Bringing home the bacon


Just call me Lady Gaga. There can’t be many times when you go out wearing a dress made of meat! Lady Gaga had beef, whereas I had bacon. Red and white rashes made of fabric.

This of course was a fancy dress outfit. It was all down to my friend Rache. She had got us two outfits, bacon and fried egg. You may find this surprising but the meat option looked quite good, it was almost like a bacon body con dress. However the egg and especially its yoke, was not at all flattering.

Even so Rache said she would wear the egg costume. When someone lets you be the bacon, you know that’s a sign of true friendship.

The outfits were for a weekend away with my fabulous fancy dress friends. This is something that had been arranged more than a year and a half ago. We ‘d just done the Race for Life. Well, my friends had. I watched and cheered them on; thanks to surgery and chemo I was far too ill to take part. Afterwards someone suggested we plan another trip to Butlins. This time we chose to go to a ‘disco inferno’ weekend in Bognor. Basically it’s an adults only weekend and is one big party!

Back then, after the Race for Life, I never imagined I’d be still going through yet more chemo. Thankfully our weekend coincided with my well-est part of the gap between treatments. It was a couple of weeks ago but my energy levels make it hard to do too much writing. Also soon after we came back, I had chemo no 3.

During the weekend I was able to sleep loads so that I didn’t miss out. I’d been worried that I wouldn’t even be able to go but I’m glad I did.

In Bognor there were so many people in fancy dress that my bacon didn’t seem at all out of place at all. There were nine of us. As well as bacon and eggs, in our group we had a hotdog, plus bottles of ketchup and mustard. Also a Rubik cube, a 50 shades inspired punk rocker and Boy George! It was such a funny and random weekend. We just laughed so much.

At one point when we were walking from our hotel to the bar, the condiments with their red and yellow squeezy top hats were being very slow and were someway behind us. We shouted to them, “C’mon ket-chup.” I also quite liked asking people if they knew where the nearest grill was!

Wearing a body con of bacon was so silly and hilarious; while the egg looked like someone had stuffed a pillow under the bright yellow yoke. Just thinking about our almost full English ensemble gave me and Rache hysterics. It was really good just to enjoy something so stupid for a change.

The thing about cancer is that it’s all so serious. I know, it is terrible and it should be treated seriously. But that sombre state can seep into almost every aspect of life. I don’t want constant sadness. I still have so much living to do.

Let’s face it we are all going to die. We will all get hit by that bus someday. It’s just that I know which bus it’s going to be. My days are filled with either chemo cocktails, their disgusting side effects or talking about medical stuff, all the time hoping that my bus will be very late.

Having a deadly disease doesn’t kill off your sense of humour or even your desire to have some fun. Sometimes it feels quite the opposite.

However I do draw the line at wearing a onesie. My friends had bought the all in one outfits for us all to wear on the Sunday of our weekend away.

Now I love a bit of fancy dress and clearly I’m a big fan of looking like bacon….but a pink pig onesie ??? I did wear it. Okay it was only for an hour or so but then I had to get changed into civilian clothes. The onesie was pastel pink, fleecy material and with my wig, it was far too warm. That was my excuse anyway.

I did say that if I had a choice between chemo and wearing a pig onesie, then I would take the toxic treatment any day.

That was until chemo no 3. Then I would have preferred the fluffy pink outfit. But it was still a close call!

Chemo #3

I didn’t realise it at the time but I think that it all started to go wrong with the chocolate milk. The night before my chemo I forgot to have my usual glass of cold, sweet milk. I read somewhere that it helps you prepare for the onslaught of cancer-kicking chemicals. Not sure how much science there is to that but it’s a comforting routine.

It was dark when we set out for the hospital on Tuesday morning. My aunt Judy was driving us. She was a games maker driver for the Olympics so I knew I was in safe hands. But the miserable weather and sloooooow traffic jams seemed determined to conspire against us. Then I remembered about the missed milk. I knew it was going to be one of those days.

When we arrived I noticed that the room on the chemo ward, which was to be my base for many hours ahead, had a stopped clock. That just about summed up how I felt.

