It's every mother's greatest fear that she will have to leave her children. My daughter Kate Gross lived with that fear for more than two years, before she died of colon cancer a few weeks ago. I wish she was here now so I could tell her that the boys are getting on just fine. Oscar and Isaac were three when Kate was first diagnosed. Twins, but very different little beings. Oscar dark-haired, violet-eyed, solid - and with an astonishing ability (in Kate's words) to 'focus on things, to know them utterly'. Isaac, blond and agile and restless. 'Each of them,' she says, 'carved out his own space in my heart, a space which fits him exactly.'
Like no doubt others before and after her will make very personal and difficult choices, I get the impression Lynda Bellingham managed to make peace with cancer and herself. Perhaps we need peace to make truly positive life changing and life enhancing choices, especially when they are about our death.
I am going to be upfront about this. Cancer is a great way to weed out the duffs. To sift the men from the boys. It really reveals what type of partner you have and the true nature of your relationship. Granted, it might be a little radical as a strategy of choice. But as I had always been a bit of a beacon for dysfunctional men, I am more than a little happy with my experiment!
At times, I confess to feeling more than a little guilty; Guilty for surviving when so many others who were diagnosed after me, and who were younger than I, have since died. Guilty for going on about the cancer long after the drama of treatment has finished. Guilty for not always remembering to be thankful and seize the day. And guilty for all the trouble and worry I put my loved ones through.
This is why the Saatchi Medical Innovation Bill is so important. This bill will give doctors the opportunity to consider new drugs or techniques that could go on to save the lives of people like me. People who at the moment are written off as incurable, where the best I am offered is a comfortable quality of (shortened) life.
Office workers take note, sitting down for long periods of time can increase your risk of developing breast and colon cancer, according to a series of...