Cancer in the Time of Covid

…and other adventures

NHS: Part Two

It is the next day, April 2020. It has been 36 hours since my operation. Today, my brother is coming to collect me and drive me 150 miles to his house. I am getting ready. Washed and got dressed without falling over: check. Nurse has kindly put my shoes and socks on (I can’t bendContinue reading “NHS: Part Two”

Not Done

Poetry with Goats is a project I started a few days after I got my first diagnosis back in March 2020. I volunteer to help look after goats in a woodland and, in the first lockdown, it seemed the, erm, obvious thing to do to read poetry to them. I may have just had aContinue reading “Not Done”


My eyes open. There is movement, voices. I am being wheeled somewhere. It’s ok, it’s ok, the voices say. All I know is that I am very cold. I am shivering violently. The movement kerthunks to a stop (the bed brakes being applied) and a masked nurse cocoons me in blankets. Head, body, legs; IContinue reading “Fluid”


My eyes open. My bedroom ceiling is there, I move my body and it obeys as normal, my feet know the familiar, worn carpet as I walk to the bathroom. I am dreaming. A week ago I woke up just the same. I got out of bed just the same. I was thinking about work,Continue reading “Dreaming”


My phone rings whilst I am mid-Zoom conversation. A withheld number. It is early Monday morning, less than a week since I had that fateful phone conversation with my GP, just a weekend since I had the whole body CT scan on Friday to look for cancer spread. I am waiting for the results. IContinue reading “Action”


Waiting. Those first few days. Straight after I told my parents, I had the same conversation with my brother. Same screen, different face. Same flinching head-bob. Same stumble of words, same horror hanging in the space between us. I’m sorry, brother, I am. I love you. He stuttered, repeated himself, um, um, right, um, right.Continue reading “Waiting”


This blog has been on hiatus. It has been on hiatus since the summer, when I first felt well enough to start writing about my experiences. That window of wellness did not last long and now, here I am, ever more bruised, desperate, scarred, cancerous, hopeful and still – still – gloriously, ridiculously alive, allContinue reading “HIATUS”

NHS: Part One

I wanted to go back to work. I wanted to see my friends and colleagues again, to banter with them, to laugh and joke, to talk about how best to help our patients; to not be a patient myself. I wanted to see them to explain why I was suddenly disappearing, now, in the middleContinue reading “NHS: Part One”


There they were. Mum and Dad, their faces expanded on my laptop screen, nostrils looming (Dad), worrying about hair (Mum). A Wednesday. Two days after lockdown. I had called via FaceTime to find Mum pottering in the kitchen. Is Dad there, too? I asked. Can he come? He came and sat down, both of themContinue reading “Screens”


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