Loosing my blogging cherry and baring all

So to those of you that are actually reading this post “Hello” and “Welcome” this means that after a number of months of debate and procrastination I have actually decided to do what I set out to do just under 4 months ago whilst in hospital (we’ll get to that story another time) and write a blog. Today is the day I loose my blogging cherry and bare my inner most thoughts. This is an extremely daunting experience for me as generally I am a pretty private person.  Like most things in my life I have done zero preparation, zero research and my current plan of action is to just fly by the seat of my pants and hope that it will all come good in the end.

So here’s the deal I will attempt to keep you engaged for the duration of my posts in return for your honest and sometimes critical feedback and if you like what you read please let someone know. If I help just one person by starting this blog then in-spite of baring all my thoughts and personal experiences then it will have been a promise worthwhile keeping.


This is a good question if there is no purpose then why do anything at all or so you may think? Well as the website suggests (www.melanomaandme.co.uk) I like so many people these days have recently been diagnosed with Stage 4 Malignant Melanoma/Skin Cancer. Had I chosen a different web site address then maybe I could have kept you hooked and in suspense for a bit longer. A lesson to learn for future blogging sites maybe?

I was diagnosed 16th August 2017 and today is 12th January 2018. The past few months have been a mountain of highs and lows (some of which I will share with you within this blog). I think I and those that continue to surround themselves and support me have packed more emotions and experiences in the last 4 months than I have experienced in the last 4 years.

I was lucky enough to have been offered Immunotherapy treatment (I still struggle to spell this correctly don’t worry the actual medicine names are even harder to spell) and started my first cycle on 11th September 2017. Things seemed pretty well and physically wise I felt fine. Emotionally things have been difficult but I strangely found myself being the strong one supporting those closest to me who were finding the news difficult to deal with.

See early on in my diagnosis I had already decided that there was no point wasting energy trying to determine what had got me to this milestone in my life and what if I’d…., why and how etc. I had decided I was in this current situation by numerous events and reasons and the only way I can get out of it was by being as positive as I can be and by ensuring that I maximise every opportunity in my power to beat this disease. For me that is looking at my diet, exercise, health and well being, being positive and by using the love and support from friends, family and work colleagues (and hopefully you guys)  to supplement the medical support and treatment I am currently receiving. I aim to implement these elements into future posts.

The second round of treatment was on 11th October 2017. Again I had been feeling fine. I had a bit of a skin rash which meant that I had to postpone my treatment for one week and my liver function was increasing but other than that I was pretty good and keen to get the treatment done. About a week later things started to change slightly I had started to feel a strain on my stomach but I just put it down to the fact that I had been busy with work and lifting boxes about, as we were putting the house on the market so had to hide our worldly possessions (junk)!

Not long after this I had temperature spikes of 41 and fevers so I decided to call the chemo help line. I was asked to come to the blood clinic it was then I was admitted to hospital on the 20th October 17. My admission was only due to be a weekend stay however unfortunately this turned into one of the most memorable and dramatic three weeks of my life so far. (I will share more about my admission at a later date)

It was during this stay that I realised that I have the opportunity to help other people by my sharing my experiences. I made a number of promises and goals to myself during my stay in hospital and writing this blog is one of the first to come to fruition.

So again, get to the point Rachel, why write this blog?

  • To help individuals who have recently been diagnosed with skin cancer or any form of cancer by sharing the highs and lows that I have experienced in such as short time.
  • To help families and friends of cancer patients by sharing my thoughts and feelings including telling the news in the hope that they may be able to relate to and understand.
  • To avoid paying a hefty bill in counselling – yep that’s correct I suppose writing this blog is kind of selfish in a way. It gives me the chance to tell my story and experiences in life some people pay a fortune for this in one to one sessions. Hopefully my blogs won’t just be those associated with cancer but positive stories which will help in my journey to beat this disease.
  • To raise money for cancer charities in particular Rosemere Cancer Foundation where I have had much of my treatment and support from to date. I have incorporated a link to a just giving page for those of you that would like to donate. This money will help fund research and vitial medical equipment to help other individuals in the future.
  • To give people especially in the UK an understanding of Immunothearpy and what to maybe expect based on my experience. This is something I still find difficult now. There is very little information around about regarding Immunothearpy even the chemo ward doesn’t have an introduction video or booklet on the subject yet. The treatment I am currently on has only been approved in the UK for 12 months. I am extremely grateful as 12 months ago my options would have been limited. Therefore if I can help share my experience of some of the side effects then hopefully it may benefit another patient, doctor or researcher in the future.
  • To give myself and other people a better understanding of the causes of skin cancer and what we can do to protect the current and next generation.
  • To give myself and other people a better understanding of how our diets have a considerable effect on our health and foods which can help not only cancer but other critical diseases.
  • To show the powerful connection between our mind and body and how we think and feel can have a dramatic effect on our health.
  • To make people laugh without laughter life would be pretty dull and whether your laughing at me or with me your laughing which means job done.


