

    L x

  25. Hi Helen,
    What incredibly shit news that the cancer is back. Good luck with the treatment, keep writing, and may your innings be as long as possible x

  26. Hello Helen. Nice to hear you’re going after your dreams and I hope you’ll continue to do so. My grandad has cancer too and still I can’t imagine how hard it is. Wish you well.xxx

  27. sorry 2 hear ur news but did u know memorialsloan kettreing cancer ctr. is doing work with late stage cancers.they r “training” the bodies own Tcells 2 fight the tumors.hope this helps…

  28. Ah crap, crap, crap. If I could gift you some of my years I would, I’m not good at much and don’t know anybody of importance so doubt I’ll be of any help with your list but hells bells, I will pray to whoever and whatever will listen that your battle is weighted very much on your side. On the plus side, does this mean more photos of wigs? Bring it on, eh x

  29. Helen,

    It breaks my heart to read this, but I really admire your desire to live life to the full for as long as possible. I’m not sure what I can do, but I would like to do something. I do a lot of running, is there a charity I could raise money for on your behalf?
    Best wishes
    Natalie

  30. Oh God.

    I’m so, so sorry to hear this. When there was no updates on here or twitter I was praying it was because you were taking a long christmas break somewhere. I’m thinking of you at this time X

  31. Hi Helen, I am so sorry to hear this. I started reading your blog only a few months ago and I think you are such an inspiring person. I really admire your fighting spirit and I am praying for you.
    Best wishes,
    Anjali

  32. Helen,

    I have never met you, but through your courage and your blogs I feel I know you a little. Such devastating news – all my love and best wishes.

    Keep strong,

    John

  33. I am so sorry to read this. Your courage is amazing……even though I don’t know you, you will be in my prayers.

  34. Helen – I’m so sorry that the stupid cancer is back. I hope you achieve everything you want to and more and know there are so many of us thinking and rooting for you. Thinking of you xxx

  35. Hi love, comments are vacuous in such circumstances, nevertheless be safe in the knowledge that your strength and determination are an inspiration to so many others who aren’t blessed with your strength and character. Cancer is indiscriminate in its choice of victims but your blogs filled with honesty and humour will be your legacy, offering support both now and in the future. Keep scribing x

  36. Back for good…… as I read the title I was expecting to read that you are back at the BEEB working full time. Reading your post my heart sank… never mind my feelings, my heart genuinely goes out to you Helen. Words simply cannot convey my thoughts…… HUG xx

    It reminds me of hearing similar words from my (deceased) wife’s consultant….. and the journey we had going home.

    No matter what, you have been an inspiration in tacking cancer 11 years ago, and the challenges you set yourself. Then again throughout last year. Reading your posts has been incredibly painful…. so God only know just how painful it was for you… But equally you have been blessed with fantastic people around you, and I read with deep envy your 007 Skyfall evening but was overjoyed that someone had set this up for such a special lady.

    Needless to say…. if there’s anything I can do…. I am happy to volunteer to be one of those unsuitable men you wish to flirt with !! Seriously big Hug and many Kisses to you – and to your close friends & folks who will be right by your side for the next 18 weeks xx

  37. Hi Helen, I don’t know what to say… reading this has been like a rehash of the morning I heard my lovely aunt had cancer. The same type you are suffering from. I am separated by oceans and lots and lots of miles from her, but seeing her smile on Skype and hold her ground with bravado makes me forget all our worries. Be strong, for yourself, and those around you. Any of us could pass away at any given moment, nothing’s set in stones. Enjoy the time you have, it could be as little as a day, it could be as much as a lifetime :) My prayers and thoughts go out for you and my aunt and everyone else who is battling from this horrible ailment.

  38. Helen— I am sorry…what a hammer blow! I felt weak reading this. It was an absolute joy working with you at Breakfast. Be strong and keep fighting! Lots of love Cheryl

  39. Fucking hell H you don’t deserve this. I am so sorry. But, as ever, you are ahead of the game. Cancer’s game. What were you going to do before you got this latest piece of crap news? Live, live, live. You had your list & unlike many, you’d started on it – and some. So what else is there to do but to live, live, live? Easy for me to say. Don’t change your plans if you can manage it. You’re brave and fantastically articulate and you’re no fool. You know loads about this. Fucking ridiculous that anyone has to try and live with something constantly trying to trip you up, least of all a total soldier like you. I wish you all the luck and strength you need to keep yourself far enough ahead of this embuggerance to enjoy living.

