February 2009: I'm 23 and about to embark on the most incredible journey of my life. I have been diagnosed with metastatic breast kancer, which means that not only did cancer claim my boob, it also found a home on my spine. If you and I believe the statistics, it ain't looking good for me. So, it's a good job I'm not going to be another stat. I'm turning to the world of blogging to share this bad ass adventure with everyone who wants to join me. 

December 2010: I'm 25 and still embarking on the most incredible journey of my life. The stats are still against me, but I'm still determined to beat them. I am now the CEO and founder of CoppaFeel! which is saving lives by telling the young people of Britain to start checking their boobs from a young age. One day we WILL live in a world where no one dies of breast cancer due to late detection. Join me in making it happen! Because then I can rest and have a long holiday, and sip mojitos, and do nothing, and stare at pretty clouds...

September 2012: I'm going to be 27 soon. I'm still very much here and very much rocking the C word. It now resides in my liver too. 

Boob Love, peas and carrots

~ Kris                               


                           

Sunday
Sep012013

I'VE MOVED!

And by that I mean this blog HAS MOVED. 

It was time for me to jump to tumblr! Sorry squarespace, nothing personal.

So PLEASE head over to:

>>>>>>>>> http://boobchiefkris.tumblr.com/ <<<<<<<<<

and subscribe to my new blog. More cancer gossip than you can shake a needle at. 

And I may actually be better at writing it more often....lucky old you!

Thanks for continuing to read X

 

 

 

Wednesday
Jun122013

Monday
May202013

A treehouse and an epic festival

Sup y'all! 

How are we? I hope splendid. 

I am well, very well in fact. I just managed to escpae to France for a week and stayed in a treehouse, A TREEHOUSE I TELL YOU. It was amazing and fulfilled the dream I'd had ever since I stepped foot in the Swiss Family Robinson house at Disneyland Paris when I was 8. If it was on my bucket list (which I don't have, for your info) Id' tick it off with the sparkliest tick in the world. That stuff should be bottled up and given as medicine. 

Me, loving my house in a tree.

But now I am back and I am beavering away at making FESTIFEEL another epic day in the life of you, and hundreds of others. So please come? Because it'll be a hoot. And we have a bloody brilliant line up thanks to Fearne - who has been helping whilst on her maternty leave, THAT'S how much she loves boobs my friends. 

Come and dance dance party party! Tickets can be purchased here (and if you get them before this friday, 24th May 5pm, you'll be entered into a draw to win tickets to see Tom Odell who is the nuts!):

http://bit.ly/12dMwQS

Right, I have a gigantor mountain of emails to contend with. Adios!

 

 

Sunday
Apr212013

The wonderful Fran.

Fran would HATE me for posting this photo.

This was the first time I met Francesca Marvell (Francesca Pattison at the time), on a photo shoot for Real People magazine in 2009. It was featuring four women who had had cancer of varying types who had benefitted from the charity 'Look Good Feel Better' (I hadn't actually used the charity but I saw it as a great op to plug CoppaFeel! - I do love LGFB though!). Of the 4 people that were on the shoot, 2 have since died. Fran is one of them. I got the sad news 2 weeks ago that Fran had passed away, with the love of her life by her side, at a Marie Curie hospice. I knew the day was imminent because she'd text me to say she was ready to go. And not long before that we had a pretty surreal conversation about dying and legacies - a conversation a 27 year old and 33 year old shouldn't have been having but made me love and respect Fran all the more, and I knew it would be a conversation I'd never forget.

Whilst going through veritable chemo and brain surgery hell, she came with me to hold MY hand when I had my mask fitted for my brain radiotherapy last year. She was gem of the shiniest variety, someone who taught me SO much without trying. Even when she was at the hospice, in her final days she reassured me that I was nowhere near the same time yet, she wrote: "Body is saying it might be time soon and I'm not arguing. But YOU? No. Not at all. Nowhere near. 4yrs down and only one lot of chemo? Pfft. :)" ....'Survivors guilt' isn't just reserved for soldiers who survive the war, ya know.

It was almost a year ago that Fran and I attended Ellie's funeral together. She had been through loads of chemotherapies that weren't doing a whole heap of good. She was already getting fed up at that stage but tried everything she was offered until enough was enough. It was after Ellie's death that she and Andy decided to run to Gretna Green to get hitched as she feared that she might not make it, for whatever reason, to September. I didn't see her again after that, but I could sense in her voice/texts/blogs that she was quite possibly the happiest girl on the planet to have married the man she adored SO much.

