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Monday 25th November 2002


I keep meeting people who have read this diary. It’s strange because I think I thought hardly anyone would read it, but actually rather alot of people do. Apparently this kind of diary is called a BLOG..derived from web logs. Mmmm. One of the reasons I wanted to do it was because having had cancer alot of people think that one steadily declines, which is not the case. My (breast) cancer was diagnosed in 1995 and I’m quite used to it now. I think of it as an incompetent kind of disease, that sometimes manages to rally a weak drunken army and to attempt to make an attack somewhere in my body. However, most of the time it lies about in a dirty heap snoring. It recurred (the Battle of The Windpipe) in 2000 when a new tumour was found in my chest. However thanks to a drug called taxotere (from yew trees) it disappeared again. I think it’s also thanks to acupuncture which I’ve had for years. Earlier this year there was an uprising in my lower back ( the Spinal Wars) which went on for a while, but is now defeated. I never used to like all this battle imagery, but infact it’s rather apt. I do feel like I have to go to war sometimes. There are a few weak battalions hiding out in the mountain areas and forests of my body..hence a recent operation….and I’m sure there are all kinds of ambushes and hijacks ahead, but on the whole I am quite stable now. I have a good team of doctors (the generals?) who all know me well, and I feel quite in control of myself. I don’t have to take horrible drugs or anything. Most of the time I forget about it. I suppose its always true that the image we have of a disease is rarely accurate. Susan Sontag’s book ‘The Metaphor of Illness’ (or something like that) talks about the personality of diseases like TB and AIDS. In terms of cancers, breast cancer gets loads of attention and patients get alot of sympathy, unlike people with bowel cancer or brain tumours.

I spent the weekend looking at Art; at Baltic, the new Biscuit Gallery in Newcastle, and then some open artists studios at the Cluny Warehouse. Saw some fantastic stuff. Now I’m back on the novel, but refreshed by so much visual stimulation. Writing is after all, a very visual medium and is all about trying to get the reader to SEE. Attachments is going great at Live Theatre. People laugh alot which makes me feel happy.