Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Lisa likes brandy and the way it hits her lips....

Now, look. I don’t do this sort of thing very often, but I’m going to make a recommendation of someone whose blog you should read. I should probably do it more often, really. I’m pretty sure I used to do it a bit more back in the day, when we were all a little bit more connected and comments were more free-flowing. Somewhere along the way we all got that little bit more self-absorbed and wrapped up in our own lives and a little less concerned with the lives of total strangers. I think maybe we’re all a little poorer for that.

Oh sure, I know that Twitter has picked up a lot of that slack. But really, how much can you really connect with someone in 140 characters? It’s better than nothing, but I’ve made some fantastic friends through blogging, many of whom I now share conversations with on Twitter… but I’m not sure that we would be in quite the same place if we had only met through Twitter.

Anyway. I digress.

I’d like to point you in the direction of Lisa Lynch and her blog Alright Tit. I’m pretty sure that as a successful author and journalist in her own right, it’s not that Lisa needs the hits… but I haven’t read a blog in a long time that I find so consistently touching.

Most of you will be familiar with Lisa, but she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 28 and began a blog in 2008 to work through the issues and emotions that the diagnosis raised, as well as to document for herself and her friends the many ridiculous things she experienced along the way – weird post-chemotherapy pubic hair regrowth to name but one. It’s been a bumpy ride: the cancer diagnosis, the treatment, the subsequent inability to have kids, the mastectomies, the new improved rack, the book, the broken back suffered on the Mexican holiday to celebrate the all-clear… and then we moved onto what we thought was going to be the next chapter of Lisa’s life. Her life post-cancer.

Something about Lisa’s writing struck a chord with me right from the start. A lot of this is because she’s a pretty damn good writer, but it’s also because of the lovely way that she finds comedy in the hand she was dealt and just gets on with her life, no matter how ridiculous and inconvenient it might have become. I don’t have cancer, but I have seen parallels with my own MS. It’s a shit business, but what can you do?  What can anyone do?

When I got back from Africa a couple of weeks ago, I logged onto Alright Tit, following a plug on Lisa’s twitter feed, to see what had been going on. I was horrified to read that Lisa had been diagnosed with a secondary cancer in her bones. This time it’s not curable. Apparently we’re talking years and not months, but even so…. It was an awful thudding shock to me as a reader and casual internet acquaintance. Imagine how it must have felt to Lisa and her family.

And yet, here’s Lisa in her update today, she’s busy being funny and moving and profound all at the same time. Reporting a long text conversation with a friend about the latest news on each other’s cancers:

[edited slightly. Go and read the post in full]

Lorna:… Oh Lisa Lisa. Why the fuck?
Lisa: …Why? Because we’re the best ones. If we weren’t so bloody brilliant in the first place, none of this shite would be a problem.
Lorna: Do you know what I think, Lisa? I think through all this we have stayed nice girls. We love our families, we love our work, we love our lives. Cancer won’t take that away from us. I really believe that everything happens for a reason – some of us pull the short straw health-wise, but the long straw life-wise. We are long straws.
Lisa: That, Lorna, is going on my blog, because it is absolutely spot on. I love you x

I read that, sat at my desk in the office at the end of a long day, and it moved me. You know what? That’s going on my blog too Lorna, because it absolutely is spot on and hits the nail on the head. We’re the long straws and no stupid fucking disease can change that unless we let it.

Definitely go and read that post though.  There's a scary legal statement at the bottom about copying without prior written permission, so you know.....

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