My 1st Treatment – fighting fit

Exclusions and Caveats

Like all good deals you have to read the small print at the bottom! For ease of purpose this isn’t in too small print so you can read it but here’s my get out clauses;

  • I am not a medically qualified individual or claim to be. I barely know my fibia from my tibia. Anything medically related is based on my experiences only so please seek medical advice before attempting anything I may have written within this blog.
  • Likewise I am not an expert in health and wellbeing. Since being diagnosed I have an active interest in this subject and aim to learn more in the future. So for now any advice I’ll just leave it to the experts.
  • Until 4 months ago I had never been introduced to the not so elite club of cancer (I wouldn’t recommend it). Therefore there all my experiences are new but they are that, my experiences.
  • I do not aim to cause any negative emotions or offence from my blogs. Sometimes writing your thoughts is a dangerous game being that thoughts generally should be thoughts and not shared for people to find out what a real idiot you actually are. If I offend you in any of these blogs then I apologise in advance (sorry dad!)
  • I have never really read a blog before writing this. If I am doing something wrong I apologise hopefully I will learn along the way. I also aim to read other peoples blogs to improve in the future.
  • I certainly haven’t written a blog before or claim to be a writer of any sort, therefore if I make a grammar or spelling mistake then you’ll just have to deal with it. I recommend you getting a red permanent pen and highlighting the mistakes on your screen as you read.

So there’s the exclusions and what I hope to offer to you.

Thank you for reading and supporting me on this journey I wish you all love health and happiness

Rachel x x x


  1. Linz
    13/01/2018 / 00:37

    Wow Rach xxx so glad you have decided to start your blog! I actually reckon you have a little bit of a writing gift there ??? (I do read blogs and honest this is well within the ‘league’)!!
    Love you and your ideas and that you’re getting vulnerable in order to help others and yourself with your journey ahead x I’m right there with you and am super proud ?

    • sysadmin
      13/02/2018 / 21:55

      Thanks Linz means alot as always x

  2. Donna
    15/01/2018 / 16:03

    Wow another hidden talent from my amazing friend. Dont know why I’m shocked that your good at this but god you are. I’m sure this will really help many people. Some like yourselves who sadly have this battle to fight and def for people like me who have to watch special people fight and sometimes don’t know what’s the best way to help you fight. But you know we’ve got your back in whatever way it’s needed. We love you and are very proud of you. Please keep blogging xxxx

    • sysadmin
      13/02/2018 / 22:00

      Thanks Donna…. and I am keepnig blogging like you asked 🙂 x x

  3. Chrisi
    15/01/2018 / 17:21

    Quite simply you are amazing and an inspiration! We are always here for you and super proud of how you are handling this xx I can’t wait to read your blogs, defo a hidden talent here!!! Keep kicking was and being you xx love you lots xx big hugs xx

    • sysadmin
      13/02/2018 / 22:01

      🙂 x x x

  4. Leila
    16/01/2018 / 21:38

    This is a great idea Rach ! (Not sure if that’s been said to you before on other subjects ??)
    Incredibly proud of you and I hope I/we can use this to help support you the best we can and that I don’t get it wrong too much.
    Def keep blogging !!!
    Le x

    • sysadmin
      13/02/2018 / 22:03

      Thanks you’re probably right this could be the first great idea I’ve ever had x

  5. Jo
    22/01/2018 / 20:12

    Thank you for baring all Rach; I appreciate you must be out of your comfort zone being “Mrs Private”! You are certainly one of the strongest women I know and the most positive. You do have a gift for blogging, it reads very well and I can’t wait to read on…..I love you lots and will always be here for support and laughter. Jo xxx

    • sysadmin
      13/02/2018 / 22:04

      Thanks Jo and for your support. Not sure about strongest women but maybe a fighter ;0)

