Back again


I never thought this would happen so soon. I had hoped to have a cancer-free Christmas but that’s not to be. I have another tumour lurking inside me.

I start another round of chemotherapy today. I’ll have it every three weeks. It’ll mean a chemo session on Christmas Eve.

Of course, I knew that it was likely. When you have advanced cancer like mine you’re told to expect it to keep coming back, each time quicker than the last.

My last chemo ended in May. I arranged my next check-up at the very end of August. I wanted to leave it as long as possible, but not too long, if that makes sense. In the weeks leading up to the hospital date my body was full of pain. I feared the cancer had not just come back but it had spread. What the doctors call metastasis. One of the most evil words you’ll ever hear as a patient.

Two weeks before the appointment I had a blood test. It was taken after a busy day at work. I felt so alive, surely, I thought to myself I must be okay.

But no. The result was bad. It was no longer the perfect ten, the score had almost doubled. There and then I had to repeat the test. When the result came back the number had doubled again. It seemed like my worst fears were coming true.

Later a scan confirmed that the cancer was active again. It turns out that my new tumour is small and thin and not too far away from the last one. Along with sadness, anger and frustration there was some relief that it hadn’t spread. Apparently a lot of the pain was caused by stress and scar tissue.

Now that I know what’s causing the pain, it hardly hurts at all. I don’t look like I’m ill and I don’t feel it either. This is the best I’m going to be until next spring so I’m celebrating that with a picture.

After my diagnosis last Christmas Eve when I found out that my cancer had become incurable I was told to get my affairs in order which I sort of did but not really. You don’t want to think that you really have to. However now I’m more prepared. Last week I wrote my will. That was a hard day.

So here we go with more chemo. Uggggh. It’s all exactly the same. It makes me want to cry being back again so soon. The same walk along the dolphin corridor to the treatment centre. Seeing the same lovely nurses. Sitting in the same chair. Having the same side effects for the same anti-cancer drugs. Being pumped full of the same steroids. And losing my hair once more.

But I do have something very special on my side that’s making me smile and it’s not just James Bond.

Along with the conventional chemo, I’m also taking part in a clinical trial. I’ll take a tablet every day which could make the chemo more effective and stabilise my cancer. It’s very exciting as the results of the trial so far are looking very good. It’s having hope that’s keeping me going and got me out of bed this morning. Now I’m just waiting for it all the begin.

Stupid, stupid cancer. You have no idea how much of a kicking you’re about to get.


It’s not quite what you expect to see but there to greet us at the entrance to the chemo unit was a bird of prey. It wasn’t long after lunch and the kestrel had just killed a vole in the hospital car park.

Like the bird, I was about to do something pretty violent, in my own way, in order to survive.

Rather than feeling squeamish, I enjoyed seeing such a powerful creature. It seemed like an inspiring sight just before chemo#7. I didn’t realise why until I did a little research while waiting for my chemo cocktail to be mixed up.

Some people apparently see the kestrel as a warrior or a warlike symbol and in battle they use its image believing that it gives them prowess. The bird represent success, victory and rising above a situation.

Wow – I’ll take all of that thank you very much.

The skill of the kestrel is to hover in the air, locate its target and then choose the right moment to strike. According to a mystic on the internet, they are all about focus. When you see one it’s a sign that you should focus on your goals and do what’s necessary to make your desires become a reality.

The bird’s timing was perfect. I’m now entering probably the hardest part of my treatment. The side effects are getting worse and yet it seems like there’s no end in sight to the chemo sessions. Still 11 to go after this one. Even if none of the kestrel stuff is true, it was lovely to see something so special.

It was almost a relief to get back to the business of fighting cancer. This week has been a nightmare thanks to the actions of one person. I don’t even know if they are a man or a woman but The Idiot has caused me lots of trouble. And yes, they know that I have cancer.

I have wasted hours worrying. I even spent a whole day of my precious life just crying in bed. This big stressful thing has come along just when I really don’t need it. I won’t go into details as it’s complicated and I’ve had to explain it far too many times.

The day before chemo I didn’t put on much make-up as I knew I’d probably end up in tears. Ahead I had some horrible hospital tests and the prospect of throwing away huge chunks of time on the phone because of that big stressful thing.

