Gone Tomorrow

Gone Tomorrow

When my Mum got her first wig, it was a pretty shameful experience for me. In the 90’s,wigs were hugely expensive (if you wanted anything half realistic) and so you had to go to a specialist. Then, the only place that was suitable was a section upstairs in Debenhams and if you wanted one, the hospital would give you a voucher to cover the majority of the cost. My Mum and I had had a cursory look at them before, whilst out shopping but, I never really took it seriously. I completely denied that she would ever need one because… well, she would never become that poorly. She would have her hair.

When the time had finally come around that she would get one, she had quite obviously planned the style she wanted; kind of dirty Princess Diana meets Joan Collins. I really could not have been less supportive about the whole thing! Fifteen years old and facing up to seeing my one and only beautiful Mum look like an alien. There was a series on at the time where the main characters were bald aliens (I can’t remember the name) and we would joke, as we always did in tough situations,that this was our future. Anyway, the lady that styled the wigs had told Mum that she should start to wear it before her hair fell out, so she could get a feel of it and feel altogether less self conscious. This particular day she had planned to collect it and wear it to showcase how it would look to me and my brother. When I saw her outside M&S, waiting to meet us, wearing her wig, I was horrified. Totally horrified. Not because she didn’t look great, not because she looked like a dirty Princess Diana, Joan Collins lookalike but, because I had to face up to it. Right there and then, it hit me like a brick; right outside the food store of M&S!! I am not proud of how I reacted. I was horrible. I probably made her feel absolutely crap but, at fifteen, I only cared how I felt. I tutted, rolled my eyes and said ‘What are you wearing that for?’ What a cow!! Ironically, that wig, in the last months, weeks and hours of my Mums life, gave her back to us. For just a little bit.

I don’t remember a time when my Auntie Kay didn’t wear a wig. It was just a given to me that she did but, when Mum’s turn came around for hers, my Auntie Kay wasn’t here any more to help her through it. She wasn’t actually my Auntie, she was my Godmother and a massively important part of my life growing up, in many different ways. Auntie Kay was the first real loss I suffered. It was the first time that Cancer came into our lives and started to take people away. A peaceful and happy time before she left us, the time before the Big C really started to drop into our lives.

Now! even though Auntie Kay died when I was just 11, I was not so young that I never appreciated just what she was. She was a warrior! One of the most elegant women that I have ever known and ever will do. Who,like my Mum, even whilst spending her last few years of her life, being slowly eaten away, she continued to stick two fingers up to the disease and took my Mum along with her for the ride. Her support, her rock and her saviour. The Thelma and Louise of the Radiation department! Two best friends growing together and sharing so intimately, the part of their lives which would ultimately tear them apart. However, wonderfully bringing them together also. Everything in life can have a positive side, or a side that will teach us that we will not be beaten. Even Cancer.

I know! What an attractive child I was! With Kay at my Christening.


Friday was our day! Every Friday my Mum would collect me from school and we would take the drive to Kay’s. It was only really a ten minute drive but, like the trips to horse riding, it was our time together. We would talk about my day at school or what cake we could expect to find on our visit to Kay’s. If it was nice weather, I would hang my arm out the window and let my hands drag along the hedges by the car. Her house was in a lane and hidden behind hedges was the large driveway and secret gardens that were hidden by trees. They were secret to me because if I were in them, leaving Mum and Kay chatting, I would sit on the swing and imagine I was the fairy Princess in her woods. Usually the cat would be with me. I loved that cat. He was the reason I always dreamed of having a cat; a crazy cross eyed ginger moggy that would follow me everywhere I went in her garden. Naturally, he knew a fairy princess when he saw one!

There was never an assumption or talk that Auntie Kay would have a partner to share her life with whilst I knew her. It was always just her and that was accepted. She had loved and lost and that love was so strong that she always remained true to the memory of it. Plus, she had her daughter (who remains today, an important person to me to help remember) I am sure she may have had ‘dalliances’ but, as a small child, it was not information I was privy to. I know she had admirers but, there was certainly no one serious. Just amazing teapots. She always had such lovely teapots! When she had her final house built, it really was ahead of its time. She designed it and had it built because, well, that was just the type of thing she did. It was her. Elegant, fun and really really modern. I loved going there; especially before the kitchen was completely finished because we could walk in on planks of wood and it was so fun. We still had the same lovely tea pots though.