      Love Mrs Private x

  6. Lianne
    04/02/2018 / 22:50

    Keep blogging Rach, you’re so brave and positive and it’s amazing to see!! ❤️ It doesn’t surprise me that you’re the strong one, you’re an absolute warrior and doing everyone proud! 🙂

    • sysadmin
      13/02/2018 / 22:05

      Thanks alot Lianne x x

  7. Warren chadwick
    04/02/2018 / 22:52

    Wow rach very brave putting your thoughts in writing, I’m sure others will take inspiration from you being the strong person I’ve known you to be.
    Love and thoughts to you and the family.
    Warren x

    • sysadmin
      13/02/2018 / 21:59

      Thanks alot Warren. I hope I can one day be inspirational to someone x

  8. Debbie
    04/02/2018 / 23:18

    I can’t believe all this has happened since we went for Chinese and the cinema, you’re being a complete star about it all and you look fantastic, sending my love to you gorgeous ?

    • sysadmin
      13/02/2018 / 22:06

      Hi Debbie I know it wasn’t that long ago. That’s when it all started really. We’ll have to arrange another cinema night x

  9. Lidia
    04/02/2018 / 23:52

    Hi Rachel,

    Your fb post and blog has really struck a chord with me ❤ My mum was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer on 30th August 2017. Its been such a tough time it really has. She’s since been through an operation, chemo & radiotherapy and we are still yet to find out how she has responded to her treatment. Sending lots of love and strength your way Rachel. Your a total inspiration. Stay positive and strong ??

    X X X X

    • sysadmin
      13/02/2018 / 22:10

      Hi Lidia, I am so sorry to hear about your mum. It sounds like she’s had a tough time as will have you I would imagine. I really hope she gets some positive news. She’ll definitely be in my thoughts. Thank you for your kind words and I will always remain positive and strong.

      Rachel x x

  10. Jenny
    05/02/2018 / 03:56

    Are there no end to your talents Rach!!! Your attitude and courage towards your diagnosis are admirable. Can’t wait to read your blog and I’m sure everyone else that reads will enjoy hearing your sense of humour show through.
    Your one special lady ????

    • sysadmin
      13/02/2018 / 22:12

      Thanks Jenny. It helps with friends like you along the way. I’m pretty sure you were the one that could shove an strawberry lace through your nose as well weren’t you?


  11. Vicky
    05/02/2018 / 07:34

    Wow a wonderfully written post and so brave of you to share your thoughts on your battle. Sending you lots of hugs support and best wishes Rach xxxxx

    • sysadmin
      13/02/2018 / 22:13

      Hi Vicky
      Thank you so much x x

  12. Hannah
    05/02/2018 / 08:06

    Very brave to share your story Rach but your strength will help so many. A very good read that is obviously from the heart! Love to you all. Hannah xxx

    • sysadmin
      13/02/2018 / 22:14

      Hi Hannah, thank you. Hopefully it will help someone in the future and yes it’s definitely from the heart which is quite scary sometimes x x

  13. Natalie eccles
    05/02/2018 / 08:12

    Rach, popping your blogging cherry has been a great decision. Your strength and sense of humour shines through when reading your blog. You fill your friends and family with so much pride. Carry on being a fighter ?? ? And remember, the people around you want to support your journey in any possible way. Xxx

    • sysadmin
      13/02/2018 / 22:15

      Thanks Nat. Sometimes you just have to take the plunge and hope it works out ;0) I’ll always keep on fighting but I am greatful of any support or help along the way x x

  14. Sarah Garbett
    05/02/2018 / 08:29

    Oh Rachel this is amazing! Your blog is certainly an inspiration to us all. I can’t wait to keep reading your blog.
    Sending lots of love your way and keep on going my love!
    Sarah G xxxxx

    • sysadmin
      13/02/2018 / 22:17

      Hi Sarah, thank you so much for your encouragement. I’ll keep on writing x x

  15. Katy B
    05/02/2018 / 09:23

    I’m lookong forward to the next one Rach xxx

    • sysadmin
      13/02/2018 / 22:17

      x x

  16. Joan Moore
    05/02/2018 / 09:28

    Hi Rachel this so inspiring. Like Linz and Donna say you have a hidden talent in your writing. Stay strong and positive. Keep the blogs coming. Sending love to you and your family xx