I decided to base myself at Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre. It’s a place offering coffee and support. It’s right next to a hospital but it doesn’t look or smell like one. There are a number of Maggie’s Centres around the country, mine is a beautiful oasis, designed by a famous architect. I was hoping for some friendly words of advice and perhaps some cake. I got that and much more.

make upI was already on my phone talking about the actions of The Idiot when I walked into Maggie’s. I could see that one of the staff wanted a word with me. Once I’d finished my call, I was asked if I wanted my make-up done by a professional. Oh, let me think about that for a few seconds.

The make-up session at Maggie’s was only interrupted twice by my mobile and that big stressful thing. However getting some smokey eyes certainly relaxed me.

Later when I ended up sitting in a hospital corridor with only a couple of cotton gowns to cover my dignity, I looked a lot more glam than usual. I continued to take yet more phone calls relating to The Idiot but I felt stronger. Thanks to some very lovely people, hopefully it’s being sorted now.

From the random make-over to the magnificent bird of prey, life didn’t seem quite so bad. Then during treatment I got an upgrade from chemo club class. I didn’t have to sit in a big pink chair; I had a proper bed in an en-suite room.

Perhaps I got the side room as I was living dangerously. Once again I had opted to cut my steroids. Now I’m on a quarter of a dose. Reducing them before didn’t give me any problems. Mum and my friend Chantal, the flower girl, kept an eagle eye on me. But it was fine. I just slept in the comfy bed covered by a thin blanket.

I dreamed of the kestrel. My warrior bird of prey hovering in the sky, waiting for the perfect opportunity to swoop on my tumour. Attacking it and killing the cancer.

Normally I focus on 007 doing my dirty work. Could it now be a case of move over James Bond there’s a new bird in town?


It’s not even Valentine’s Day but already I’ve been struck by chemo’s very own Cupid’s arrow. There’s now something very close to my heart. I’m the proud owner of a PICC line. For a cancer fighter like me I’m going to get a whole lot more pleasure from it than a dozen red roses.

It’s become just too painful to have needles forced into my hand every week. The veins on my hand are difficult to find at the best of times and the chemo is making them worse. To solve this problem I’ve had a permanent line put into my upper arm where the veins are a lot more juicy.

I went to get the PICC line the day before treatment. Simple, I thought. I had to go into a side room of the chemo ward and it would soon be sorted.

Wearing a beautiful silk blouse, the hospital’s vein expert arrived for the small op. As she was wearing such a lovely purple top, how bad could it be? When she put on a blue surgical gown, I realised I’d lulled myself into a false sense of security. Even then I didn’t quite realise how gruesome it was going to be.

The consultant selected a big vein on the inside of my right arm. After some local anaesthetic she made an incision. A thin plastic cable more than 40cm long was inserted and gently eased into the vein in my arm. Bleugggh!

The tiny tube travelled through the vein up my arm, across my shoulder and then down until the tip was pointing right at my heart. There it will stay for months, until the chemo is over. The other end of the cable now pokes out of my arm but most of it is covered with a clear dressing.

It means that I can’t play netball, swim or have a proper bath. I can carefully shower but I won’t be able to have long hot showers. That’s a real shame. Showers are the perfect place for a good cry. Although I don’t seem to have so many emotional showers these days. I still get upset but I have far less of the raw grief that seems unstoppable. I guess that I’m coming to terms with my new reality.

The restrictions of this chemo Cupid’s arrow are a small price to pay. It’s lovely to say goodbye to the needles plus there’s no need for any more friendly threats to pinch me. The PICC line will be used for chemo to go in and blood for tests to come out. If I get an infection like before and have to go into hospital in an emergency, it can also be used for an antibiotic drip.

The next day and chemo#4 was a breeze. It didn’t hurt at all. Just like last time, I only had half a dose of steroids. It seems I’m not the only one who gets a rush from this medication.

I had a comment on my last blog post from a woman called Janice whose husband who was being treated for tongue cancer, telling me how the day after hospital he’d be out in the garden from 6am wielding a powerful petrol strimmer. She said he was as high as a kite and worked like a dog for two days and nights. Their garden had never looked so good!

The past week has been much better. No steroid high, followed by a crash and burn. Instead I felt good but incredibly tired. I was wiped out. Now I’ve lowered the dose my mood feels more stable.

As always once the drip started the chemo cocktail virtually knocked me out. My consultant, The Professor was visiting the ward. I saw him walking towards me but I didn’t recognise him until he spoke to me and gave me a hug.

