5 Years on

It seems like 5 minutes ago, yet also a lifetime ago that I started treatment for cancer in January of 2009.

I remember clearly the gamut of emotions I went through those first few months: the disbelief at the initial diagnosis: the fear when I was told that I would have to have an hysterectomy; then the terror of being told that this was not possible so I would need chemotherapy and radiotherapy; the panic, as a needle phobic, at the realisation of the number of needles I would have to face; the shock of being told I would need first one then a second blood transfusion; the dread of the further internal treatment; the disappointment that I would be the only person in living history who would go through chemo and NOT lose weight;  the dis-belief that the treatment had worked and most vividly I remember the horror and revulsion I felt about the matching pink gingham with broderie anglaise trim nightdress and dressing gown my Mum chose for me to wear in hospital!! (Yes I am that shallow and ungrateful!).

But more than these negative emotions I remember kind and patient treatment by the majority of medical staff and hospital volunteers; feelings of wonder and humility at the strength of other patients facing a tougher journey than me and the support, humour, understanding and compassion from family, this forum, most friends and colleagues.

Last week I had my final check-up and have officially been discharged by the Oncology team as cancer free. The relief was huge.

Life before cancer is very different to life after, things change, people change, bodies change…only pink gingham remains the same! There is nothing positive about illness but since my diagnosis I have done several things that I have always wanted to do but never got around to before and maybe still wouldn’t have done (been on safari, visited Greenland, bought a pair of Jimmy Choos, visited Rome, eaten a truffle (fungi not chocolate), bought a dog and walked Hadrians Wall (not in the Jimmy Choos!) ). And there are still plenty of other things I want to do (go to Glastonbury Festival, have enough land to grow an apple tree, see an opera, visit the Giants Causeway, own a Zandra Rhodes dress (told you I was shallow)etc.) so I’m glad of the opportunity to stick around a bit longer.

This post is to thank the forum and its members for it's support and help over the years, to let you know that sometimes cancer can be cured, that 5 years can be the longest and also the shortest period of time and most importantly to advise you that if you are going into hospital not to let someone else choose your nightdress!

Goodluck everyone on your journeys.


That's great news Gwen, thank you so much for letting us know your story, it certainly gives hope to those of us on the same journey!


Sue x

Congratulations x

Keep going with your list!!!

What a wonderful post!  It brought tears to my eyes and also made me laugh..........must admit I'm jealous of the Jimmy Choos but not the pink gingham, lol!!

Hope you achieve all your wants (I want to do Glasto too!) and keep adding to the list as time goes on.

It gives us all hope for the future, thank you.

Hugs, Cheryl,xx

Congratulations Gwen, fantastic news! Soooo jealous of the Jimmy Choos! Xx

Hi Gwen,

What a fantastic post.

All the very best for the future.

Becky X

Hello Gwen, I've really enjoyed reading your post, it really gives me hope.  I can definitely understand why you want to fit so much into your life now - I feel the same way about my life but I fear I've become  a bit lazy since treatment ended.  

By the way, on your list of places to visit - I live not 7 miles from the Giants Causeway, here on  the North Antrim Coast,  so if you ever get around to visiting - let me know! 


Hi Gwen

A fantastic post - all the best for the future


Hi Gwen,


i loved your post. Good luck for the future and especially with getting the Zandra Rhodes dress to wear with your Choos! 


Love Tess xx

Fantastic post, you have a way with words. Congratulations on your 5 year all clear, what an achievement.

The nightdress saga resonates with me.... I cried when I saw myself in the mirror in a granny nightie, post-op.

Carry on with that bucket list.... and enjoy every second.


What a lovely post.

Thank you.

You give hope to us all and remind us life is for living in the here and now. Thanks Gwen x

I love this post! Thank you for sharing gwen and congratulations xx

Your post was wonderful. I am so happy you are doing things.

Was told last Fri by one of the top Doctors in the USA that I can probably reach the All Clear goal because I am doing so well, but that I have to be patient and not over do.

So glad you and others are reaching goals.

Hello KatieLives

I might be stupid here but what does the abbreviation  'Dx' mean? is it an American term as I don't think I've come across it before on this website?

Not stupid at all!!! Just ignorant of an abbreviation - just like me. ;D

DX = Diagnosis  and    RX = Drug or Treatment Prescribed by Healthcare person

Thanks for asking. Hugs,