    • sysadmin
      13/02/2018 / 22:18

      Thanks Joan for your kind words. I’ll keep them coming x x

  17. Lindsey
    05/02/2018 / 10:48

    Wow such a strong and an amazing thing to do is to write down all your feelings whilst fighting this battle x like most I have been close to a few who have had this horrid disease and as a close family member or friend you don’t always know what’s going on and don’t always know what to say … I’m sure you will bring comfort to many x what an inspiration you are x well done x

    • sysadmin
      13/02/2018 / 22:23

      Hi Lindsey, thank you. I hope it does bring comfort to some and hope one day there will be lots more success stories about beating this disease x x

  18. Tracy
    05/02/2018 / 11:41

    A true inspiration you are Rachel. Not easy writing down your thoughts but you have a gift for this. Your words and sense of humour that shine through on this blog will truly help others going through the same situation. Keep fighting and stay strong.
    Love to you and your family. Xxxx

    • sysadmin
      13/02/2018 / 22:24

      Hi Tracy thank you x

  19. Sue Mcclelland
    05/02/2018 / 17:16

    Amazing blog Rachel.? From knowing first hand how bad it is to lose a close family member to dreaded cancer and the journey that it can take you through, within such a short space of time, without going through it yourself. It shows courage, determination and love from you as a person to help others in anyway you can. ? So much admiration for you… As always, support, love and just being here any way I can is sent your way xxx

    • sysadmin
      13/02/2018 / 22:25

      Hi Sue thank you so much and for all your support and help x x

  20. Amy Banks (Midgley)
    05/02/2018 / 17:41

    Hi Rachel, I enjoyed reading your blog. I hope your treatment goes well, I’m sending positive vibes ?
    I’ll watch out for the next one

    • sysadmin
      13/02/2018 / 22:27

      Hi Amy, Thanks for your message and sending the positive vibes my way. I’ll take all I can 🙂 Keep watching out, as long as someones still reading them I’ll keep on posting x

  21. Sarah
    05/02/2018 / 17:42

    What a truely inspirational blog . You have been so brave, it sounds like you have amazing family and friends supporting you . You are an amazing writer xxx my hubby works for Rosemere xxx

    • sysadmin
      12/02/2018 / 23:19

      Hi Sarah. Yes I do have amazing family and friends which makes it that little bit easier. I know your hubby works for Rosemere. I saw him once but was too embarrassed/worried to say anything so didn’t. I’ll make sure I speak next time x x

  22. Stacy heyes
    05/02/2018 / 19:48

    Wow …just wow x what an amazingly brave lady, family and close friends x you should be very proud of how far you have come xxx I look forward to reading more …..xx

    • sysadmin
      12/02/2018 / 23:17

      Thanks so much Stacy… I’ll be writing more x x x

  23. Pip
    05/02/2018 / 21:17

    Amazing blog rach, you are one of the most brave & strongest people I know!! I’m extremely proud of you & it’s an honour to call myself your friend.
    Looking forward to reading the next blog.
    Love you lots ??

    • sysadmin
      12/02/2018 / 23:16

      Thanks Pip glad to have friends like you around. Keep reading my blogs and I’ll keep writing them

  24. Lisa Nield
    05/02/2018 / 22:47

    Rachel you are an absolute superstar xx love you whit and determination. I think starting this blog is a fantastic idea and I cannot wait for the next instalment x love you lots xx

    • sysadmin
      12/02/2018 / 23:13

      Thanks Lisa hopefully it is a good idea I’ll keep plodding on. Love you x

  25. Kathryn
    06/02/2018 / 10:33

    Hi Rachel,
    I’m sorry to hear you have this terrible disease but using your experiences to help others is amazing. Not many people in your situation would be thinking of others! I’m hoping by reading your blog I can find ways to talk with my brother-in-law who is currently fighting Myeloma without treading on eggshells.
    Take care of yourself xx

    • sysadmin
      12/02/2018 / 23:13

      Thanks Kathryn sending my love and hope it can help in some way x

  26. Sandra
    06/02/2018 / 21:34

    Wow Rachel. I knew you weren’t well but wasn’t expecting this. I bet you weren’t either! I’m so sorry. And a bit angry and a bit sad right now. I think you’re amazing and thank you for writing your blog, it’s a great idea and I look forward to more instalments. Take care. You’re fab x

  27. Jeanette Kenyon
    06/02/2018 / 22:57

    This is a brilliant blog,written with such humour,honesty and positivity….I am so proud of you…truly inspirational….keep on blogging, stay positive and using your healthy lifestyle to work in conjunction with the treatment xxxxxxx