I wasn’t much company for mum and dad who were with me for this week’s chemo. As always I couldn’t stop myself drifting off. As I fall into a deep sleep I love to imagine my tumour getting a good battering from James Bond.

On the way to my parent’s home I dozed on the train, again I visualised Daniel Craig, I have to admit it got quite violent. I think of the chemo as 007 licensed to kill my cancer. Normally he has the biggest, baddest gun. On this occasion he took me by surprise as he turned up with a rocket launcher! Good work Mr Bond.

Almost home and I woke up, still woozy from the drugs. On the opposite seat – someone joined me for the journey. I’m sure he wasn’t there before I went to sleep. There was something familiar about him and I did manage to recognise this man.

Chemo #1

I walked into the hospital with a sense of dread. This was my third round of chemo. I wasn’t worried but I just didn’t want to be there. I shouldn’t have to do this again.

There was a big queue to get checked-in. People were crowded around the reception. The hospital reeked of cinnamon, for me this is the sickening smell of chemo. I felt like I was going to collapse from the stress of it all. I wanted to shout, I’m going to faint if I have to stand any longer. Don’t you know I have cancer? But then so did everyone else so I kept quiet.

It was just a small wobble and I had my friend Tamsin with me for support. We drank cappuccinos and talked about happy things, anything other than cancer. Tamsin had brought me some lovely presents including a notebook to write my new List for Living.

The staff on the chemo ward were pretty much the same. Last time I was there I had my own hair. Despite wearing my Raquel wig for chemo#1 some of them still recognised me.

“Hey how you doing? You look well,” one of the nurses in a dark blue uniform said to me with a smile. I wanted to reply that I was only visiting, that I’d popped in to say hello.

“I’m back again for more.”

“Oh…..” Her smile disappeared.

Not much had changed at the chemo cocktail bar. The patient patrons were still mostly pensioners but at least there were some new high-tech reclining chairs.

Setting up the medical equipment, my nurse found it hard to get a vein. The chemo is delivered through an IV drip via an orange tube. My veins are rubbish and seem to run away at the sight of a needle. As my arm was gouged by the nurse, I looked away and towards Tamsin. She offered to pinch my other arm to take my mind off it. Now that’s what friends are for!

The chemo is so toxic that a collection of other things are pumped into you first to prepare your body. I was warned that one of them would make me sleepy. It actually made me feel drunk, properly end of the night and need to go home drunk. And I hadn’t even started on the evil chemo cocktail.

I pressed the recline button and settled back into my chair. I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer.

It was time to visualise James Bond shooting the crap out of my tumour. It seems that I’m not the only one. A woman called Nicky sent me a message to say that when she had chemo she imagined Vera Duckworth from Coronation Street running around her veins killing the cancer with a rolling pin!

I slept almost all the way through the chemo. Now that’s my kind of a cancer kicking work-out.

I was woken by a loud man on the other side of the room who was visiting an older lady. I felt dizzy and disorientated as I came round. I watched the loud man talk to the nurses and other people’s visitors. He alternated between patronising and sleazy. What an idiot. If you’re visiting a cancer ward, then please shhhh, don’t shout. You don’t want to get on the wrong side of someone who’s under the influence.

As soon as the drugs were done, my friend and I made a swift exit.

Like before, I’m recovering at my parents’ house. Last night I slept in my childhood bedroom – the same place that I retreated to after all the previous cancer treatment. It’s very sad to be back in my old bed again because of chemo. But at the same time I have amazing parents who look after me. Not everyone gets that kind of support when they’re ill.

And very importantly I’m lucky to still be alive. I first had the disease when I was in my late twenties, since then I’ve been living under a cancery shadow. There are many times when really it should have killed me. Despite doing this all again I feel so very fortunate. I still have options.

Earlier I walked around the frosty garden a few times. When I’m recovering from treatment I always try to do some exercise. Compared to when I first did this after my massive operation last year, I now have masses more energy. I even jogged the final lap. Just because I could.

Most of the day has been far less energetic. It’s passed in a tired and dizzy haze. There’s a certain type of Ukrainian vodka that makes me feel like this and so I’m pretending to myself that this is just a hangover.

However this is a happy hangover. Getting a third cancer diagnosis was a huge shock but now I feel empowered. I’m back on the chemo cocktails and blasting that tiny tumour.

