Meet my cancer

It won’t be around for long so I really should introduce you. In three days time I will go into hospital. Then my cancer should be gone forever.

For something that’s so scary, you’d think it would be absolutely massive. But no, the tumour is tiny. It’s about the size of a pea. When I start to worry I remind myself how small it is.

This is very different to last time.

Back then it was a scan that first picked up the possibility that something was seriously wrong. I watched as a nurse carried out the examination. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to look at the screen of her monitor but I could and I did. It was a confusing blur of colours.

Through a shifting sea of greens and yellows, I could make out two big lumps of blue. One was slightly larger than the other.

Later I found out exactly how big they were. I changed their colour to orange and imagined them as fruit.

Not long after I first became a journalist I worked on a heart-breaking story about a little boy who had a tumour the size of a small melon. Compared to that, my own orange and tangerine didn’t seem too bad.

Now I have just one pea, how dangerous can that be?

Apparently it’s not just about size. It also matters how fast it can grow. What I have is an aggressive form of cancer.

My consultants say that it’s stage three. There are only four stages.

But and this is the crucial bit, it’s been caught early.

The fact I had the disease once and beat it counts in my favour. I go to the gym lots and play netball for the BBC team so I’m pretty fit. Also I’m young and healthy, aside from the cancer, obviously.

All this means that I have a good chance of winning and that’s what I’m focusing on.

20 thoughts on “Meet my cancer

  1. I used to like peas and now I am not so sure… Despite our continued advances in medical science and the wonderful work of the many cancer charities, there are still far too many people in the same position as you. You sound determined and you clearly have a big team of supporters, so here is wishing you all the best and let’s hope it’s a short, sharp fight ending with you victorious in a knockout!

  2. Helen, I am small and aggressive but not indefatigable so…. MUSH THAT PEA!!!

  3. I read your first entry yesterday, Helen, and have just read this second entry now. The biggest thing you have in your favour, it seems to me, is your utter determination and pragmatism. I will be following your blog closely, and wishing you well every step of the way, as I’m sure all your readers will. Keep on fighting!

  4. You are focused, so focused it is very inspirational. Thank God you are. We will all be there fighting with you, for you.

  5. Hi Helen

    We don’t know each other and I found this blog through your twitter page. I am sorry to read about your unbelievably bad luck but I wish you all the best in your fight against cancer again. You have beaten it once I hope you beat it again.

    Best wishes.

  6. Never have been a fan of peas.
    As Jo-anne said… Let’s mush it.
    What a pain, in every way. I’m so angry for you that it will take so much of your time and energy to tackle. But you will do it… In your lovely open focused way.
    You have so many friends… I only know your work ones.
    But if there is anything practical that needs doing or if you just want to be distracted then nudge and it will be sorted.
    With love

  7. Wishing you all the luck in the world, Helen. You deserve it. SWL x

  8. add to your determination and the best medical attention the combined willpower off all of us…get that tiny pea out of there and lets get back to normal life again xxx

  9. Hi Helen
    Distressed to read all this. Really hoping for the best for you. These treatments really are pretty effective now. Thinking of you, we’ll chat when you come back to work — and you will!

    Xx love Laurie

  10. Good luck Helen. Fingers crossed from the other side of the world. Tom x

  11. Dear Helen

    Wishing you all the best with your treatment. I am thinking of you and wishing you well.

    Lots of love Carly P xxxx

  12. Wishing you all the very best Helen .. so sorry you’re having to go through it again .. take good care of yourself.

    Sarah Ransome

  13. Hi Helen, I am so sad that you have to go through this again. It’s easy for me to say but do try to stay positive. We are all 100% behind you. Lots of love and hugs, Claire xxxx

  14. Helen, I am told that a positive attitude helps and you are one of the most positive people I have ever met. Keep smiling and the cancer will have to submit, I am sure. All the very best for your treatment. I look forward to seeing you back at work. Jane x

  15. Thinking of you for tomorrow. Will have everything crossed that it is a successful op. Was so sorry to hear it’s back AGAIN …as you say. But hopefully they will blitz it. Love&best wishes x

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