Ain’t it great? I'm beyond chuffed with it – not least because even Sgt Pepper makes an appearance. The direct translation of the title is ‘Things To Do Before You’re 30’ which, frankly, I’m kicking myself for not thinking of for the UK version. But hey.
Cooler even than seeing my daft little tome published in a country I’ve long wanted to visit, however, is seeing how someone else has interpreted The C-Word. And this, I like to think, really ‘gets’ it. There’s the cat; a heart; the shoes; the bra; the eyelashes; the tattoo... But also, it’s simple, and optimistic, and happy. Which, despite the subject matter, has always been my aim.
‘How’s the TV thing going?’ asked Other Always-Right Breast Nurse at Smiley Surgeon’s clinic this week, for my three-years-past-diagnosis check-up. (*bows* Thank you; thank you very much.)
‘Ooh, it’s all kicking off again,’ I said. ‘It’s very much in the works.’
‘Blimey, Lisa, you’ve had a crazy three years.’
‘I know, it’s ridiculous, isn’t it?’ I said. ‘Pure daft.’
‘Amazing though,’ she said, ‘that a drama is being made that’s all about you.’
‘Oh nonono, I don’t think of it like that,’ I said. ‘I mean, it’s not about me, is it? It’s just a story.’
‘Well, it’s a story that it'll be good for people to see,’ she asserted. ‘Provided they get the message right.’
‘Oh?’ I said, hoping she was thinking what I was thinking. ‘So what would you say the message is?’
‘Well… this!’ she said, pointing two open palms in my direction. ‘You, standing here, three years on. The message is: however traumatic your experience might have been, there’s life beyond it.’
‘Yes! That’s EXACTLY the message,’ I said, with a big daft grin plastered across my face.
That ‘message’ is something I’d worried about earlier in the week, after being – very flatteringly – asked to speak at the Women At One charity lunch in Guernsey. It’s always difficult to know what part of my story to tell (do I go down the cancer line, the blog line, the book line, the luck line…?) especially when, in whatever room you find yourself speaking, with something like The Bullshit, there’s bound to be someone with some kind of experience. Indeed, in Guernsey I met wonderful women with all kinds of relationships with cancer: someone whose Mum had been diagnosed that same week; someone who’d recently gone into remission; someone whose Dad had breast cancer; someone who was patiently seeing her husband through treatment.
It’s much the same whenever I walk into Smiley Surgeon’s clinic. Yes, I’m a picture of smiling, boisterous goonishness whenever I’m in the waiting room, but what about the other women in there? Because, just as they were at the Women At One lunch, some of them will be dealing with cancer; some will be unsure whether they have cancer; some will be nursing someone through cancer; and some will have absolutely no contact with cancer at all. But the thing is, that smiling, boisterous, goonish idiot is just me; it’s just how I am. And I’m darned if I’m going to hide it. Because, as far as I’m concerned, that back-to-normal stuff is what’s most important… not the stuff that came before it.
I’ll never get my head around finding myself in a position where folk are seemingly interested in what I have to say – it’s as weird to me as the initial diagnosis. And so it might not be everyone’s idea of responsible reporting but, to my mind, the most significant thing I can ever say (and want to say to anyone who may have Googled breast cancer in a panic and happened upon this blog) is this: please remember that there is an afterwards. And, if it’s anything like my afterwards, it’ll be everything you’d hope it could be: simple, and optimistic, and happy.