A special gift that can be left behind to remember someone is a certain smell. Instantly, something simple as a particular smell can take you right back to a place or person that you treasured. If I wanted to be with my Auntie Kay, I would spray the perfume Anais Anais. With my Mum, it was Opium, which is really a shame because Opium smells like a camels back passage. Which is really why I have never quite brought myself to actually wear it but, I’d love to own a bottle and sniff it when I needed to. I wonder what smell would remind my loved ones of me?

My Brother and I when things were ‘normal’.


When the time had come that Kay was beaten, I remember feeling suddenly detached from her. I had wanted to see her in hospital but, Mum told me that I was categorically too young to see her when she was so poorly. She said she was very sleepy and on a lot of medication but, I suspect that, as happened with Mum when it spread to her brain, she was in a condition that left little of her remaining. I made her a card with a sun on it and I couldn’t wait to see her when she came out. That never happened. I never got to say goodbye to her, to see if I were special to her like she was to me. A lesson I wish I had learned when it came to watching my Mum die but, at eleven, I had not appreciated this gift I had been given and I wasted that time. A mistake I never made again.


I never talked to my Mum about it in great detail but, I so wish I had been of the age to confidently ask my Mum how it affected her and her own fight. I was too worried about broaching the subject and actually hearing the truth so I just kept quiet. Mum and I still took those drives together to see Kay but, it was to her grave. We still chatted and we knew that she was there with us in spirit but, there wasn’t much place for cake. Gradually, Mum became too ill to go anywhere. She had been there at Kay’s end, she had watched her best friend leave her behind to deal with the same, just without her strength and humour. It must have been terribly lonely for Mum. Having an 11 year old now, I don’t really have any friends that I hold such a strong relationship with and I realise how lucky they were to have each other. I wish that Mum had Kay for the next and last four years of her life so that they really could have gone over that cliff together, holding hands until the end. You can bet your life that they are enjoying that road trip together now though!



Lavender candles, lovely warm bubble bath and a magical feeling of love and new life. This is not what childbirth is like in any stretch of the imagination. Even those annoying cow bags that pop out a baby in one hour and slip into their size six jeans for the post birth journey home would agree! However, if you are having your first baby, the minute you discover that the miracle of life is forming in your uterus, you cannot help but think that for you, it will probably be just like this. Let’s face it; Technically you are the first person to ever go through it and God Damn you are going to have the easiest birth since Copulation began!

Luckily, and unsurprisingly for me, the tranquillity and beautiful magnitude of my first ever pregnancy lasted for a whopping two days. Two days because no sooner had  I discovered I was pregnant than I was spending my days crawling round on all fours and sitting on the toilet for forty five minutes at a time. Just a little ‘nodule’ on the Ovary apparently. If that was a little one, I would have had to bite down on a whiskey soaked rag in the weeks that followed to cope with any bigger. Bugger, it really hurt! Any woman that has suffered with something on her Ovary or generally in her womanly bits will know that really, you just feel like you constantly want a giant poo but, it has taken the wrong turn! Still, it was better than the alternative we faced, as for a few days the doctor had told us to expect the worst and that this pregnancy may well be ectopic. Thankfully it was not but, in true spirit of Gynaecology departments all over, unless you were dead, you could wait a few days to find out for sure. (Although, my Gynaecologist rocks!! and looks like Louis Spence 🙂 )


I have used this picture before, but it is disgusting and I like it!

So, apart from the constant need for a poo, the daily navigation of a spiral staircase on all fours and the hourly requirement for grated cheese in a white roll, the rest of my pregnancy seemed to pootle along quite nicely. The determination of this as an in-utero pregnancy was discovered during an internal scan but, I feel the intricacies of this particular procedure may be too much for some. Ironically, they cover it in what looks like a giant condom first but, as I said…I must stop there!

The fun really began when it was realised that all those grated cheese rolls had ensured a very yummy environment for my daughter and she clearly did not want to budge from where she stayed. Even after two weeks, she was not in the mind set to make an appearance and all the things they tell you that will encourage labour are about as useful as the birth plan they tell you to write beforehand. What you should really write in your birth plan is: give birth. In whatever way works for you. Oh, and remember the time you said that whatever happened, there was no way you were having an Epidural….Ha Ha Ha…..that was a good one Monty Python!

