Monday, 28 February 2011

Lucky Day

Monday 28th Feb.

Wake up to the news that Colin Firth will be bringing the little gold man back to Chiswick – this could be a very lucky day for our church roof and the organ.

I have a piece in the Daily Telegraph about the problems of living with after effects of a cancer diagnosis, and the “false hopelessness” meted out by some doctors.

My picture in the paper is quite good for once. "Kim O'Therapy" looks both gamine and sagacious sitting in the garden in a lgreen velvet coat. I bought that about twenty years ago when I had a large disposable income, and I have never worn it as it always seems to be too cold. I chose the colour to show my support for Sinn Fein – that all does seem a long time ago.

The editor of Private Banking Magazine wants me to go to Matchu Pitchu in Peru as soon as possible, not walking this time, but going by train and bus to the site, and to sail to New York on the Queen Mary in June.

I will have to go on these jaunts dressed entirely from charity shops. Most women I know sport wonderful designer clothes from them and provide lists of the best ones to visit. I have ignored them so far out of laziness but I now have no choice. I am tired of this no money lark, can’t get used to it. I don’t think I am exactly alone in this, in fact I sense a rapidly spreading malaise.


  1. I saw your DT article and was affected by your dealings with negative doctors' comments and your subsequent constant anxiety of 'when is it going to come back'syndrome. Try to remain positive and do not dwell on the negative.

    Two years' ago I had Primary Peritoneal Cancer with secondaries in the ovaries. Undiagnosed for several months,and in severe pain, I was lucky in the end to have a good team; chemotherapy started urgently on Christmas Eve 2008. I knew the prognosis was bad, and was amazed when it went into remission, although I knew it would return because I still had all my organs. I had a wonderful year recovering, whilst also quietly watching for signs of recurrence! If I had not been aware that it would recur, I would not have disagreed with the doctor when he said everything was fine at a check up! My CA 125 had risen from 9 to 12, then to 29 (ok just within normal, but rising), and also I said that I felt things were not right(tired, getting bloated, low twinges). So I was given a CT scan, when the recurrence of ovarian cancer was found! Since then, I have had a major operation, and another 6 cycles of chemotherapy. My hair is now regrowing in its unique style, silver with black highlights - very trendy, like yours, still only about half an inch in length, but it suits me. I am playing tennis again, had a great week celebrating last week when I was a 'young' 70! Also, I am planning a charity walk in May (1st to 9th) along the South Downs Way to raise funds for GRACE (Gynae-oncology Research and Clinical Excellence) based at St. Luke's, Guildford, where I have been treated. See my blog: and read about GRACE at

    I would say, be aware, but do not dwell on it. That is a waste of energy, which you need to get well, and stay well. Go back to your painting. I am doing a huge Constable 'Haywain' tapestry - will take me years, so I will make sure I have years to do it in! Good luck and stay healthy.
    Elsena Marsden

  2. Hi Jane,

    I want to say "thanks" for your article in The Telegraph. All too often, doctors take away all hope from late stage ovarian cancer survivors. Your article provides a much needed perspective for those survivors, and hopefully, medical professionals will take note as well. Thank you again.

    Best regards,

  3. Dear Elsena,
    thank you for your message. I am not clear why they didn't remove your organs when the disease was discovered.
    Good luck with the walk! Are there some good hospitals near Guildford? I would like to move there but wondered whether the treatment would be as good as in London....

  4. Hi Jane,
    Thanks - I need luck on the walk! The reason
    I had urgent chemotherapy was because I was too ill, by the time of diagnosis, to have an operation, After the chemo had done its work, I was so much better that my surgeon did not want to make me ill again, especially as laparascopy samples showed no active cancer cells. They said they would operate when it came back, which they did. But I was watchful and fearful in case it would be diagnosed too late again! I am so glad I insisted on everything 'not being normal' at a routine check! St Luke's Cancer Centre is in Guildford at Royal Surrey County Hospital. It is attached to Surrey University for Research. I have full confidence in my team of Surgeons, Oncologists and Macmillan Nurses. My brilliant surgeon is Mr Simon Butler-Manuel (whom I knew when I was a midwife!) and my lovely oncologist is Dr.Aggie Michaels. Wishing you well and, having read today's comment, hope your mind becomes more at peace with the situation!

  5. I am always glad to hear that there are good doctors outside London!