Hello chemo, again

Oh chemo, how I haven’t missed you. It’s only been 21 weeks since we were last hooked up. I didn’t think you’d have me back so soon.

It’s been a strange few days as I’ve been preparing to start this toxic treatment again. You may have read about this blog in some of the newspapers following my post on Friday. Wow, what a response. It’s been incredible. Thanks for all the messages. Sorry that I can’t reply to each and every one, it’s just been overwhelming. But they really do help to lift my spirits.

Seeing the facts in black and white somehow made them seem even more shocking. It was as if they were talking about someone else. How can something so terrible be happening to me when I feel so full of life? The headlines were about my ‘months to live’. Yes, that’s a possibility but my focus is firmly on the ‘years to live’.

I’m sure it was difficult too for those close to me. Although some of my friends found it amusing that the papers had used an unflattering photo of me. They knew I wouldn’t like it and they were right. I think it’s great that my friends can still make fun of me. This is lovely, if slightly embarrasing, normality.

Anyway, just to redress the balance, here’s one of my favourite pictures of me. Here I’m reporting for BBC Breakfast. If there are any more stories about me then I hope they use something like this rather than a screen grab from the TV!

Many people have offered to help me with my List for Living. This is fantastic. I’m still working on that list; it’s getting longer and longer. Plenty of people have selflessly offered to help me find unsuitable men. Thanks also to all the unsuitable men who have put themselves forward!

So, it’s chemo #1. As this is the third round of the treatment I’m not especially worried. I’ve had this chemo drug before and I know the drill.

When I was here before I hoped I’d never need any more evil chemo cocktails, now I know this is part of my life forever. The best way to cope with this is not to see it as a big deal. I’m going to think of chemo in the same way as I used to think about the gym. It’s something I have to do every week. I don’t really want to go but I know that once I’m there it won’t be too bad; it’ll help keep me healthy and only take an hour or two. Chemo is my cancer-kicking workout.

Just like before, it will be a chance to catch up with friends. I know I shouldn’t admit this but last time I had so much fun with my friends during our chemo coffee sessions. I actually quite enjoyed being at hospital.

Mind you, there’s going to be one significant change. There will be no cake. Last year I ate lots of it so that cake would be forever associated with chemo and I wouldn’t fancy it anymore. We called it chemo-cake-therapy. Well, it seems to have worked. I just don’t want to eat cake anymore.

As usual I spent the night before chemo thinking about James Bond. Of course this is Daniel Craig as 007. I visualise him killing the cancer. This time it’s a whole lot more violent. James Bond has the biggest baddest machine gun. I picture him pumping the tiny tumour full of bullets. Obliterating it.

As regular readers of my blog will know I have a thing for Bond. I even managed to go to the premiere of Skyfall last year.

It was in October, slap bang in the middle of a glorious few months when I was recovering from treatment and cancer free. I’d give anything to be able to go back to that time.

But I have to think about the future.

I’ve been really inspired by the messages that I’ve had from fellow cancer fighters. The people who’re still alive and defying the odds. One lady in her sixties told me how she’s been beating ovarian cancer for almost fifty years. Others have described how they’re living well despite having a looming best before date.

These are people who’re not just surviving but thriving. I’m having this chemo so I can become one of them.

Kindness of strangers

So what’s the best thing to do the next night after going to the James Bond premiere?

Go to see the film again?

Yes, 24 hours after watching Skyfall at the Royal Albert Hall, I was at the cinema for more 007 action!

It was thanks to my friend Rache. When not organising fancy dress themed nights out, she loves to enter competitions. She’s very good at winning and has bagged some incredible prizes.

Rache, me and Barbarella

For months Rache had been trying to win tickets for the Skyfall premiere for me. She wasn’t alone in doing this.

She’s part of an online forum for fellow compers. Many of them also did what they could by entering quizzes and competitions for me. These were people I’d never met before, they only knew me from this blog, yet they put in lots of effort into doing something lovely for me.

And they came up trumps!

A man who goes by the online name of Greatbigrobot won tickets to a VIP advanced screening of the movie for me the night after the premiere. I was delighted. Then a couple of days later the charity, the Willow Foundation managed to get me invited to the premiere.

The tickets for the advanced screening were non-transferable so I ended up with a double dose of 007.  Well, you can never have too much Bond in your life.

