About Me

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I'm Carole, living in London, happily married and mum to two amazing boys.I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Rectal Cancer in April 2010. Surgery took place in November 2010 and I now have a permanent colostomy...Spinal mets were then diagnosed in October 2011...In January 2012 I was told of further spread to the hip area (multiple lesions)..My life expectancy is now 6-9 months. Walk alongside me on the last part of my experience with this..

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Friendships and Cyber Life....

Some times things happen for a reason I guess...this will be explained in a bit.

On Tuesday night I was lying in bed awake for hours just thinking really. Not about me, or the operation, or the stoma or even the cancer - I was thinking about people on a forum and people who's blogs I read or who read mine...
People who are struggling sometimes to get on top of things but always find the time to help someone else...

I found myself thinking about cyber life and how we 'meet' people who make a difference in our lives and how certain people become friends - real friends, just distant ones.

So as I lay there and thought about so many individual people on the forum who go there mostly to help other people - sometimes they even need reminding to update their own threads (ooops! I'm guilty of that at times - I update here and forget about my thread on there)

Tony - continuing his fight after not being free of it for anywhere near long enough. Always on the forum trying to put someone's mind at rest or offer a shoulder. Always there for me whenever I feel I'm going to have a meltdown
Rose - so brave that she avoids saying how terrible she's feeling and still logs on to help other people as often as she can
David - struggling with his treatment but great at seeking out the good days and letting us know about them
Shents - beat the demon and still thinks about others, helping and advising and showing people that it's not necessarily the end of the road
Anne - so supportive to others despite her worries about her own family member.
Graham - been through the mill since retiring for a more laid back and relaxed lifestyle...despite his recent major surgery he's always there for other people, always offers upbeat and positive advice
Fiona - who's been battling to get answers and is unaware of what's next - hard to remain upbeat when you have no definite care plan in place - as yet....but she does remain positive and supportive to others despite her own frustrations
Jadziadax - such a massive support to anyone needing answers for Prostrate cancer - battling the authorities and the system to ensure her dad receives the best care possible - and yet always there for anyone who finds themselves with a diagnosis.
Jolamine - treated so poorly by the NHS up to now - has had to fight weekly to receive basic information and cannot move forward until she gets answers - but still logs on regularly to offer help to other people who are recently diagnosed, frightened and unsure.
Kev - dealing with his own grief after losing his wife but despite his obvious pain has been trying to support other members who have recently lost their partners.

I laid there for hours thinking about these people and also bloggers too....(Steve, Lisa, Chez, Alli, Rose Mary, Paula...and others too numerous to mention).., . I found myself thinking about the friendships that are built online with people who give of themselves when their own problems could easily just take over.
I thought about how what happens to them affects me and others who have formed friendships with them on-line...how when someone is having a scan/test/waiting for a result we are there waiting with them, hoping for the best and dreading the worst.

Then last night I was reading Rose Mary's blog and she had linked a post from a lady called Nancy....When I read Nancy's post it just clicked and I realised that as bloggers we do all form friendships and they are real friendships - just not physical ones.
Many of us will never meet, will never hug or even shake hands - but friendship is not about proximity.

Read Nancy's post here:


  1. What a lovely post, Carole. And you're so right. (Nancy hits the nail on the head too) I have been amazed by my cyber friendships. I truly think about you and my fellow bloggers every day, and was just saying to my husband after you'd commented on my last post - 'y'know - next time I'm in London (which isn't very often,) I'd really like to knock on Carole's door and have a cuppa with her...'

    'Cancer Chat' was such a huge part of my life for a while, and I still visit, but life in 'normality' has made it hard for me to get time to give the support on there that I know I could give. I suppose to make things more manageable I have singled out the 'Blogging Four' - You, Tony, Rose and David. I feel a real friendship and bond towards you all.

    Even my dear dad reads your blogs and he asks me about you all. 'How's Tony doing?' 'Is Carole home from hospital yet?' etc. Its like you're all characters from a soap, or a Radio 4 drama series, but you're not - you're real!

    Cancer is many things. Yes, I hate it - all the things that it takes away from us. But I never cease to be amazed when I look at all the things it can add....