If you’re not ill, you may think that its terrible what I’m going though. It is. But I also get to see the other side. At hospital there are many people who are far worse than I am. Clearly it means that there are sometimes emergencies and delays which can’t be predicted. I don’t mind waiting, I’m just relived that its me left sitting there, instead of causing the consultants to come rushing off through the corridors.

I was told that my blood count was really good. It means my body is coping with the savage chemo regime and my immune system is recovering well in-between the sessions. The only problem is with magnesium. As always, it seems, this is far too low and I needed a bag of it via the IV drip. That added on another two and a half hours before the chemo kick-off. And so it went on.

But there was no drama for me, thankfully. Instead I had wonderful friends to entertain me who brought cakes, presents and gossip from the outside world. I feel so very lucky to have the support of lovely family and friends.

And I’ve saved the best for last. I had my first set of test results since the start of my latest lot of toxic cocktails. Big drum roll…..They show that the chemo is working!!!

After just one session of chemo, the tumour marker tests called the CA125, has dropped by a quarter. It’s amazing news and will help me get through all the horrible side effects to come. I’m already half way through my treatment. Just three more to go. Hooray!

Back home after a marathon 11 hours at hospital, I finally got that cold glass of chocolate milk. It was a sweet celebration.

Oh, by the way, happy 100 to me! This is my 100th blog post. I never thought I would do so much blogging. But continuing to blog means that I’m still here and still going strong. Thanks for reading and being there for me.


Evil. Thats the only way I can describe chemotherapy. My second cycle of the treatment was horrific. Not the day itself. That was fine, fun in the usual speeding time with special people chatting, drinking coffee and trying to ignore the drip that was feeding me the toxic cocktail of drugs. No, it was the days afterwards that were hard to handle.

As the steroids wore off, the horrific-ness kicked in. It was one of the worst chemo hangovers that I can remember having. My mood felt as awful as the physical symptoms. The last time I felt that ill was last year when I was in intensive care following major surgery and a brief, unexpected, flirtation with dying.

The only positive thing I can say is that there was none of the nausea of chemo no 1. I didn’t have any projective vomiting yay! Thanks to everyone who tweeted me suggestions about what anti-sickness medicine I should try. The new tablets are working beautifully.

Then it lifted. After almost a week, the nasty chemo symptoms just left me. I’m still tired but at least I feel human again.

Luckily this happened just as I was due to do a day at work. Okay, it was down to more than just luck. I had thought that I’d be recovered by then.

You may be wondering why I still want to do my job. It’s totally my choice to work. I don’t want the cancer, the chemo and the uggggggh feelings to be the only things in my life. Besides, I really enjoy it.


On Monday I was reporting on the impact of the storms for BBC News. It wasn’t feeling ill again that I was worried about but more the windy weather. This was my first day wearing a wig again. Not such perfect timing.

When I was stood outside I had the straps inside the wig on their tightest setting. It was a vice like grip and it hurt a bit but at least it kept my wig secure on my head. There would be no chance that a cheeky gust of wind would give it lift off!

It’s the same wig as I wore on TV before, only my hairdresser Angela has given it a new look. I do have a whole new autumn/winter collection of wigs to wear but I want to start off with something I’m comfortable with.

My hair seriously started to fall out just as I was feeling so desperately ill. Great big handfuls of my lovely, new hair. I almost had a proper fringe. It seemed that most of it slid off at night and onto my pillow. Previously my hair has slowly left me so the speed at which I went bald this time was a shock. It took about a week before all I had was some lonely tufts. It looked as horrific as I felt.

This is one of the hardest parts of the treatment. You understand that you are going to be very ill but it the fact you lose your hair as well is very upsetting. You no longer look like yourself. The chemo takes away your identity.

I knew there was something unpleasant I had to do. A few days ago I had what remained of my hair shaved off. There is nothing left. My appearance has gone from poorly to pop star. Now I look like Jessie J when she shaved her head. Ha! I’m only joking. My head looks all white and weird however it is better than it was. Most importantly, instead of letting the chemo do something to me, I took charge. And this makes me feel strong again.