Concerning Cancer and myself

Posted by admin on Mar 27, 2011 in opinion |

Today some of you may have noticed my face beaming up from Fabulous Magazine as I revealed to the world my battle with cancer over the last year. In March 2010 I was diagnosed with cancer, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stage 3 to be precise. I sported a strange egg shaped lump in my neck and started a six month chemotherapy treatment plan around June. It was a gruelling time, and I was under major strain.

I told a few friends about my illness but for the most part kept my treatment and health a secret from the wide world in general. There were numerous reasons for this, from wanting to be treated like a normal person by colleagues to not wanting to lose out on work as a freelancer. I finished treatment in December and so far the prognosis is good.

I decided to come out about my cancer and its effect on my life in order to help people with the disease and chose a public forum to do so as I felt Fabulous would reach more people than just a post on my blog. I’m quite a private person, so this was a difficult decision (I may in fact remove this post at some point) but really wanted to show people who get diagnosed with my disease that life doesn’t have to be put on hold.

Sure, it was no walk in the park and I regularly felt like death on the bad weeks, but on the good weeks I sported heels, mini-dresses and rode my pink scooter round town– because why the hell not? I may have turned into a lightweight drinker and my lovely head of hair might be a hairpiece provided by the Denise Le Bar salon  (note; the staff there have now opened a new salon called True You Hair – recommend them 100 times over) but I still managed to attend posh events, hang out with celebrities (mostly B and C listers) and generally give the overall impression of good health. Heck, I even got complimented on my skin, despite not being allowed to have facials!

Earlier this year I watched The Big C,  an award winning comedy series which is based around the life of a woman (actress Laura Linney) recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. Though this wasn’t exactly what I was dealing with, I really related to the show.  Can cancer be funny- and should it be? Many people think that this is a serious subject that should be faced with gravity and decorum, and Laura’s character Cathy Jamison refused to conform to this stereotype. It’s a lifestyle choice that echoes deeply within me, as this is just how I chose to conduct myself during my cancer battle.

Cathy Jamison takes the news of cancer as an awakening, a realization of how short her time is, and makes the decision to keep quiet about her disease for a while and enjoy some normal time with her friends and family. This was the route I took after my diagnosis, as I was finding it hard enough to come to terms with my cancer, let alone encourage anyone else to vent their feeling about it. Linney’s portrayal of Cathy Jamison as the happy cancer sufferer doesn’t need to be fiction; I’m living proof that coping with cancer can be done in style. Though she won’t (I’m guessing, we haven’t had season 2 yet) have a positive outcome, I did, and I feel very thankful; and grateful. I want to share my story to let people know life can still go on- even during treatment- and hope my tale might help others in some small way.

Hodgkins lymphoma: The facts
-Hodgkin’s is cancer of the lymph nodes, commonly found in the neck, under the arms, chest, and groin.
-1 in 5 of all lymphomas diagnosed in the UK are Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
-Dexter star Michael C. Hall recently had this type of cancer- and beat it!

Find out more on the MacMillan website.


23rd April 2o11: I’m now in full on remission, with the latest scans being completely clear. I will continue to see doctors every 3 months/6 months etc, but have been told I don’t even need more scans (yay, not more needles)  and will just be checked (a.k.a medically felt up) for the next few years.

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peta bowley
Apr 13, 2011 at 7:46 pm

please can you tell me where you got your wig from as i have breast cancer and start my treatment soon

devestated peta x

Apr 13, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Thank you for sharing your personal story. This as been immensely helpful. It’s great to hear that you are on the road of recovery may it stay that way!

Apr 15, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Thank you Melissa for those words, fingers crossed everything goes well.

@Peta The hairpiece came from The DeniseLeBar salon in Farringdon, where they custom fit it to your head and colour match it to your hair. The lovely Michelle from DeniseLeBar also informed me that you would be welcome to check out and if it’s a man that’s affected they can go to

They are really lovely there, they even cover the mirror if you don’t want to look! Best of luck with your treatment.

Hodgkin's Warrior
May 23, 2011 at 12:08 am

We used to take chemo on the same horrible tuesdays, never knew you were in the spotlight. Though my friend and I wanted to chit chat but you seemed withdrawn (don’t blame you). I had Hodgkins but stage 4. Thankfully in full remission and just getting back to life again. Always wondered if you and other familiar faces were in remission. Really glad to know that you’re doing well!

P.s. You always looked fabulous on chemo tuesdays.

May 23, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Hi! Thank you for your words. I hope you’re doing well now too. I was very grumpy on those days, so probably wouldn’t have been very receptive, but with some space now I feel a lot more positive. Used to dread those Tuesdays.. and the days after! Lots of love and care x Zara



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