If when overdue, you are fortunate enough to have a ‘Sweep’, you will have had a lovely little insight into what might be waiting round the corner for you. I have had five in total and its a wonder I don’t have lady bits that could safely house the car keys. To be fair, I have never actually tried! I have friends that are nervous to have a smear test. Us Mum’s will have a little giggle at that. Blimey! When you have had a child, you are pretty much willing to save time for future gynaecological appointments by going in your pants!!



To look at her now you would think she never caused me any trouble at all.

So…What happened for me the first time round?

As I have mentioned, my daughter Lani was two weeks overdue. Technically she was two weeks and ‘God knows how long in labour’ overdue but, lets not get pedantic! I had three sweeps (which incidentally is not a type of spring clean) and was booked in for an induction on the 14th day. Almost every Mum that has been induced kindly informed me of exactly how much more painful my whole experience would be with induction, which was kind! However, if I knew then what I know now, I would have demanded that Epidural from the car on the way in…Best invention ever!!…After wine.

I honestly can’t remember where I was or what I was doing when the contractions started. I do however, remember that I was wearing an orange top! I thought, ‘Well, this isn’t bad. Give it an hour or so and I shall be pushing my lovely (and tiny of course) baby into the world’. Well, on the second night…yes night..of these pains, I was ready to reach in and pull it out myself. The pain starts off like the feel of a fart collecting in your bottom region. Except, it doesn’t escape giving you immediate relief, it goes upwards where it shouldn’t. It swirls around your back passage and creeps up towards your tummy like ‘The Scream’ and the skin on your abdomen has become so tight that it would make Joan Rivers jealous. Encompassed with all this is the feeling that you must dispose of every fluid remaining in your body and you have the urge that you never thought possible to wee, poo and vomit all at the same time. Oh, and all those baby magazines you bought which suggested you have the special raspberry flavoured lip balm for this joyous occasion can stuff that lip balm right in their print press!

It starts off as a little trickle at first. I was watching Vicar of Dibley, the Christmas episode where she has to have several Christmas lunches and stuff sprouts into her mouth. I was thinking that I had to do just the opposite of that and feeling like it too. I also remember being really grateful at this point that I had a leather sofa (and that I was wearing my ex husbands trousers) but, it is not till you stand up that you realise the full fun of the ‘Gush’ that you are about to incur and the way that it actually feels, just that little bit satisfying…..

To be continued…. (because I realise I have not even got to the hospital yet and the fun increases by ten fold then) Oh and obviously Joan Rivers was alive when I had my first baby. RIP Joan (I know she wouldn’t mind)







A Diary For Rusty

A Diary For Rusty

A Diary For Rusty

All the relevant pregnancy applications and baby magazines suggest that at this time, I should start writing a diary about my pregnancy. In true defiance style, when anyone suggests I do something, I usually do something different. I also thought, if I wrote how I was really feeling at the moment and you by any chance saw it in later life, you would think I was a horrendously mean Mummy!

So, I will just get that part out of the way: how one tiny tiny thing can make you feel so utterly wretched is mind blowing to me. I have spent the last few weeks with my head pretty much wedged down the toilet, apart from the time I was sick on myself in the shower that is! I have gone off all food, nothing holds any interest to me and the idea of cooking tea for my family is comparative to Chinese water torture. Especially as there is no way I will be eating it. Most days, I have barely been able to lift my bottom from the sofa. Ironic really as mostly I have been watching ‘Come Dine With Me’.

Regardless of this, and however many times I have chastised you for sapping all my utter being, I wanted to make sure that you knew that we loved you. That we loved you already. You were a big surprise, and not because you were not wanted: quite the opposite. You see, your brother or sister had left us just a month before you started to grow and we could not quite believe how quickly you were sent to heal our hearts after they had been unable to stay.