  40. Utterly rubbish news Helen, so sorry to hear it. I hope you can draw strength from all your family and friends and get your book finished and complete everything on your new list. Sending you lots of love, Kate x

  41. Hello Helen

    I don’t really know what to say to you. I keep trying to express my reaction to your post and I end up deleting it and starting again because any words I write just seem so empty and meaningless. I just wanted you to know that my heart goes out to you and you are in my thoughts. I read your heartbreaking news when I first got up yesterday and was absolutely stunned even though I have never have never met you. I hope you find the strength and courage to keep on fighting. All the best to you x

  42. Oh Helen I was so sorry to hear this. Thrilled to receive the email from your blog as I always am – like many others when I read “back for good” I thought it meant you were back at work full time and guessed that was why you hadn’t been on twitter or written your blog so much. If only! As I read it I thought you were going over the year you have just been through. It finally sunk in that NO! This is now! There are no words are there! I don’t know you – you don’t know me – but from the power of your writing I feel this is happening to a friend and I send you big hugs as I would for any of my friends. I agree with all the comments you have received and particularly what John Machin says “what else is there to do but to live, live, live” I too wish you strength to cope with all that is thrown at you and remember there are a lot of us out here that will do anything we can to help – you only have to say. xxx

  43. Hi. I came here via a Phil Williams tweet. That was without doubt a very difficult read and I am crying here. Apart from one person, I have lost my whole family to cancer, and others too. I could only imagine how they felt, why they cried, how they dealt with the unfairness. Thank you for the explanation and goodness me please focus on that long date.

  44. Oh Helen, just want to add my best wishes here. I know you’ll fight this. Keep the faith in yourself, and know there are many people you do not know who are sending positivity your way. xx

  45. Dear Helen I have been thinking about you and wondering how you are doing
    I’m shocked at reading this
    Words are just not enough
    Just take hold of all the love sent in your direction from all the people on here – you are inspirational
    You end your post on a positive note, keep living that way
    Finish the book and do all the things you want to do
    Sending love and prayers x

  46. Hi Helen,

    I’m so sorry about this crap news. I’ve worked with you a few times on 5 Live and spoken to you many times “down the line” during your time as a foreign correspondent. My dear colleague John Machin has very eloquently summed up how I feel about this in an earlier post so I won’t paraphrase those same sentiments. However I recently lost a close relative to this stupid disease so your news carries resonance with me.

    Wishing you all the best and I hope you bust that Best Before date.

    xx

  47. Hi Helen – if you do need help with anything on your new list, just say the word. And maybe you need to think again about that cake book!!!! Keep fighting. Derek C xxx

  48. I know exactly how you feel Helen. I am 30 years old, and have recently been diagnosed with advanced colon cancer (I’ve not previously had cancer and there were few symptoms…this was a case of one scan – bang – it had already spread). My wife was seven months pregnant at the time of the diagnosis and we have since had our first child, born into our now bizarre existence. I’d planned to quit my job and start my own business in January – now I’m just grateful for the sick pay.

    I think you are spot on to assume that you will go on living for many years. It’s simply the only way to stay sane and carry on existing. One of my few consolations is that my wife and I really worked hard to pack in as many experiences as possible in our 20s, knowing that there was always a risk that we wouldn’t live to a ripe old age. Clearly, you’ve done the same – you’ve achieved so much in your life, more than most people will in a 90-year lifespan.

    Good luck in your fight. I’m holding your hand in spirit.

  49. Helen, heartfelt wishes to you. I found myself in your same position back in November 2010. They gave me six months to live. By September 2011 I was cancer free. I suggest that you watch a documentary called “Run from the Cure” by a man called Rick Simpson. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qle2zi6fYQA

    God speed.

