Charlotte Kitley

Living life with love, laughter and Stage 4 Bowel Cancer

I'm 35, a slummy mummy of two gorgeous kiddies aged 3 and 5, owner of a disobedient black Labrador and wife of a very understanding and patient husband. I (allegedly) listen to too much Take That, can whip up a mean cup cake and am a hopeless, though wildly enthusiastic, dancer.

In 2012, life took an unexpected twist and, rather inconveniently, I was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer. Following my diagnosis, I’ve had a few operations, 25 rounds of radiotherapy and more than 30 rounds of chemotherapy. Although medically I now fall into the ‘control not cure’ group of cancer patients, I’m determined to live as normal and full life as possible.

And so I have been getting busy living; learning new and random skills such as balloon modelling, fishing, chocolate making and soon, learning to fly a helicopter. I’ve enjoyed precious moments including teaching my son to ski and watching my daughter meet her heroine, Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

I am regularly getting into trouble with my doctors for doing too much. This year I’ve been skiing, snorkelling, cycling, hiking, kayaking, sailing, swimming with dolphins and completing a 5km charity walk the day after being unhooked from my chemo machine (I needed an extra-long lie down that day!).
Whatever I get up to, there is always a smile on my face and a disaster usually lurking around the corner. But, with laughter and love, we’ve got through most things – even my colostomy bag exploding in the middle of WH Smiths (yes, really!) before boarding a flight didn’t dampen my spirits.

Life is for living and I’m loving mine (well, would rather not be spending quite so much time in hospital!). I’m here to inspire others who have been ‘written off’ and encourage them that you should never give up on living your life. You can read about my adventures at www.lifeasasemicolon.com
And So There Must Come an

And So There Must Come an End

As you read this, I will no longer be here. So, in my absence, please, please, enjoy life. Take it by both hands, grab it, shake it and believe in every second of it. Embrace your loved one and if they cannot embrace you back, find someone who will. Everyone deserves to love and be loved in return.
17/09/2014 17:27 BST
So What Should Cancer Look

So What Should Cancer Look Like?!

'But you look so well!' It was a shocked response I have become used too. If the illness of a person is judged on their appearance, then I generally haven't fitted the criteria. It doesn't matter that I have incurable cancer, to many people, there is almost a sense of disappointment that I don't look like I'm on my death bed.
29/05/2014 17:09 BST
We Need to

We Need to Talk...

Many assume I must be angry to be facing a premature death, questioning why did this have to happen to me? I am not angry, it's not a case of why me, but why not me? Cancer is often indiscriminate. I didn't smoke, take drugs or drink excessively. Yet I still have it in my lungs and liver.
13/03/2014 17:16 GMT
Why We Must Support the Saatchi Medical Innovation

Why We Must Support the Saatchi Medical Innovation Bill

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.
24/02/2014 09:01 GMT
Bowel Cancer Is No Longer Discriminating Against Age, So Why Do

Bowel Cancer Is No Longer Discriminating Against Age, So Why Do We?

I am regularly the youngest patient on my ward, often by a good 30 years, frequently mistaken for a daughter, even a grand-daughter. This was commented upon by a radiotherapist during my five weeks of radiotherapy who welcomed me into the room with 'well, it does make a pleasant change to have a young, pert bottom to manoeuvre on to the bed!'
12/11/2013 11:31 GMT
Palliative Care Shouldn't Mean the End of

Palliative Care Shouldn't Mean the End of Living

Being on palliative care shouldn't mean being written off by the medical profession, destined to become another statistic. Life is precious, regardless of how long or short, and should be used not only to make the most of here and now, but also to make a difference for the future.
20/10/2013 21:59 BST