I have never really considered my skills as a mother, I just am one. I don’t know if I am a good Mum or not. I can only love you and your sisters with all my heart and fight with everything I have for you, every day. That is all I can offer you: me. Know that I will always be here for you, even the times when you and your sisters are making me shout at you for painting the walls or shaving the dog but, through all these times I will always be a constant. Heaven forbid that I could not be around for you for as long as I want. As your Mum, in whatever form, I shall always love you and watch over and protect you forever.

You are going to be lucky enough to have one of the most amazing Daddy’s that you could ever imagine existed. Your Daddy is without doubt, one of the most spectacular people to ever walk the planet. Even if he chastises you, even if he disciplines, you cannot help but realise that he will always remain, loyal, strong and protective and although he would never admit it to anyone, he is one of the most sensitive souls and with one of the hugest hearts that you could ever find. As soon as you meet him, you will be lucky enough to see everything in him that I do and feel utterly blessed that you are able to end every day with him as part of your life. He will be strict and funny in equal amounts. Embarrassing you sometimes with his silliness but making you proud to call him your Daddy. I am utterly sure of this. I apologise in advance for the fact that he may well pick you up from school dressed as a banana! I have no control over him!

A Diary For Rusty

Our Rusty

As for your sisters, they are both completely bonkers! One more so than the other but, you will work out which is which when you meet them. Lani is the most thoughtful child, caring and sensitive and sometimes overly nervous but, with a heart as deep as the ocean. Flo is on her very own planet but, cannot stay mad or upset for long and will fill your life with cuddles and laughter. I wonder if you will have a little bit of both of them in you. They will be so proud of you and if they had half a chance, they would no doubt dress you up in their Build a Bear outfits. I will probably discourage that.

Unfortunately, you will never meet one set of your grandparents, as your sisters never have but, I will make sure that you know everything about them. They look out for you from somewhere else I can guarantee that. You will however have the pleasure of a Grandma who, like Mummy, will always be honest with you. She is strong but, kind and caring and you know that she must be pretty fabulous because she has made your Daddy who he is. You will share your secrets with her over cake (which she will make) and giggle with her as I have done many times over the years. She will be one of the strongest people in your life and be a huge influence in your growing years. Grampa will tut a lot, wear bright socks and moan about politics but, however much we all joke that he is old and miserable, his eyes will light up when you enter the room and contrary to what he says, he will always be sad to see you leave. As he shows with your cousins now. He will always be there for you: and smile when everyone else leaves the room!

So, until we can all meet you in person, we will continue to play you songs that we hope you will like and even though I love you madly, I will continue to grumble at you for making me sick. Particularly as I should now be enjoying spoonful’s of mustard and grated (only grated) cheese sandwiches.

Love from Mummy xxx


Ghosts Part 2

Ghosts Part 2

My Dad was always falling out of bed! Sometimes the dog pushed him out and sometimes he simply turned over a little too far in his sleep and…doink! He could just about feel his legs but, he could not weight bare in any way. He could get onto the commode himself and from his wheelchair to the bed was ok but, there was generally a struggle each day. Once, he was so determined to come to the next level of the house and look out of our fire escape window at the gardens next door, that he tried to drag himself up the stairs like a merman. I was fuming with him that day! He got half way up and then slid to the bottom like a sausage. He thought it was hysterical (as he did most things) I, on the other hand was furious with him for taking such a risk to his already crumbled spine: I slammed doors and called him a ‘Bloody, Pissing idiot’! Again, he thought it was hysterical.

When my Dad was in hospital, I had some help to get the downstairs ready for him coming home. We were lucky enough to live in a large town house which used to be flats so everything was pretty much self contained for him. He had a bedroom downstairs next to the living room and a bathroom where I could empty the luminous green wee from his catheter bag.We built slight ramps so he could easily wheel from room to room.The house being so old, there were tiny drops into each downstairs room. Dad could pick up things with his special ‘claw’ which helped him grip and lift things that were slightly out of his reach. Mostly, he would use it to pinch my bottom when I was getting something for him or lifting the cats tail while giggling and singing ‘Pixxxeeelina’. Some utter bastard who drove like a numpty ran over my Pixxee after my Dad had died. I was devastated to lose that connection.

It sounds completely bonkers but, there are nights when I am feeling really sad that I will close my eyes and hold out my open hand, in the anticipation that my Dad would hold it: even if just for a second. Some times I beg him to do it or to come and sit on the end of my bed so that I know he’s there, that he misses me in the way I miss him. That he still thinks of me as I do of him and if he is proud of me at all. In reality, if he did come back to me, he would probably just pinch my bum again with that bloody claw!!