Anna, Bond girl for the night

My friend Anna came with me to the advance screening. It was a really great night and another fabulous excuse to wear Candice and a posh dress. You wait for months for something like this to come along and then you have two big nights out in a row. Not that I’m complaining.

Before the film we were served champagne by handsome waiters, played roulette and met men in tuxedos. Surely this is what it must be like to be a Bond girl?!

Although I don’t imagine that Bond girls normally drink champagne from plastic glasses.

Watch out Daniel Craig!

I was really touched that someone won the prize for me. But this wasn’t the first random act of kindness. Since being diagnosed, people that I don’t know have sent me presents.

When I went into hospital I received a care package which included tissues for tears and a notebook for ideas. During chemo I received a handbag in the post to help me look forward to happier times. Just a few days ago a Twitter friend sent me a teal green hat and earrings. Her gifts were to help make my bald look better and feel warmer.

I’ve also had cards from people who explain that we’ve not met but they know me through someone.

I’ve had so much love on Twitter too and from everyone that’s left comments on this blog.

Of course, the support I’ve had from family and friends has been wonderful but I didn’t expect so much good will from strangers. Knowing that lots of people, including many I’ve not met in real life, are cheering you on is an incredible feeling. It always gives me a boost and has been more help than I could have imagined.

So, thank you.

Never for a second would I have chosen to have cancer. It may be the worst of times but it’s also shown me the best of so many people.

Skyfall – The Premiere

When you’re told that you must use the red carpet you just know it’s going to be a special night.

The 007 premiere was held at the very grand setting of the Royal Albert Hall. Neither the venue nor the red carpet was hard to miss. Even so, with the tickets we’d also been given a map embossed in gold to show us where we had to go.

As we turned into the red road, there were thousands of people lining the route ahead of us waiting for the stars of the show. The sight took my breath away.

As this was such a big occasion I wore Candice, my long blonde WAG wig. This was the kind of event she was made for.

I’d been given two tickets so I took along Chantal, my friend the flower girl. We’ve known each other for a few years now. We met at hospital because she too is a cancer survivor.

This was my way of saying thanks to Chantal. She came with me to many of my hospital appointments and chemo sessions. My friend drove us there in her massive van which is normally filled with flowers.

When I became critically ill after the operation, Chantal put her work on hold. Mum stayed with her for weeks and together they visited me as often as they were allowed to. Chantal was at hospital during the very worst moments, when it got so bad that we both wondered if I’d pull through.

I wish that somebody had told us back then that a few months later we’d both be stood on the red carpet for the world premiere of a James Bond film.

With lights, cameras and so many celebs, it was all pretty surreal. Beforehand I’d been quite nervous but once we were there this soon melted away. It was almost like we’d wandered onto a movie set. Or we were in some kind of dream.

Yes, we saw Daniel Craig and yes, he was just as handsome in real life. I certainly didn’t dream that part of the evening!

The red carpet was surprisingly long, wide and busy. It was packed with people all dressed up in black tie. It wasn’t just me but everyone around us looked excited just to be there. It was as if we were all heading towards a very special party.

Along the way we had to be careful not to bump into the Bond stars while they were still hard at work.

I thought that our seats for the premiere might not be too good but they couldn’t have been much better. We were in the stalls with film company executives in front of us and X Factor finalists behind us.

As the Albert Hall went dark, my heart skipped a beat. I could barely believe that I was actually there.

The atmosphere was incredible. There must have been several thousand people. I’ve never seen a movie on such a large screen and with so many other people. It felt exhilarating.

I loved Skyfall and thought Daniel Craig was brilliant as bond.

The film made me very aware of just how far I’ve come. I thought a lot about James Bond during the chemo but I’m not sure why I choose this character as my cancer killer. Although seeing 007 on the gigantic screen made me realise he’s the kind of hero everyone needs when they’re fighting their hardest battle. Nobody does it better.

Did we go to any of the premiere parties? Well, we didn’t intend to but somehow we ended up in a fancy hotel bar where there were a few familiar faces! This is what most people were drinking.

Of course we had to have one too. Shaken, not stirred.

This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It’s something that I’ll never forget. I was only able to go to the movie premiere thanks to the wonderful charity, the Willow Foundation. It’s their aim to create special memories for the future. They certainly did that for me.

