A Light At the End of the Cancer Tunnel

You may remember a wee while ago I handed over to my best mate Izzy so she could write a post on finding out she had breast cancer at 28. This is Izzy.

dig for victory

Eight months on, a lot of treatment, surgery and sassy silk head-scarves later, she’s back with another update. Over to you Iz!


So I am at the end of my ‘active’ treatment now (one side effect of cancer is that you suddenly develop a whole new vocabulary – ‘active’ ‘tax’ ‘ER+’ etc etc) and am reflecting back on the past 7-8 months. I’ve had surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and many, many, many drugs in my system (all legal I hasten to add). It’s been SWELL.

Cancer is such bullshit man, honestly, I don’t recommend it. Do everything in your power to avoid it – give up smoking, look after your body and all that jazz – but if you get it (and many of us will, unfortunately) here are some things that I learnt.

–         Sometimes, you just need people to agree with you that life can be shit. Really, really shit. I am a ‘fixer’, always have been, I want to help and make things better and support, but sometimes you just have to say: ‘well that’s shit isn’t it’. And that’s enough.

–         If there is a support group/Look Good Feel Better workshop or anything like that, GO. Just GO. Having people to talk to who understand where you’re coming from, even if they’ve got a completely different illness, makes such a difference. I made some brilliant ‘cancer chums’ after a LGFB workshop I went on. A particularly fine moment recently was when 3 of us were having coffee in the park and we had all pulled off our hats/scarves to show each other our fledgling hair when the waitress came over and asked if we’d done ‘The Greatest Shave’ for charity. Nope, sorry babe, just got cancer. TBF she dealt with it really well.

Similarly I bullied Brennan (she of this ‘ere blog) to come with me to a support group dinner that I’d never been to before, and honestly it was just what I needed after a shitty day of bad news. (Editor’s Note: I was not bullied. I went WILLINGLY mainly bc the food in  this place was really great. And also I’m a really good friend *tosses hair*.)

–         People will tell you how things are likely to go or how you are likely to react/feel to treatment. Listen to them, but don’t listen too hard. Your opinion on your body is the one that matters. If it feels wrong, if you’re not sure about something (and this applies to all health scares I think), then your opinion is valid and you are allowed to speak up.

–         Don’t underestimate the importance of family and friends. Mine were on the other side of the world, which wasn’t ideal, although they seemed to spend a lot of time in my spare room actually so that helped. Space is important, but there is nothing better than a cuddle from your parents. Yes I’m nearly 30, piss off. 

–         Hair grows back. Nails grow back. (Thank god.)

–         People are kind. They will do nice things for you. It is one of the best things I’ve learnt about life and I try to remind myself of this at the moment when the world seems bleak and scary – in general, people are kind.

If someone asks you how cancer has ‘changed you’, tell them to fuck off (politely or not). It is horrible. It is hard. You might have an epiphany, you might not. And that is FINE.

I’m getting married at the end of this year. There is a light at the end of every tunnel. 

iz and chris




  1. Charlie Elliott

    July 15, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    I’m so pleased to hear that you’re doing well, Izzy. You’re such a boss!

  2. Richard Beenham

    July 15, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    Wonderful stuff! A lovely and truthful piece. I’m so pleased you’re out the other side of treatment. My sister is at a similar stage to you and recovering – she’s not got another appointment until September now. Life is indeed a right old shitter sometimes, so I’m really happy you’re doing so well. And congratulations on your forthcoming nuptials too! Much love to you. 🙂

  3. Louise Olley

    July 15, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    Well done Izzy! This article made me smile a lot. You’re one cool cat. And that photo of you and Chris is just so gorgeous! Keep being amazing.

    Olley -x-

  4. Clare

    July 15, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    My sister, ladies & gentlemen…
    I couldn’t be prouder or more in awe… You are an inspiration & we all have a thing or two to learn from you.
    I love you xxx

    now stop all of this dicking about in Oz & come home already… Xx

  5. Marianne Pyrke

    July 16, 2016 at 6:34 am

    Brilliant piece darling, it will be so good to have you home xxxx

  6. AMP

    July 16, 2016 at 7:57 am

    Superfly. It’s a funny old time after treatment ends. Don’t forget to be ultra kind to yourself xx

  7. Gillian lowey

    July 16, 2016 at 8:13 am

    Izzy……you are just a star. No FGmum could be prouder and when you walk down the isle in December you can look back at all the amazing things you have achieved as you start the next chapter and be sooooo very proud of yourself.
    X X X X X X X X
    By the way, you write a cracking blog…sideline career for sure

  8. Sheena J

    July 16, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Izzy, you are and absolute inspiration. Life is shit sometimes you’re right but every time I see a picture of you, a post, a blog, I smile. You make me push harder and soak up every second of life, not be sad and dwell. I think you’ve touched more people then you know. I’m so proud of you and so honoured to be your friend!!! Come back to your home soil! The love is real. xxxxxx

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