Ghosts Part 2

My heart will always be just a little bit broken.

There were some nights that I would stay away and although I worried about leaving my Dad, I needed a release sometimes. He had nurses come in and help him also. I loved my dad with every single ounce of my being but, sometimes the pressure of looking after him was too much and I needed to escape. I was happy for it to be just the two of us but, it did make me feel very negatively towards a lot of people who I felt had forgotten us. Something I am still working through!

My Dad’s prognosis was very bleak right from the beginning. He was given months because his Cancer was discovered so late and was extremely aggressive.He was a right stubborn old sod and he died almost four years later (even after Merman and slippery sausage incidents) He waited until I was married so he knew I would not be alone and he died five weeks after that.

Ghosts Part 2

My beautiful girl: if not a little bit weird!

Only weeks before, something happened which should have forewarned us. I often wondered if it was a consious forewarning  for my Dad. He would never have dreamed of admitting that to me, never. In the same way he would never admit about the baby in our previous house. But, it has always left me wondering. This is what happened:

I had been away overnight at my in laws and was returning as I usually did if I had stayed out,around late morning.The image of my Dad in his chair is one that I will never forget. He was sat in the living room watching the television and as his head turned to look at me coming in the front door, he turned ashen. My Dad carried a lot of expression in his face but, this day it was one of confusion and terror. There was a split second where I contemplated that the Cancer had spread to his brain and perhaps he had no idea who this intruder was. ‘Shu’?…..’You haven’t just come home?’ ‘You came home last night’. I hadn’t.

My Dad went on to explain that just as he was drifting off to sleep he was aware I was home. He said he had not heard me come in the front door but had seen me furtling around in the landing (I did and still do furtle an awful lot) and had called out to me to see what I was up to. I had walked to the entrance of his bedroom and stood in his doorway for a couple of minutes without speaking and then simply turned around and walked away. Of course, I say me, but it wasn’t me, I was 17 miles away watching trashy TV and no doubt drinking wine. My dad said there was no doubt in his mind that he was seeing a person, a solid entity (what he thought was me) that he had called out and asked me to get him a drink. We made a joke of it of course and japed that it would have been more than a little unsettling if whatever or whoever that was that night had actually brought him a drink.

This has always been a comfort to me, not frightening in any way but it is something I will take with me to my own grave and I will always wonder who exactly it was that came to collect my Dad. Dad didn’t have much time to worry about it as whoever it was accompanied him to the next world shortly after. I hope someone comes for me too when I am ready to go. I will have that drink though: Pinot Grigio naturally!





‘This is my first piece of fiction I have written. It is not the beginning of a novel, just simply a piece of writing to see if it is even worth me going down the fiction route. It just so happens, that I am going to use any audience to gauge whether or not I really should ‘give up the day job!’ Just to be clear to my actual real life boss who I have worked for for many years, I do actually still want to work. That was merely an expression. So here goes:’

Gianni was handsome, not in the traditional sense but, in a self confident way. His line of work meant that he carried with him an ‘edge’ that most women found attractive. His dark complexion and olive skin gave him the look of a roman god, which technically, to him anyway, he was. His tailored suits and crisp white shirts left just enough darkened skin available to his admirers and his expensive watches often glistened and caught the attention of some very attractive ‘magpies’. The occasional flecks of grey in both his hair and stubble gave a weathered look and an explanation of the things he had seen during his some 27 years in a slightly ashen existence. A want for the best and most beautiful things meant that he was constantly in a bubble of euphoria, a self obsessed shallow life that gave pleasure for now but, was soon to come crashing down.

This was the day, the day that had started like any other. The day which he had woken up a wise man and upon ending he will be a broken one. The day where he was feared and admired at the same time. Where the only worry he had was that he did his job and kept his other family happy, cleaned up his mess and turned off his emotions because being a wise man, that was what you did. This is the day that he had irradiated his own flesh and blood. The day to begin all future days: the day he had killed his own sister.