  28. Sheila
    07/02/2018 / 15:13

    Rachel I do not know you but thank you for your honesty and for sharing your journey with us. I hope it helps you avoid the dreaded counselling bills and helps you through your journey a little. Looking forward to the next instalment xx

    • sysadmin
      12/02/2018 / 23:09

      Hi Shelia thank you for your comment. It’s great to hear from someone that I don’t necessarily know as well as people I do. It’s nice to know that someone has took the time to read my blog and hopefully it can help someone I might not know in the future. x x x

  29. 07/02/2018 / 19:11

    So pleased to see you’ve started your blog Rachel. The first post is a really interesting read – honest, heartbreaking and uplifting in equal measure. I get a real sense that you’re going to build up a large audience as you continue posting here. Take care and please continue down this path – blogs such as this are often more valuable and inspiring than you’ll ever know. x

    • sysadmin
      12/02/2018 / 23:05

      Hi Mick, Thank you I read that beginners guide you sent me (didn’t quite do the research) but it definitely gave me the push to do it. If you have any advice let me know 🙂 x

  30. Laura Hopwood
    07/02/2018 / 21:31

    Hi Rach, I’ve never read a blog before but this is great….inspirational, positive and witty too. Hope you can get the treatment you need, keep writing and take care. Laura xx

    • sysadmin
      12/02/2018 / 23:01

      Me neither Laura before starting this! Thank you x x

  31. David Eve
    10/02/2018 / 09:32

    Looking forward to reading more of these. My stepdad is going through the same thing. I’m going to show him this.


    • sysadmin
      12/02/2018 / 22:59

      Hi David. I’, so sorry to hear about your stepdad and send him all my love. Please do share it with him x x

  32. Darren Maxwell
    10/02/2018 / 13:38

    Wow what a read ! Will keep watching and reading! Good luck and take care x

    • sysadmin
      12/02/2018 / 22:57

      Thanks Darren yes keep reading and I’ll keep writing x

  33. Carol & Lucy blue
    10/02/2018 / 21:19

    Hi Rachel
    Who New you are a natural blogger.
    Love to you Your old Forrest friends (not small woodland creatures).
    Carol & Lucy blue.xxxxxx
    Blogg on.?

    • sysadmin
      12/02/2018 / 19:35

      Hi Carol/Lucy
      Good to hear from you. I’ll kepp bloggin on thank-you

  34. Laura
    03/03/2018 / 11:07

    Aww Rach! What a first blog, I would never be able to do this. Your amazing! Keep strong, and fighting as you have been from day one brave lady. And I completely agree with you – keep laughing and smiling. Very very proud of you xxx

    • Rachel
      20/03/2018 / 12:24

      Thanks a lot Laura – always keep on smiling x x x 🙂

  35. Chris Jepson
    17/03/2018 / 14:12

    Hi Rach,

    I’ve only just been introduced to this (my ignorance to social media) but your wit, grit, bravery and determination is so inspirational, not only to others who may be in similar situations but to all. You’re such a special lady, Cheryl & I are so proud to have you as a family member.

    I think you may have found a new calling in life, as your blogging skills are excellent.

    Stay strong.


    Chris and Cheryl Jepson

    • Rachel
      20/03/2018 / 12:25

      Hi Chris thank you so much. I’m lucky to have such a big family surrounding me it certainly helps. x x

  36. Shellie Clark
    27/03/2019 / 08:21

    Hi there! I was diagnosed with exactky the same and start a super duper mix of 2 immunotherapy drugs Monday, I’ll be keeping a video diary ? hope we can keep in touch. I shall be following your story and backing your recovery all the way. Any hints or tips (feels like I’m asking for make up techniques ?) would be great for my journey ahead.
    Much love, strength and healing coming your way x

    Shellie x

  37. Rachel
    29/03/2019 / 09:03

    Hi Shellie, yes definitely keep in touch. I really do hope your treatment goes well. I would look into cancer support groups as think these will really help you. I didn’t realise until talking to other people how many there are out there and wish I’d known sooner. I would also consider looking into your diet not to replace any treatment or doctors advice but to help boost it. Don’t forget to look after your mind as well things such as meditation, visualisation and mindfulness can really help focus you even in really difficult times. Please keep in touch and message me if you want any help or advice I might not know it but I might be able to point you in the right direction. Sending lots of hope and prayers to you, you’ve got this x xx

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