Lisa Lynch, magazine editor from the Midlands who had just married her boyfriend Pete, was 28 -years-old when found out she had breast cancer. In her outrage and disbelief, she wrote a blog, Alright Tit, about her experience of the disease. The blog found a massive following and was adapted into a book, which the BBC has made into a 90-minute film. The blogger and author was also involved in choosing Sheridan Smith to play her shortly before she died in 2013 aged just 33.
Here are two extracts from Lynch’s ballsy, frank and moving book, The C-Word:
“I don’t want to be told that losing my hair will give me extra time in bed in the morning when I’d otherwise have been blow-drying, or that buying a range of wigs will give me the chance to try out different personalities in the bedroom (both of which I read in an ‘uplifting compilation of quotes’ from breast cancer survivors).
“Nor do I want to give anyone else that impression. It’s irresponsible and, frankly, it’s complete crap — even before I’d experienced any of the things they were talking about, I knew that wasn’t how it was going to be. I’d have given up all the lie-ins in the world to keep my lovely locks. And not only do chemo drugs starve you of a sex life, but breast cancer treatment hardly does wonders for your body image either. (I don’t recall seeing a 20-something lass with a bald head and a missing boob on FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women list.)
“So stuff the clichéd, just-not-f***ing-funny cancer quips (‘think of all the money/time/ effort you’ll save on mascara/your hair/shaving your legs’), the saccharine, truth-masking ‘information’ sheets and the earnest, life- improving self-help books. It’s time someone told it how it really is.”
“People keep telling me that I needn’t keep ‘being brave’ and that I ‘don’t have to feel positive all the time’ (get ‘brave’ and ‘positive’ on my most hated list IMMEDIATELY). They say whenever I want to let it all out or get really angry or have a good cry, I can talk to them. And it’s good of them to say so.
“But let me say this for the record: I am not consciously being anything. I will never want to have a good cry or rant or whinge. Those things happen spontaneously: trying on pyjamas in Marks & Spencer, watering the garden, stirring my tea, blowing out a candle before I go to bed. At the moment, every reaction is spontaneous (hence a poor teenage shop assistant getting both barrels in Dixons recently).
“In fact, this is the first f***ing time in my whole life when I’ve stopped giving a s**t about how I’m being, the way I’m acting or how I’m coming across to other people. Again: I am not trying to be anything. I’m just getting on with it.
“None of these words, today or any other day, is for your benefit. I’m not ‘being brave’ to make you feel better. Repeat: I. Am. Not. Being. Brave. You needn’t be concerned about how I’m coping. There is no ‘how’ here. I’m just coping. There’s no good or bad way to do it. You’d cope too.”
Kasia is a TV, film and arts journalist who writes news, feautures and comment. She spends a lot of time feeling nostalgic about 90s American films and working her way back through the Desert Island Discs archive.