There were times, particularly as the sun was sneaking down behind the clouds, that the shine on the sea looked like a flowing bed of diamonds. To him, anyway. If it really had been diamonds, he would never have found himself in this situation. Not just the situation, but the feeling deep inside him which would not go away. It resided at the bottom of his stomach like a layer of thick tar, so thick he could almost feel it and nothing he ever did could make it go away. Even the warm meditteranean sun on his face on an evening like this would not soften it.

Gianni was used to the black, his whole world was dark but, he had never known any different. From the moment he could walk he always knew the type of life he would lead. If he had lead any other, he would not be complete. He was important. He made things clean, made the bad go away and he delivered justice in a way that most people would only dream of. It was only after the events of today that that dark which previously built him up and protected him like an iron cloak had started to envelop him. The once strength he felt had become his very own black hole, pulling him further and further into it, the black tar seeping out from the inside.

Instead of the breeze and smell of the warm sun on the bark of the olive trees, Gianni found this smell like no other. He could taste it and he could feel it, it was cold. Although it was the middle of the afternoon in the most beautiful place on earth, his eyes burned with the flouresant light and the once warm free sandal bound feet were encased in crunchy blue material: man made material that made him feel like he did not exist below the ankle.He didn’t exist anymore anyway.

Why had he never thought or felt this place before: he had sent many people there, too many to count. But, his thoughts of them had ended just as soon as his eradication was complete. As soon as he had cleaned them from the dirt in which they came. A dirt that his world had created, but the dirt in which he lived. It had been easier not to comprehend that this other world existed. This world was fake, it was cold and it was sterile but, before it had never cared for anything that had any importance to him. Omertà didn’t matter here: the man in the white, hiding half of his face did not care who he touched. It was only now, in this instance that Gianni had to accept it as part of his new life. His old life, he could never go back to, he would never see in the same way. Somewhere which he had never comprehended for 27 years would now, never leave him.

Knives were an addition of power, they carried fear and they were easily gotten rid off. The beautiful warm sea which looked like diamonds sometimes and carried with it happy memories of children and sand castles was also a friend to death. The blood which once pumped through veins and carried with it feelings of love and feelings of contentment, could be washed away by this giant as if it never was, as if it never mattered.The sea was his collaborator, his playground of forget and yet now, in this cold unforgiving room, it was a distant memory to him. His whole way of life was a distant memory.

The day had started like any other. She was supposed to be somewhere else, living her life as she always did: living without knowing what he was but being proud of him anyway. In an instant, the two worlds which completed his life had merged into one and only the black remained. Those that had feared him, those that he had eradicated, that loving ‘family’ that he had felt a part of forever had been for nothing. He was on the outside looking in. He had become those that he once towered over, weak and vulnerable and most importantly: repentant.

Gianni saw the knife on the side. Had it touched her. Had she felt it. The power in which it had held for him since he was a child had dissipated into nothing but fear. Had part of her been left on its cold steel, only to be wiped away as if she never mattered either. He wanted to take all of her home, not leave one part of her behind. He wanted her complete and as she was. How could his life before betray him like this. Perhaps the ghosts had led him here. He would walk amongst those ghosts now like only an outline. The outline of a person that his shallow life had once made him anyway.





Would you like to know if you were going to die? Ok! I know it’s not exactly that dramatic but, for a long time now I have anguished over this one. I am lucky enough, at my age and only because of my history obviously, to have regular ultrasounds and check ups. I don’t have Mammograms because I am too young and younger (cough cough) breast tissue is much harder to read on a Mammogram than it is on an ultrasound. Mind you! I had to push for it. I had a referral from my doctor and numerous pointless conversations and telephone tennis in order to be able to have these reviews. Unbelievable really.Luckily, I stuck to my guns.

I have also been offered the BRCA2 test. As if it wasn’t a ticking time bomb in my life anyway without having any concrete confirmation of a defunct gene which could lead me down the same path as my Mother. Perhaps I am naive to think I would rather not know, particulary given my massive spiritual beliefs in life but, what would I really do if I did have the irregularity in my genes? Would I have a double mastectomy and rebuild my breasts and then have a hysterectomy? Of course I bloody wouldn’t. I don’t have the most amazing rack but, I am more than happy to leave it how it is for now. I do want more babies though: the thought of never having another child is absolutely devastating to me. I already feel like my biological clock may prohibit me anyway but, to chose to eliminate even the option for good is beyond any type of comprehension I must admit.


