I knew that I had to write a book that could support women through the ‘life’ parts of cancer. A book that would give real advice from specialists such as nutritionists and stylists like Nicola Jane, as well as the experiences of other women who have had cancer. I wanted to include tips, examples, ideas, stories, personal memoirs, all with plenty of kind words and inspiration. I also wanted to make sure that the book was written with some much needed compassion and a dash of humour, so that any woman going through cancer wouldn’t feel alone like I did.
I had been experiencing rectal bleeding on and off, for around eight years. Over those years I had visited various GPs about the bleeding but they always said the same, you’re too young to have Bowel Cancer. If the bleeding goes away then that means it’s nothing serious so you don’t’ need to worry. A common misconception and it turns out – not true! I had lost my own mother and grandmother to bowel cancer just a few years earlier so I was well aware of the symptoms, but the bleeding would stop, so I assumed that I was fine.
During my second pregnancy the rectal bleeding and discomfort became intolerable. I returned to the GP three times during that pregnancy, always with the same responses from the GP, It’s common during pregnancy to have small tares caused by pressure so I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about. When my symptoms continued after my daughter was born, I quite literally fought for tests until my GP finally referred me for a colonoscopy. Things happened very quickly after that and in the blink of an eye I had gone from night-feeds with my baby and playdates with my toddler to IV’s with cocktails of drugs and surgeries that would last for hours. Although I had support for the treatment side of cancer when it came to attempting to navigate cancer combined with all the other elements of my life, I felt alone.
I looked for books to guide me though the ‘lifestyle’ parts of cancer, but found that books were usually medical, or memoirs of people who had died from cancer. Neither covered what I was looking for. I wanted to know about the lifestyle effects of having cancer - what to pack for hospital, how to stay social when I didn’t feel well enough to go out, attending social events, how to explain it to children and what to do when depression takes hold…
It wasn’t always easy writing a book about the worst experience I’ve encountered. I remember writing the section about chemotherapy and feeling like I could feel the chemotherapy seeping up my arm. Similarly when writing about the emotional side of cancer, reliving the rollercoaster once again, I came away from my computer crying. But for me that was important. To delve deep into the emotions and make sure I was honest and open about what people go through when they have cancer. To keep heart and realism in the book so that the reader would know they aren’t alone, whatever they are feeling.
The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer is an absolute labour of love, which did give me the chance to process what I had been through and turn one of the worst experiences of my life into a positive. A way to help other women, making sure they have a type of support that I wish I’d had. Nothing compares to the getting wonderful, heartfelt messages from ladies who have been touched or helped in some way by reading The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer. The response has been so positive and inspiring, leading the book to peak at number 3 in the Amazon charts, which is awesome but mainly, I am so thankful to be able to help other fabulous women.