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My Cancer treatment

400 seconds of fear - or that time I stood up on stage to chat about cancer!

The other week, a friend of mine, Jonny, convinced me to stand on a stage at the Pecha Kucha Sheffield event that he runs, and chat about how I'm dealing with cancer. Or not dealing with it, as it might be. 

I've never been very good at public speaking - it terrifies me, so lets just say that this was a huge thing to agree to for me. And I won't lie, until about 5 seconds before I got on stage I thought I might bottle it and run away, but somehow, and I'm not sure how, I made it through the talk and I came out the other side. 
If you're not familiar with Pecha Kucha, each event has a theme, and all the speakers speak about their version of the theme, and when you're on the stage, you get  20 slides, that last 20 seconds each, which totals 6minutes 40 seconds, or, 400 seconds.

Doesn't sound too long right? Until you're standing at the side of the stage, about to go on, with a packed room full of people in front of you and you realise that you've 100% written far too much in your google doc to fit into that time, so you decide to wing it! (I've always had a problem with too many words. Every essay I wrote at uni had to be shrunken considerably before being handed in!)
PK Sheffield host Jonny Douglas!
I realised that I'd be breaking every public speaking rule book if I tried to cram everything I'd written into my allotted time, so slimmed it down. I took on board the wise words a friend told me. She said that this was my story, and no-one else knows it like I do, so I'm the expert at telling the story. Which is so true.  
I was going to post my entire speech here but there were so many points I'd like to expand on (see, too many words), that I'm going to cut it up and use it as blog post fodder - who knows, it might even get me posting again regularly as half the work is already done. 

But, as nervous as I was, once I came off stage, it was an amazing feeling. To have got up on there, and to have told my story, and to hopefully have educated people on what a secondary cancer is, and the issues that face people with a secondary- mostly about the lack of funding into research to help find more treatments and cures for this type of cancer!

It's almost got me thinking that maybe I could do it again- albeit, without the pressure of the 20/20 slide situation going on behind me!

I was also privileged enough to share the stage with some amazing people, people who are dealing with some incredible and inspirational situations. Each of them so different to the next. 
Vanda from The Suit Works
Lara from The Snowdrop Project
Sheffield's Major Magid
Neighbourhood voices choir
Dodge and Co

But before I get carried away, I might need to up my public speaking skills - got any tips for me? 

Things cancer has taught me - Skincare

Things cancer has taught me; less carpe diem - more keeping it real!

Don’t worry, I’m not here to talk about inner peace or to get spiritual, because I’m not sure I've figured either of those things out, yet. But I thought it might be fun to might start a new series, letting you in on all the secrets that having cancer these last few years has taught me!  

Today I'm here to, shockingly, inform you that skincare regimes actually do work. I know, revolutionary! 

Somehow I made it to 35 years old with a basic, rudimentary skincare regime. Yes I read a thousand magazine articles about this miracle moisturiser, or that must have toner, but in all honesty, I was the girl who barely remembered to take her make up off at the end of the day, let alone cleanse, tone and moisturise……if I was lucky I'd slap on some Clinique moisturiser, the yellow one, or run a make up removing wipe across my face and be done with it. 

So when people on Instagram started throwing retinoids and acids and toners and fancy potions in pretty bottles into the mix, I threw up my hands in despair. I basically didn't understand a word being said! 

And then I got cancer. 

Yup. Cancer even impacts your skincare regime. In everything I read about getting cancer young, every single person talked about how much of a toll all the drugs have on your skin.......not something that you want to read at 35!

Personally, I've found that going through treatment does all sorts of crazy things to my skin. The steroids make my face all fat and round (well, it's either that or the carbs I'm stuffing in my mouth), but they also make it really clear. Then the anti sickness stuff they give me makes my cheeks bright red, and then once that has subsided the chemo makes me look a bit grey- all within a couple of days of having it. It also makes my arms and legs feel really dry too! 

And so now I have shelves of oils, and moisturisers and serums and well, an actual skincare regime!

I mean, it’s not one I follow daily – cancer doesn’t work miracles, but it’s one I follow almost daily…..and something crazy has happened – people keep telling me how good my skin looks. 

Which can only be attributed to the fact I’m not sleeping in my CC cream on a daily basis and maybe that the crazily expensive brightening stuff I use, or the rose petal plumping oil that came in my advent, or the retinoid I put on without understanding what a retinoid actually is, or the face cream that's meant to make me look like I had eight hours sleep even when I haven't - ACTUALLY WORK! 

Because I am certainly not getting younger, in fact blasting my body with two rounds of poison will not make me look like a 20year old, of that, I'm pretty certain! But I'll take not looking 37 at a point in my life where I'm supposed to be aging before my time! And I can't remember a time when people have ever commented on my skin before....

Or maybe it's the fact that everyone you see on TV with cancer looks so close to death that when I leave the house with makeup on everyone is so shocked that I don't look how they expect they compliment me for it. 

To be honest, I've spent so much on my shelves of lotions and potions, I've put it down to their magical properties!

Wear your disdain for cancer with pride

Last summer, after treatment had finished my friends organised a wonderful, surprise, end of cancer party for me that included this amazing, slightly sweary, cake topper that my friend Lizzie had made for me. 

Well, when my cancer returned, my jewellery tutor Emmie, made me a necklace to wear with pride to my appointments, treatment, the pub, well, just to wear EVERYWHERE. 

Cancer Necklace
And we got such an amazing response to it on social media that we've decided to make some to sell to raise money for the Cavendish Cancer Centre - a place that has supported me wonderfully over the last 18 months. 

The necklaces are hand sawn, solid sterling silver, with a beautiful sparkly finish to it, and comes on a sterling silver chain too.

If you'd like to grab one, click here to grab one at the pre-order launch price! 

And because Pinterest doesn't allow sweary images - if you'd like to share it on there, you can use this pic - hopefully, it won't get taken down ;)