I followed her blog religiously. She basically said everything I am too afraid/am not able to say given my position as CEO of a charity - and that may sound silly, but I can't and won't have people supporting CoppaFeel! out of pity for me, so I try to minimise the chance of that happening as much as possible. So it was through Fran's words, thoughts, realisations and learnings that I found huge strength and clarity too. I absolutey strive to be in the headspace she was in when THAT time comes - and I know, we are miles upon miles from that right now before you get all tetchy on me. 

I went to Fran's funeral on Thursday. As she said she would, she'd planned everything. And it was beautiful and perfect. I could sense her telling us all to stop crying and be happy and I tried SO hard, but it was the absolute heart ache in her friends face's that broke me. The pain was immeasurable. Much like I did at Ellie's funeral I couldn't help but picture my friends and family in that very position. I couldn't help but think about what the minsiter would be saying about me, what readings my friends would be saying, what flowers would be on top of my coffin. As much as I didn't want to be thinking about these things, it was good to be less afraid of these thoughts too. The more me square up to our fears, the less scary they become. Why should we be afraid of these thoughts anyway? It's better/healthier/easier to deal with some things now, while we can, while we have control - and that is definitely something that has rubbed off on me from Fran. For example, when she knew the cancer was practically everywhere and there'd be no more treatments, she took to facebook and got her friends to post pictures, recent and from years ago, so she could have a good laugh and fill her mind full of awesome memories. She didn't want people to do this when she died as she woudn't be there to join in! She wouldn't be there to hear the nice/cringe/funny things people would remember about her. And this way, she did. I mean, how brilliant is that? 

Fran made me promise that there'd be nothing tragic about her death, her penultimate text to me said: "no 'tragic' when I've popped off right?" Absolutely 10000% flippin' right Fran. You have navigated your life through cancer with so much grace, and then you went and made dying as easy, albeit sad, for everyone as you could. 

After my friend Lisa died last month (yes, there's a theme here and it STOPS RIGHT NOW PLEASE) Fran text me to say 'Just a hug and hand hold' which is all you can do really, can't you? So even if you, reading this, are not sad, or happy, or anything right now, find that one you cherish and hug and hand hold like you've never done before. 

And Fran, Lisa and Ellie, wherever the heck you might be at the moment, keep the party going till I get there, whenever that might be. 

I'll leave you with the song Fran chose as her last song at her funeral. And some wise words by the lady herself, too.

“Live on, be fabulous and gorgeous and never ever let anyone tell you you can’t do anything you want to do, ever. It is all there for you and I will be watching from afar, willing you on”. Fran.

Sunday
Apr212013

So, this is why we do what we do...

Thanks to Penny for sharing this STORY.

 

 

Sunday
Apr212013

Thanks to Casual Films and their Casual Academy for this!

Sunday
Apr072013

An overdue lowdown...

I have been moved to write a new post for a few reasons, but the top 3 are:

  1. Mel, a blog reader that I don’t actually know, wrote to me wondering how I am (which is lovely) so in case there are more Mel’s wondering the same thing, I thought I’d better update you. More on that shortly.  
  2. I was in Cornwall last week and a lady in a cafe.. in a woods.. recognised me from this blog - yup, totally baffles me too - so it made me think I should probably write again.
  3. A LOT has been happening in my life and I wanna share the love.

Disclaimer: I make this mistake often. I wait for a while to write, have so much to say that I feel totally overwhelmed by it all, and end up not writing for ages. So I don’t know how this is going to go, but let’s see...

Most pressingly, I am doing well. Today I am well. I am finding myself saying that a lot more recently. The ‘How are you?’ question has been so overloaded in recent weeks, the only answer to it is to say I am well today. I am hoping I will be tomorrow and the day after that but what matters is today. Scans are still stable and in fact a lovely registrar called most of my tumours “asleep”. As he said the words I can remember thinking ‘Would you mind saying that a little quieter as to not awaken them, please?’ My appointments are FUN.

I had a big article in the Independent published a couple of weeks ago. It had an amazing response and I’ve heard from people all over the globe. I guess because I have done so many interviews and had my story in quite a few publications it’s all pretty blase to me now. The story is my life, but to me kinda mundane. To me it’s verging on dull, to others it’s amazing, inspirational, it resonates, it’s tragic and sad. The latter 2 make me chuckle the most though. If I or CoppaFeel! appear on the Mail online I tend to not read the comments any more. But the Independent article comments are a new breed to me. I am still trying to fathom how my story turned into a feminst / equality debate and found it really amusing seeing the words ‘Tragic and sad’ under an article that should really only make you think:

‘Balls, I should probably check my boobs, oh and then maybe stop taking my life for granted’. 

