Before I had cancer it was almost like I was on this train journey but then suddenly you’re on a detour, and you can kind of see where you thought you were going but actually you’re on a completely new journey that you have no control over. And that is the really scary part.
Either Alison or Tracey from Macmillan said to me, "Why don’t you write your chemo appointments in your diary, and then cross them off when they're done?" Crossing off the chemo was another way of gaining control. I’ve still got my diary now and I still write in it.
They also realised that I needed to keep busy so a part of my recuperation or my treatment was to be out of the house as much as possible. It was about combining a few things, being out of the house, doing something new and doing something therapeutic. I started doing printmaking and pottery. The college where I did the courses has a very close-knit community. It’s a bit like one big family. It’s got a lovely atmosphere and I have been very well supported by the tutors there.
My advice is to definitely treat yourself well. Make yourself feel as good as you possibly can. And there are many ways to make yourself feel good, if you have the energy and you’re able to physically and mentally. Maybe do a course or learn something new that you hadn't thought about doing. If I have any advice for people, it’s that you will regain control. Even if it’s just small things like buying a nice piece of jewellery, do whatever it is that you need to feel good.
I think a lot of people forget how important it is to learn something new. I think that’s something that makes us as human beings happier, and when you’re on a course you’re learning, aren’t you? And that enriches you I think. Get over the horror of it by doing something beautiful and creative. It’s like therapy.