    Bless you Carole - and all you fellow Bloggers and cyber pals out there.

    Shents xxxx

  2. Thank you Carole for the acknowledgement to all those who make a difference in our lives.
    My strength comes from my 'dream' team.
    My love and gratitude to you for your presence in my life.

  3. Carole, you really struck a nerve with this post. I'd been thinking about how much I appreciated and had come to rely on my growing friendship with you and Fiona. Commenting on your blogs before my surgery was a new and tentative step for me. I was scared of the unknown and reached out to the blogging community for solace and support, something I've never done before. When I ran across your blog and saw you were a bundle of nerves before your surgery I took a chance and left a comment. I could relate. I'm so glad I did. Getting to know you and Fiona has been all that I needed and more.

    That's the beauty of your post. It resonates truth, understanding, compassion, appreciation and love. I have found a safe place to be me. I have found a path to a better me. I've been thinking recently that I need to comment on Tony's blog and show him my dad's two Harley motorcycles. I'm getting to know Tony because I'm getting to know your friends. I want to take that next step and begin sharing in their journey as well.

    I have a neighbor who is desperate to loose weight but can't seem to get it done. As I was driving home from work the other night, it occurred to me that what he needs is a group like what we have here. He would reap the support he craves while immersing himself in helping others. It's a win, win. I want to write a post for him, and help him see what we've discovered and what you've expressed so well here.

    As for Nancy's post, it needs a larger audience. I hope to add what few readers I have to the crowd. She's really written something special.

    Thanks for the mutual friendship, Carole. You're good people. xxxx

  4. I met up with a few of the "gang" on a thread I started on the Macmillan forum over 4 years ago. We called ourselves Bum Bandits - since we were fighting problems up our arses!

    We've met at different Beating Bowel Cancer or CRUK events and hung out in Selfridges Moet Bar on Oxford Street. A couple stayed with me the weekend after Bec died, she should have been coming too, but it felt right to be together still.

    I now count these people amongst my closest friends because they can understand anything I'm feeling that's slightly related to cancer. We may not live close - but distance is irrelevant for friendship.

    On my way home today, I thought "I must update my blog and let everyone know the good news". After I'd let my kids know of course.

    Online friends have the advantage of not dropping by or calling you when you're knackered and not up to being sociable - but there's usually one or two about when you need a shoulder, support or some advice ;o)

    I'm guessing from your post you're not feeling so bad lately?

  5. Lovely post Carole and so true.There is always a positive if we look for it( sound like Pollyanna there)and you folk are certainly the positives on my journeyAs I have said before some people touch your lives and some touch your heart.

  6. Thank you all for the comments and I'm glad to see that we are all on the same page :-)

    Rose, you're right about looking for the positives, they ARE there although sometimes we lose sight of them for a time. As Shents said it's about hating the cancer but embracing what it brings into your life.

    Lisa - I'm not feeling as bad, each week is a bit easier. Just want this damn wound to heal so I can get on with things more!

    It's great that you met up with the others and I know they've been a huge support and become good friends...
    I've read your good news post and pleased to hear you sounding so upbeat again :-) xxx

    Chez - lovely lady, concentrate on feeling better and know that many are always there for you - as you are for them xxx

  7. Shents - you'd be welcome for a cuppa any time.
    For a Southerner I do manage to make a decent cup of tea :-)

    I'm so touched that your Dad reads my blog too...I can say now that I have a famous Jazz band follower :-)
    And although I laughed at your analogy of 'Radio 4' it actually *is* like that at times.
    You tune in to see what the characters are up to and become involved in their 'lives' (although ours are 'real' lives of course rather than scripted)

    Yes cancer's a bitch but it's also the cause of many new friendships.
    For that, (and probably *only* for that) I thank it :-)

  8. Steve,
    James told me about your first comment as I was in hospital then. I remember him saying that you were in the US and due soon for your surgery. We remarked at the time that hopefully me being ahead in the scheme of things would help you, or at least show you that I survived :-))

    You're right Steve, the blogging community is a safe place to be you, a safe place to talk about things that are sometimes difficult in real life

    Without a doubt I know that my family have found it easier to read sometimes then hear me say it out-loud.
    So yes, safety and reassurance from people who really do 'get' it - the highs and the lows.