  50. Hi Helen, I understand you so well as I have the same disease but unlike you I am a coward and a very lazy person. I am just surviving while you are a real fighter. I know it sounds corny but you convinced me to do something about my life. YOU take care!

  51. Hi Helen,

    Firstly – i want to see you fulfill many of the items on your list for living over many years!

    I am terribly sorry to hear that you have cancer again. I hate that word. Cancer. It is indeed stupid.

    My situation – I’m 31 and have a few “internal issues” that are currently being sorted with a variety or treatments an procedures. But more worryingly I am awaiting the results of my 3rd cancer test in 12 months….

    Cancer or no cancer-you are an inspiration to me. Your desire to live, optimism and thoughtfulness to write this blog is amazing.

    So Helen, I want to be reading this blog for many years to come. I wish you nothing but strength, fun, adventure and peace during that time.

    Take care,

    J x

  52. Hi Helen and all those affected by the evil C. my mum passed away in 2010 after living with C for 16 years! I came across an interesting website. Have a look at kriscarr.com , she was diagnosed with terminal cancer 10 years or so ago, it was so bad they wouldn’t even give her chemo, they said she was too far gone and given months to live, she changed her diet and she’s still here. Worth a look and maybe a try if you haven’t already?
    Thinking of you

  53. I have just been told I have cancer for third time. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer 2 years ago and thought I had beaten it. This week blood tests revealed it had returned. I dont know where yet…having a scan to find out later this week. I hope I can remain as strong as you seem to be. Good luck,I hope we both survive for a few more years at least.

  54. Helen, you write so eloquently, so honestly and I truly salute you. I am sure you write as part of the healing process, but to share it in this way with strangers is humbling to us. Or to me at least. I am honoured to have read your inner most thoughts and I feel right now like life is cruel.
    I don’t know you, I just read the news on Yahoo and felt compelled to find your blog.
    I wish you all the strength at this extremely challenging time.
    Big love.
    Gem x x

  55. Helen, I too was diagnosed with ovarian cancer over the Christmas period. I am just about to start 9 weeks of aggressive chemo, an operation to remove the ovaries and then another 9 weeks of chemo. Lets fight this together.

  56. Hello Helen,

    I too have had Cancer and have just had a scan to determine if it’s come back. Just fight it like the last time, there is always hope.

  57. Hi Helen
    We spoke many times down the line at 5 Live, but never met. I came across this blog via a tweet from Mishal Hussain. This is just shit news. There is no other word for it. Your optimism shines through your writing. I know you would swap places with those of us who have our health and still choose to moan about money, jobs, partners, weight, house prices, in-laws.. If I can do anything to help you achieve anything on your new list, please let me know. I don’t have any special talents though – but I could cook you a mean curry! Onwards to 2023 and beyond darling X

  58. I cried for this devastating news behind the computer at my office; it is so unfair. I cried and prayed for the first time in a decade. I prayed you live. You live beyond 2013. I want youu to fight and live, Pleasssssssssse!

  59. Please write your book. It would be extremely insightful about life, write please.

  60. Hi Helen,

    I’m sorry you have to go through this again. I know I don’t know you but I wanted to share some things with you that helped me beat cancer. I am cancer free now 5 years. I was told I had 18 mths to live and I’m still here. There are certain foods that will help you. Turmeric, papaya leaf tea, extra virgin coconut oil, as many raw veggies as you can digest, and sunlight, sunlight, sunlight – I know hard to get in England – but vitamin D3 will help. A green smoothie can help to get a heap of veggies down too. I researched through Dr. Mercola who was recommended to me for my own cancer journey. He researches all the latest developments and posts them on his website http://www.mercola.com I know he will have some info that can help. I saw the message about Kriss Carr above. I subscribe to her as well and always get inspired. Don’t give up. Where there’s life there’s hope. Sorry if you have heard this before. I’ll keep you in my prayers. xoxoxox

  61. Helen, Terribly sorry to hear about your situation, but it is time to smell the roses. Enjoy what each day brings to you, caress every breath you take, and feel the love your world offers to you each and every moment. Hugs and Love…