The night was a celebration too. All the horribleness is over now. If the disease does come back then this will be something lovely to remember. But I truly hope that I’ll be able to look back and think of this an occasion when I was celebrated beating cancer for ever.

Over the past few months I’ve written a lot about being exhausted. On the premiere night I drank a bit too much, wore stupid high heels and stayed out far too late. All the kind of things I haven’t really done since I was diagnosed.

I was shattered the next day but for all the right reasons. I didn’t feel great and that’s a great feeling. It means I’m having a normal life again. I feel very glad to be alive.

James Bond is back!

It wasn’t so long ago, that just like today, I woke up stupidly early. Back then a heady combination of steroids and nervous energy meant that I couldn’t sleep. That was the morning back in May when I started chemotherapy.

I knew it was going to be horrendous but I was also well aware of just how important it was. All the tumours had been removed but I needed this to get rid of any teeny tiny cancery cells that might still be hanging around.

As I lay awake in the dark I thought about how the chemo was going to work. I’d been told how cancer fighters often come up with unusual ways of thinking about the treatment to try to take away some of the terror.

This is what I wrote in my blog post, Licence to Kill:

“I tried to think about what it would be like when the drugs went in. I turned every drop from the drip into a killing machine. A kinda James Bond. I imagined my own microscopic army of special agents. Just in case you’re wondering, I’m thinking Daniel Craig as James Bond….

…Anyway, I’m picturing my troops being launched into the killing zone with charm, cunning and a wry smile. Their mission is to destroy any rogue cancer cells.”

A few hours later when the toxic cocktail began to seep into my veins and poison my body, that’s what I focused on. It was the violent visualisation that I used during all the other sessions of chemo too. Whenever I was worried that potentially evil cells may be lurking inside me, I also thought about this fully loaded 007 army. They helped to shoot away my fears.

After six sessions of chemo it was mission accomplished. I got the all clear – the best news ever! The James Bonds had done the business. Of course, along with the drugs and the doctors etc etc. Since then the test results have been great.

So, back to this morning.

It’s a few months on from that first day of chemo; again I’ve woken up all excited and jittery and thinking about James Bond.

This time I’m not imagining gun-toting-cancer-killing-secret-agents blasting away at killer cells. No, I’m picturing 007 on a big screen. A mahoosive big screen. Daniel Craig is sat in the audience, all dressed up in black tie, surrounded by his co-stars. I’m there too. We’re all watching the latest movie. The difference is, this isn’t something else that I’ve just dreamt up; soon this will be for real.

You see, tonight I have a date with James Bond – I’ve been invited to the world premiere of Skyfall!!

The timing is brilliant. I’m finally feeling better than I have done in ages and now I’m off to a red carpet event in London featuring the very character that I thought of so much during the chemo.

It’s all thanks to the Willow Foundation. The charity was set up by Arsenal legend Bob Wilson and his wife Megs in memory of their daughter Anna who died from cancer at the age of 31. It aims to help young adults dealing with serious illnesses by arranging something amazing for them.

Already it feels special. Yesterday a man on a motorbike turned up at my house. Tall with broad shoulders, he was dressed all in black. As I opened the door, he gave me a wry smile and a large plain white envelope.

“Skyfall tickets,” he said.

“Yes,” I nodded.

“I’ve been expecting you…”

My last chemo. Ever.

Whooo hoooooo! Finally it’s over. Yesterday I completed all my cancer treatment.

The day started well. On the ward you usually have to share a room with three or four others but I got to turn left instead of right as I was given my own side room. In the world of cancer having the superbug MRSA gets you an automatic upgrade.

My friend Tamsin came with me to the hospital. She may not be having chemo but as a surprise and to show her solidarity Tamsin wore a vivid purple wig. Normally part of a fancy dress witch outfit, it was almost like Halloween had come early! Seeing her fake almost florescent hair certainly helped to ease my anxiety.

As it was such a big day I wore my Candice wig for the first time. She’s reserved for special occasions and it was certainly one of those.

I’m still getting used to wearing a wig again. They’re quite hot and itchy even when you wear a wig liner over your head. My wig liner looks like a foot has been cut off a pair of American tan tights. It has a snug fit. Pull it down over your face and you look like you’re ready to do a bank job. After a couple of hours I had enough of the wig and ditched it in favour of a headscarf.

