The Blue Sky Faded

Soon to be published, this collection of poems is the result of a series of creative writing workshops I ran with women from the Brighton Breast Cancer Support Group. These women are amazing!  What bought them together initially was the fact that they had all been diagnosed with breast cancer, or given the news that they carried the breast cancer gene so were at risk of developing the illness. They found themselves catapulted into an unfamiliar world of tests, hospital appointments, and operations, their lives turned upside down and under threat. The creative writing sessions were intended to offer the group an opportunity for self-expression, and the chance to experiment with writing and to learn a little about poetry and poetic form. I hoped it would become a place where they could share their experiences and, by writing about them, perhaps help to process them. During our weekly sessions I heard about biopsies and bone scans, followed by the long wait for test results. I heard what it feels like to undergo mastectomy, chemotherapy, and reconstruction surgery, and to face the ongoing challenges of lymphoedema, pain, and tiredness. I heard many things that will stay with me. But what struck me most about these women was their amazing positivity. Faced with all this, they fought back – teaching themselves about nutrition and alternative therapies, finding out about treatments, sharing advice. They got on with life, determined to embrace it and to appreciate the things that illness teaches you really matter: family and friends, taking time to notice the world and people around you.  It was a joy to work with them, and I’m looking forward to seeing their poems in print soon.

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