  62. Hi,
    Read it in one breath.We are simply puppets in hands of Almighty. But we do have acquired tremendous strength from HIM to carry on our lives at the time of challenging tidal waves. The strength that helps to beautify our lives in more meaningful ways, intrinsically design our moments to carve a niche foot print … the same strength is the string of our lives..till we are on this planet.
    My dear, happened to read your blog through a friend of mine,could not hold back from replying in few lines.
    Please live your beautiful life to the fullest ….amidst all adds… that’s the wishes of GOD.
    With lots of love and prayer for you.
    Regards,
    Meenaxee

  63. Pingback: When time is limited « George Blogs

  64. Hi Helen,

    I feel your anger, your frustration and your sadness but also your lust for life and your energy. I hope you can be strong and to stay positive during this awful time.

    Ryan

  65. Hello Helen,

    This is just devastating news, and I want to say how very , incredibly sorry I am it has happened. If I can help somehow with your list, do let me know. Keep sharing your love of life and enjoy those cherries vodka, and we’ll keep cheering your forward.

    ~Catherine

  66. Helen, you’ll be in my prayer every time I meditate. It may or may not work, but I’ll ask the universe to heal you and give you strength. I hope you win round 3 too. Hugs from a stranger from across the world.

  67. Helen, I just read about your story on the Aerial homepage. I remember you telling me about your fight with cancer when we were working on the correspondents’ desk at TVC, when I was on attachment there in the summer of 2011. Your positivity was as inspiring then as it is now. It was great to get to know you that summer – I hope I’ll get to see you in person again soon, and that I’ll be reading about your progress, and the fun you’re having, for many years to come. Good luck and best wishes, Kat xxx

  68. I’m so genuinely sorry to read this news, Helen. I hope you receive the strength you need. I’m told that a positive attitude helps and you have a track record of being a fighter. I wish you every success in overcoming this awful disease..

  69. Helen, your cells have really disappointed me- I was soooo sure that you were on an upward curve! If coming to the wettest, windiest and most economically and socially challenged area of Scotland for a good night out, makes it on to your updated list, my wife, mates and myself are waiting for the call. Seriously! I know it’s difficult, but please continue to show the fortitude, strength, humour and insight which have been the hallmarks of your relationship with this insidious disease. x

  70. Your fight has brough back so many memorys of my own long fight ,I had to have an ovary removed at the age of 17 through ovarian cancer went on to have 4 more secondary’s and 1 more primary I have had 3 major ops camo radothrapy and drug treatment ,i also had 2 children in the middle of this . I am now 62 the point I want to make is not all die even when told they would just dont give up hope aim for the future plan ahead .MY best wishes are with you , Good luck

  71. Dear Helen….I’m so sorry to read this, but will be looking out for your ‘new list’. I know of so many BBC colleagues who’ll be doing the same. We’re not a very practical bunch, but I’m sure we’ll help wherever we can….for many years to come….x

  72. I have just been reading your blog again. Of course it is heartbreaking, but it is also incredibly well written and convinces me that you have a duty to finish your book. Hopefully, it will be a living legacy and you will get the chance to enjoy the way it is certain to inspire other people. It will probably be the last thing on earth you want to do right now but I am certain it is the right thing to do Helen. The chemo will be awful, I know that, but it should give you the motivation you need to get this book written. Go get ‘em girl. Let me know if you need help with it. And if you don’t tell anybody, I demand to be first in the queue of unsuitable men!!!!

  73. To Helen, my dear blog friend:
    I’m so very sorry about this setback. I’m certainly not one to put my faith in false hopes, but I offer this to you:

    For years, those with my particular type of cancer lived an average of 5 years following diagnosis, despite aggressive treatment. A dozen years ago, all of the research finally jelled, & a new drug was formulated that produced dramatic responses. Patients in those trials still live today, 12-14 years later. I have been taking that drug for nearly a year, now, & am pretty stabile, sez the onc.

    The research continues. There is always, always hope….

  74. So sorry to read this. My thoughts are with you… you are a very brave lady!

    “You never realise how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”

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