My friend Chantal, the flower girl spent the afternoon with me. She didn’t bring a wig instead she borrowed Candice. Seeing it on someone else was quite surreal. It’s such a massive WAG wig – I’m really glad I picked it!

I was so excited that after six months of treatment this was my last ever chemo. The hours seemed to speed past in a blur of coffee, cake and thinking about James Bond. It was his final tour of duty for me. Maybe one day I’ll be able to thank Daniel Craig for doing such a great job. Every chemo I have imagined that a whole battalion of Bonds were shooting the tiny but deadly cancer cells inside me.

As always I had several bags of cold clear liquid slowly dripping intravenously into my veins. Then at about 4pm it was all over. No more evil chemo cocktails. We punched the air with delight. I finally got to flick the V sign at cancer. I said goodbye and farewell plus other choice words beginning with F.

Now I had officially beaten this killer disease.

But I couldn’t go yet. The chemo is so dangerous that it doesn’t discriminate between the good and bad stuff in your body. It’s now destroyed my magnesium levels. To stop side effects like numbness and tingling in my hands I had one last bag of liquid to give me a magnesium boost.

By the time it finished it was past the opening hours of the ward. Some of the nurses had already changed out of their uniforms ready to go home. They didn’t look like medical professionals anymore. As I walked out I realised that they would no longer see me in the same way either. I had stopped being a cancer patient.

Outside the fresh evening air somehow seemed much more wonderful than normal. It was an incredible feeling to leave that chemo unit and know that I wouldn’t be coming back again to have my veins filled with poison.

Dad and I headed for the car park. We went past a small square of grass surrounded by wooden benches. This is where you go for a quiet cry. It’s what me and my cancer fighter friends call the garden of tears.

But at that moment I was full of joy. The days of needing this hidden green space felt like a lifetime away.

As we drove us back to the countryside, the sun was starting to set on what had been a brilliant day. The dazzling weather on the motorway home matched my mood. The sky was ablaze with dusky pinks and gold that stretched all across the horizon. Enjoying the view it suddenly struck me – now I’m really going to live.

Soldiering on

I thought I had it all sorted.

I have the chemo; James Bond kills the remaining cancer cells. I’m slowly poisoned as I imagine my own personal army of special agents blasting away at the enemy inside me. I try to carry on as much as normal while I visualise the 007s carrying out this covert operation for me.

But it turns out that I’m at war too.

Following my scary setback last week I had to see The Professor. Despite being totally exhausted, it wasn’t quite as awful as I felt during my emergency stay in hospital. With the infection launching a full on assault, my immune system dropped so low it was almost non-existent. Even he had to admit that it was impressively bad.

As I chatted to my consultant in a small clinical looking room I could hardly think straight. I was so shattered. It was such an effort just to sit on the plastic chair. Really I wanted to have a nice lie down on the medical couch that I could see behind a flimsy curtain. It was so inviting.

I had the appointment with The Professor at my usual hospital yesterday as I’m due to have chemo today. I had to convince him that I was ready to take the battering that you get from the drip of dangerous drugs.

Luckily the blood tests confimed that I was well enough. I’m so glad that it’ll continue as planned even though I still feel shockingly ill.

This will be my fifth session of chemo. After today, I’ll have just one more to go before it’s all over. The Professor reassured me that what I’m going is awful but nothing out of the ordinary. I’m not sure why but having someone else acknowledge just how horrendous things are somehow makes you feel a bit better. It was a welcome boost.

It’s not that I’ve been feeling down. It’s just that I have little energy to do much more than focus on finishing my cancer treatment.

It’s incredibly traumatic, it’s as if I’m in a warzone, my consultant explained to me. For six months now I’ve been under attack both physically and mentally. There’s the pain, the fatigue and the fear. You’re not sure if you’ll make it out alive. The last time I was anywhere near a warzone as a BBC foreign correspondent it was pretty stressful and I was only there for a week or so.

It makes sense – this is a fight for my very survival. While I think of myself as battling this killer disease, I’ve never seen myself as an actual soldier on the frontline. I’ve left that part to my gun-toting troop of James Bonds.

To be honest the fog of tiredness has meant I’ve considered myself to be more like a zombie but I must change that.

It’s much more positive to imagine myself as a solider and a successful one at that. The Professor took great delight in telling me that according to the very latest test results I’m still clear of cancer. So I’m already winning the war!