    You definitely should stop by Tony's blog...He'll totally love the pics I'm sure :-)

  9. Oh my, I was lost today a little...Fran at work, severe side affects...feeling sad looking at my little girl as she is growing so fast...not wanting to leave her behind anytime soon...

    Sometimes, just sometimes I don't want reminding so I resist logging in to the blogs and cancer chat sites...I haven't looked for most of the day and then I come across these lovely blogs...

    Now here's the thing...

    We all don't feel happy at the same time, we all don't feel sad at the same time, some of us are up and some of us are down. This support group was not set up by the NHS or supported by a government fund or advertised for in a doctors surgery (not that there is anything wrong with ones that are)...this group found each other when we all needed each other the most...we are organic as far as we move around each other lending a shoulder...we found each other and people continue to join.

    Carole, you, you, you, I can almost hear the Rocky theme in your ears as you improve day by day. War still not over and a few loose ends and tears to come but this battle is almost won!


    Much Love to the 'Cybermen'

    T xx

  10. Tony,

    You know if you feel lost at home when everyone is out you can always ring me...anytime.

    We need to aim for organising that meet-up we were discussing recently with us and the others. Something to look forward to in the Spring maybe.

    As for the battle being won, I don't think I'll ever truly believe that - well not for another 4 yrs, 9 months, 3 weeks and 4 days anyway!
    That's not to say I'm being negative, just realistic.

    Big hugs and you know where I am xxxx

  11. Hi Carole, Reading your post brought tears to my eyes and then when I saw you had mentioned ME in it, I was dismayed and honored. Thank you. It's funny, that post was so hard for me to post because I thought people might take it the wrong way. Ultimately I decided it didn't matter, it expressed how I felt. Now it has become my most commented on post, so I think many of us feel the same way about our cyber friends. Thanks for this lovely post. I look forward to learning more about you and your journey. One more thing, I, too, sometimes lie awake at night thinking about all of these people wondering how they're doing!

  12. Nancy,

    It was a lovely post and expressed how so many of us feel.
    I honestly know that you lie awake at night thinking about cyber friends - I know it, because I also do it - often.

    I also look forward to learning more about your journey Nancy - keep those posts coming :-)

  13. Name the date, time, place and I'll be there

  14. Tony and I have been chatting about this idea Shents and if we can pull it off I think it would be really great.

    We're going to look at who is where and who can/can't travel and then organise something from there.

    I really want this to happen :-)

  15. Yep dudes lets do this!

    Carole, I will call you next week and we can get a couple of provisional dates down. I know David and Anne were talking about coming to Matlock but that may be a bit selfish of me :-) although if we can coincide your spring jaunt oop north...but we'll see!

    Can't wait to see Shents with a pony tail although she knows my preference for skinheads!

    Much Love to all

    T xx

  16. Count me in. I'm near(ish) Tony.

  17. I'm more than happy to travel south - especially if its warmer!
    Tony - no ponytail yet - just a big bouffant hairbear granny style that I've just had cut! Photos on the blog - including the skinheed - just for you!
    Lets all meet up - it would be fab

  18. Carole,

    Thanks for this post and for all the encouraging notes you've left on my blog. I always don't take the opportunity to respond in kind, but wanted to let you know that they are very appreciated.


  19. It's funny I will be talking to my son about so & so and how they are doing or their children and he draws a blank. Umm "Mom" I don't know your friends. loool.
    I talk with friends and inform them this person isn't doing well. Oblivious to who I am referring to. But it's a good thing. I have felt that particularily since I have been blogging about my illness and how I feel I don't feel so alone. Feeling alone is the worst combination when you have cancer or any illness for that matter. I may not always post because I have a memory like a sieve at times but I do read you regularliy. It's nice to read that you have the family support backing you up. Your son sounds just great!!
    It's always comforting that there are others in our Cyber friends who understand some of the trials and tribulations we experience without having to explain it all in detail first..
    Lovely Post Carole..... Love Alli xoxo