Follow me on Instagram @thetittygritty
Why is this the hardest bit to write? Who is this ‘Me’ that the blank page is asking to be completed? Every blog has an ‘About Me’ page and I don’t know how to delete the tab. I can write the buggery out of my experience with cancer but to actually admit to you that I don’t have any ground-breakingly interesting vintage hat restoring past times or award winning short track speed skating medals to speak of makes me think hard about my life choices. My husband says I must have at least 5 semi-interesting facts that I could/should share…he can’t think of any off hand and neither can I right now. Oh apart from I can do a slick dolphin impression – Fact #1 tick!
So, me then, I’m 40 (just) and live with my husband Mark in Surrey with our three gorgeously character-full kids. Archie is 9 and he loves a fact and a bat, April is 7 and she loves fashion and youtube and little Belle is 5 and loves animals and being goofy. I grew up by the sea in Dorset with my brothers and my dear Mum.
(Fact #2 I started to train for my private pilots license in Bournemouth aged 14 because my dad was an instructor – the only thing I can remember is how to recover the engine if it conks out at 1000ft. Handy but I couldn’t get the hunk of metal off the tarmac in the first instance now so renders my knowledge useless)
I moved to London at the age of 21 to pursue a career as a TV Producer. My first non-paid work experience was at the BBC’s Blue Peter. I arrived all fully made up, ready to impress the skinny chinos off the unsuspecting Execs and was promptly handed bright yellow overalls and a paint brush. I was assigned to the props warehouse where I had a day (and the only day they’d give me) on my own to turn a 6ft paper mache bird poo into a Christmas pudding. Using only primary colour paints and some desperate begging and borrowing from the kind security man who had tinsel around the parking barrier I managed to make sh*t shine. Literally. Never got a thanks nor did it make it onscreen but it was the start of a long and unbelievably loved journey into my career.
(Fact #3 To support myself living in London whilst jobbing as an unpaid TV poo-prop painter and general dogs body I used to work as an official Barbie lookalike. Hired by Mattel I would travel around the UK and open up toy shops. Part of my contract was that I wasn’t allowed to talk to or be photographed at these events with Spiderman. Only Superman or Batman because they were Mattel heros. I was also not allowed to discuss Ken’s whereabouts when asked – still intrigues me as to why.)
I’m 18 years into it now and after a few years living in New York where I ran the US office for GMTV (the former Good Morning Britain show) I am now Head Of Features on the ITV Lorraine show and despite the 5am starts I genuinely love it.
(Fact #4 I can do the alphabet in sign language thanks to Brownies aged 9 – unsure why this just popped into my head nor what purpose it’s ever served)
So like most mums my weeks are a unique and often haphazard balance of homework, kids clubs, PTA, work, batch cooking (of which i’m a ninja) and visiting my precious mum in her dementia care home. (since starting my blog my mum has passed away, she left us in Oct 2018 on one of my chemo days).
(Fact #5 Six months ago I was in my car and saw a puppy running down the road on his own. I saw a man running like crazy along the pavement so good samaritan here pulls over and I yell at him to ‘get in the car, get in the car’. He did. I pull back into the traffic and tell him to get his seatbelt on because the alarm was dinging. I then ask which way did it go to which he replied ‘which way did what go?’. I asked again which way did the dog go and the stranger looked blank. I asked if he’d just lost his puppy and he replied that he’d just missed his bus. He got out the car.)
MY BRIEF BREAST CANCER DIAGNOSIS (See blog ‘The Titty Gritty’ for the full cup version)
I found a lump on 16th March 2018 and saw the GP on 23rd March. I was referred to a consultant on Friday 20th April (by which time another 4 lumps had appeared in the same breast) and had a mammogram, ultra sound and a core biopsy. On Tuesday 24th April I was diagnosed with Grade 3 invasive breast cancer which was in my milk ducts. It was too spread for a lumpectomy so I had a full right mastectomy and node clearance on Friday 4th May 2018. The centinal lymph nodes came back testing positive to cancer so I went back into surgery 3 weeks later for an auxillary node clearance (where they remove and test the next batch of lymph nodes). Thankfully, they removed 24 nodes which all proved cancer-free. However, due to the grade and spread of my cancer the oncologist has prescribed me a robust ‘health package’ of 16 rounds of chemotherapy (started on Friday 29th June 2018 and finishes in December 2018), followed by a month of radiotherapy and then because my cancer is HER2 positive i’ll have targeted therapy after that (i’ll fill you in when I know more about it)