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In January 2015 I could see the year stretching ahead of me.  I thought of the trips we’d planned to France and the Scottish Islands and the Llangollen Canal, I thought of all my musical activities and my writing, and I wondered if I’d finally get my collection of short stories published.  The good news about the stories is that I did get my act together, and that ‘Shifting Sands: Tales of Transience and Transformation’ is now available to order from http://lumphananpress.co.uk/product/shifting-sands/   And the ebook is available from Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shifting-Sands-Tales-Transience-Transformation-ebook/dp/B0187MJUL2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1449399217&sr=8-1&keywords=christine+cochrane+shifting+sands

And then something unexpected happened.  Something that wasn’t good.  Something that disrupted everything I took for granted.  ‘You can’t have cancer!’ a friend said.  ‘You’re too young, too healthy, too active!’  But I did.  In October I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  This is a cancer that can remain silent for a long time before the symptoms of bloating, tiredness and digestive problems make themselves felt.   I urge any woman to make herself aware of the symptoms, because these are not symptoms that immediately make you think the cells in your ovary might be misbehaving.  I thought that I couldn’t finish my meals because restaurants were serving bigger portions, and that I was slow going uphill just because I was a little bit older – but no, these are symptoms of the illness. You can read all about it on http://www.targetovariancancer.com

So I faced my three biggest fears – hospitals, cancer and chemotherapy.  As with most things, the reality has not been as bad as the anticipation.  I have a fantastic medical team supporting me and the care I have received in hospital has been first class.  I’ve had some dark moments, but I’ve also learned the power of positive thinking, and sometimes the nurses have said just the right thing at the right time to keep me going.  There’s been a bit of humour and a bit of banter, and it’s all helped.  A week ago I had my first round of chemotherapy, and after a few days of tiredness and other symptoms I am finally feeling just a little bit better than I have done for the past two months.  So the magic potions must be working.  After three rounds I will be reviewed for surgery, which could take place at the end of January if all goes well.  And after the surgery there will be three more rounds of chemotherapy.

I now feel surprisingly content, even with Storm Desmond rattling the windows and the rain hammering on the roof.  I am ill, but I have had two months of cherishing my relationships with others, of enjoying people’s visits, emails and Facebook messages, of experiencing great kindness and many offers of help.  I’d like to thank everyone who has been there for me through this difficult time, as well as all those of you who have supported me on the long journey to the publication of the book.

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