Through the cabin window, the earth blends with the sky in a haze of pinks, purples and reds. I am flying back into London. This last week - a week...
This is what I call the hierarchy of suffering and I want to challenge it. It's a way of thinking that says because I have this cancer, my suffering trumps yours. My friend did not call to tell me about her accident because, in her mind, her suffering is lower down in this pyramid. She is not worthy of my sympathy.
But if I can make it through all the other days in the year without my mum then why is this one random Sunday any different? Mother's Day is just another day on the calendar isn't it? But somehow, it's not. For me, there are three main reasons why it's such a difficult time of year:
At 17, I thought I was just a healthy average teenager, I ate well, exercised a lot and generally took care of my body. I was never ill other than catching a cold. But that changed when my skin started to become very itchy, and I developed rashes that wouldn't go away.
The Facebook algorithm in my feed has obviously clocked my line of work, so I get sponsored posts served up to me every now and then that promise miracle, and utterly implausible, cancer cures. They are slickly professional and they look frighteningly legitimate.
Think of a tumour like a rapidly growing city within a patient's body. Doctors can scan the patient to locate the tumour, much like a satellite can scan the earth and map its cities. And scientists can get a sense of the tumour at 'street level' by looking at its communities of cells through tissue samples and gene-sequencing technology.
"Help", I thought to myself, I need to un-hear what I am being told. I'm sat opposite the specialist and he is telling me I have kidney cancer. Not what I thought would happen to a fit forty something. Yet, there I was being told it needed to come out, as soon as possible. Then a year and a day later I lost my husband to the same awful disease.
Back in March of 2016 I was 40 years old, very overweight (7 stone to be precise as I've heard that sharing personal details makes my story speak to people) and totally inactive. Then the bombshell hit that my step-mum, Hilary, had been diagnosed with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer.
Running is not my thing, school runs is the only running I do. Gyms do not appeal to me either. I dusted the old water rower but found I can't get any enjoyment rowing in my living room surrounded by piles of laundry and lego blocks.
The 8th March marks International Women's Day, and I've been thinking about the different ways that women support each other during difficult times. I think back to how I drew strength from the women around me when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer.
Eight years ago, I had a double mastectomy when I was just 35 years old. Four years later, I had my ovaries and fallopian tubes removed. Yet I hadn't had a cancer diagnosis, or even signs or symptoms. This was purely an act of prevention.
The bitter memories of my mother's struggle to find pleasure in food during treatment have stayed with me ever since. I knew I wanted to do something for other people in her situation, and so Life Kitchen will offer cookery classes for people living with cancer, and their families, focusing on taste, flavour and nutrition.
A medical concierge service is often wrongly perceived as a product for the rich and the elite, but when a member of your family or a close friend receives a devastating diagnosis, you need answers, quickly and at an accessible cost, which is something we are now able to provide.
How do you comfort someone whose world is in the process of spinning off its axis? You want to be supportive but when you open your mouth you realise you have NO IDEA what to say so just blurt something out and hope for the best but worry the whole drive home that you offended them.
Having the cancer label hanging over one's head means that, little by little, you are denied the very intimacy that you are seeking. People start squirming when you hug them, they discreetly sit away from you, they recoil when you touch them or kiss them, as if cancer were contagious.
Surprisingly, in this age of having instant access to a wealth of information on virtually any topic and despite the widespread cancer awareness campaigns, many people are still unaware of the facts and consequences of cancer treatment.