My daughter and I were doing the selfie before it was even popular 🙂

We have all been alerted to the BRCA2 test, mostly thanks to Angelina Jolie but, quite strangely for me, I spoke to an absolutely lovely lady whilst at work (selling her Travel Insurance) who recommended me to her specialist. The first thing she asked me and probably because of my name: Was I Jewish? Specific mutations of the gene can be associated with some ethnic groups, namely those of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. I am not Jewish by the way but, in case you were wondering Shushanah is a Hebrew name.

There can be a mutation in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that can suggest that you are at higher risk of Breast and Ovarian Cancer.If there is a mutation, your risk of getting Breast Cancer can be as high as 85%. However, your environment and lifestyle can always have a big impact. Well! Of course it can! If I never left my house, it would be unlikely that I would die from being run over. No-one else in my family had Breast Cancer but, did my Mum get it because she had a genetic mutation? Her Grandma may have had it too but, as she was run over by a bus, we will never know. Do you sense where I am going with this one?

I have agonized whether I would want to have my girls tested. The truth is, it wouldn’t be up to me. They should do whatever they see fit when the time arises and should I get Breast Cancer, then we would look at that much more closely of course. I have an Insurance in place which I have had for years, if I’m being honest, I could really do with now but, that’s an utterly despicable thing to say. I could though: or I shall continue to wait for my miracle and keep on dreaming.


I never want my girls to have to go through what I did..never.

I watched an amazing programme not long ago about an utterly beautiful and inspiring girl called Kris Hallenga who started the charity Coppafeel, promoting regularly checking your breasts for lumps and irregularities whatever your age. In this day and age and with all the media attention, it really isn’t still something that young girls feel they need to do. Kris was 23 when she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and it had spread: to stage 4! Kris now spends all her time promoting breast checking and if you have a chance to check her out, make sure you do because it’s women like her that make this world seem like it has a purpose. She does for me anyway. As I said, I am lucky enough to get checked but, I still had to fight for it and as I’m used to fighting, I stuck it out. I know how easy it would have been to give up though. Very!

Don’t misunderstand me, My Mum didn’t die of her Breast Cancer because it wasn’t caught in time. She died because she first had Breast Cancer in the 80’s. That is truly what I believe. And she was in her 30’s which was considered really young to be diagnosed at that time. If she had the treatment that there is available today, I know she would still be here. There was no Herceptin then and Radiotherapy was primitive by today’s comparison, in a Prisoner Cell Block H type of fashion. My Mum’s had spread of course, spread to her brain in the end and when she could no longer talk, she jotted down her witticisms on an Etch a Sketch type affair. My treasured Godmother Ro (who I will tell you about soon) said that she had told her that she knew I would be OK because I was strong. I never wanted to be strong. I would have much rather not been strong and had an easy life. That is me being selfish again.


My Mum was in hospital when this picture was taken. I was 15..oh and I was angry…

My Dad on the other hand, did die because he was diagnosed too late. Had he just had a routine check where Prostate testing was standard, he would still be here: infuriating me by never doing the jobs I would ask him to do whilst I was at work and then when I moaned at him, smiling at me with an almost bellowy smile that shone deep out of his soul.. If I had a time machine, I would not go back and get the Lottery numbers, I would go back 10 years, march him to a doctor and and demanded that they stick their finger up his bum right away! It really is not a difficult concept, every man over 50 should get that ‘digit up their doughnut’!

A man with Prostate Cancer after treatment or even during can have a PSA reading (Prostate Specific Amount) of 4 or under. When my Dad’s Prostate Cancer was discovered, his PSA was 2000! 2000!!! In my job whilst Medical Screening for Travel Insurance, in 13 years I have never spoken to one client with the disease who had a reading over 100. The doctor phoned me and said she was worried that I did not understand the severity of his condition (the drunk doctor I told you about before) Cheeky cow!!! Six months she told me we would get. Nearly 4 Years we were blessed with. That’s one determined, amazing, funny and much missed old git! I wish I could ask him if he would want me to be tested.

Happy fathers day you old git. Love you Dad!