Have you ever wanted to be a part of something so badly that your fingers have moved faster than your brain? Written an acceptance without thinking of the personal implications or where it may lead you on to later on?
For me, this is that time.
I have been following a blog for a while now. It’s written by a woman who will tell you that she’s not brave, it’s just another dance on her pathway through life,
The blog is Bah To Cancer! And the book, Bah To Cancer! Has recently been published by Hay House.
My blog is a part of the blog tour for this interesting and inspiring book and I hope you find the questions I have asked Stephanie Butland (the author) to be interesting and relevant.
1: How did Bah! Become your mantra to live by?
By chance. My friend Jude sent me a card shortly after surgery and in it she wrote, “.. and BAH! to cancer” and I thought, yes, my thoughts exactly. Bah! is a word of disparagement, annoyance, but it’s not an end-of-the-world word. I thought it was a great way of keeping cancer in its place.
2: What made you turn your journey with cancer into a book when there were so many already written?
I suppose I was writing the book I couldn’t find: a book about real experience that was also helpful that was also empowering that was also practical that was also illuminating to the people around the person with cancer.
3: The Bah! Thinking Sections ..I see them as almost punctuation marks in the book, how did you come up with them?
I wrote a book with strong elements of thinking skills and mental approaches because that’s my professional background and I found it immensely helpful. I was so surprised that no-one talked to me about mental approach, apart from telling me to ‘be positive’. which is about as useful as telling someone to clean their kitchen by standing in the middle of it saying ‘no bugs’. Being positive needs practical thinking and practical action and the Bah! thinking sections are ways to lead readers through that.
4: Is the journey over? Cure or remission, what’s the difference?
I’ll technically be in remission in two more years from now. In my head I’ve considered myself cured from the moment I came round from surgery – there was no evidence of cancer away from the lump, so I’ve been humouring the medical profession since, really, with all of the ongoing treatment.
That said, when I found a lump recently I did immediately assume it was another cancer- it wasn’t until after the hospital confirmed that it was nothing that I realised that as I’d lost 8 kilos over the last couple of months, of course my breasts were going to feel different. So I suppose the fear is always there.
5: If you were diagnosed now and had this book, would you do anything differently?
I’d ask more questions. I’d fight for better pain relief when I needed it. I’d give myself permission to have off days.
6: Cancer changes everything. Did you knit yourself anything special during the bad times? Were you still able to knit and did anyone knit anything special for you during the “illness”?
Knitting came into its own during recovery and chemotherapy.My attention span was shot, I couldn’t concentrate, I had whole days where all I did was knit and the fact that I’d achieved something – even if it was only the cuff of a sock – really helped me. I knitted all of my chemotherapy hats from soft wools and silks – apart from the beautiful blue one that my friend Diane knitted for me. She’d very carefully chosen the colour to match my eyes.
7: Do you see yourself as somebody different now?
Yes and no. I feel as though cancer has boiled me down to my essence: that everything I am now I was before, but a lot of the stuff I was carrying around, psychologically and emotionally, has gone, and I’m the better for it. I didn’t realise how much I hated asking for help until I became ill; I didn’t understand how much I was driven by what others thought of me; I had no concept of how I was cramming too much into my life.
8: What’s next?
Well, I’ve written ‘Thrive: the Bah! Guide To Wellness After cancer’, and now I’m working on a novel, in which no-one has cancer at all!
Thank you, Stephanie, for allowing me to be a part of it, for leading me onto a new journey of my own and for a well written book which is always a pleasure. Hugs and Bah! Cx