My life is far, like a ridiculous dstance, from being tragic and sad and it’s almost offensive to read words like these. Like the article suggests, I am no stranger to head tilts and pity eyes, I am very used to that response. And I’d be less offended if I hadn’t tried for the last 4 years to try and lead my life anything but happily. But the thing is I have, and I’d say I’d done a ruddy good job of it too. My primary mission since being diagnosed has been to get you to check your boobs, secondary to that I have tried to make a secondary cancer diagnosis something far less scary than it sounds. For it to then be called tragic makes me want to hit my head against a brick wall repeatedly. You might be surprised to hear that my biggest fear isn’t dying of this stupid disease, it’s being known as “the poor cancer girl who battled cancer for X number of years and tragically lost said battle” That, to you, might seem irrelevant because once you’re gone you wouldn’t know how you and your death was perceived, but I can assure you, to me, it is important, vital, and pretty much navigates everything I do. And that’s bloody scary. You see, I am currently not battling, fighting, clinging on to life. The time might/will come when I have to put on my game face and deal with what cancer has in store for me, but right now I am happy and healthy. It is possible to live and not battle 100% of the time, it is, I am proof of that. Please don’t let me catch you using these words again please. Look at your own life instead perhaps.

What followed these words to the Independent article was an even more amusing radio interview later that day. I have never had to shake myself off after an interview before - or down port. Can I just say that I was really happy with the tone of the Indie article, Terri Judd who interviewed me had done her research before she came to see me (which is rare) and we had a great chat. She did my story justice and created a lovely piece. I was then a bit confused to hear how the radio presenter turned it into a story of despair and sadness and referred only to the shock and awe bits. He asked me to list the places where my cancer was in my body, which I did, and after reeling off my grand old list I, to avoid people clutching their chests in horror, added that it probably sounded way worse than it actually is. The presenter interrupted saying ‘It doesn’t sound awful, it IS AWFUL’. Hmmm. Now, surely that’s for me to proclaim? At some stage he used the P word too (prognosis in case you’re new to this blog) when, quite clearly in the article it states that I DO NOT CONTEMPLATE THE P WORD. The P word can DO ONE. The thing is, I was feeling pretty perky before I’d answered the phone. But after, not so much. Which is why I had to shake myself off and breathe and smile (and drink port). I also couldn’t work out how someone reading a fairly uplifting story about me and my life had managed to twist it, speak to me about it as if it was someone else, and make me feel depressed about it. I was puzzled for a second. I told myself this is all for the greater good. 

Anyway, shall I talk about some jolly stuff?

In February I celebrated my 4 year kancerversary. It was THE BEST. When I say ‘celebrated’ I mean we PAR-TAYED. I was surrounded by my favourite people (bah a few special ones who couldn’t make it). We danced, we did a few tears, and we danced some more. I couldn’t move the next day but it was oh so worth it. Twin features created this little film as a surprise which killed me and then produced the best trophy in the world! She’s pretty clever, I like her a lot.

We’ve finished the BBC3 documentary! It’s been exhausting, emotional, THE most stressful time of my life, brilliant and special. It was therapeutic at times, which surprised me. I am SO excited for you to see it (I don't know when, before you ask). I really am. But I’ll be hiding behind a pillow somewhere...

 

We pretty much owned the Bath Half. 200 hooters plus Dermot and Greg. What more could you ask for? Oh, I know, raising £56,000. Niiiiice.

iCoppaFeel!...do you? It’s our new app! Our pal Paul (v brainy, super clever, pretty nice too) of Behaviour and his friends at Open Shadow have worked flippin hard because they too LOVE BOOBS...I mean, they love what we do and really REALLY wanted to help us save lives. As do Cosmo who helped us get the app out there with the help of some puppies....

And lastly and most epicly in my books, #RETHINKCANCER has LANDED. And when I say landed, I also mean projected. Onto the Houses of Parliament. Because that..is..how..we..roll. I would love it if you hopped a long to www.rethinkcancer.com and added your voice to it - signing the petition would be marvellous! You’ll see it all come to life in the documentary but right now I am meeting people, having important conversations, scratching my head about others attitudes to something so simple, listening to young people and teachers. This isn’t a big ask, cancer can and should be taught in schools. SIMPLE AS THAT.

 

Right now I am also making sure FESTIFEEL 2013 is going to be another corker. Amongst other things. Lotsa plates spin spin spinning....

Over n' out x