I’ve just returned from today’s radiotherapy session – R24/6.

Six sessions left to go.

And it can’t go quickly enough as far as I’m concerned.

I’m so, so tired.

Plus, the side effects are now stacking on top of each other to cause me problems – like seven angry squirrels on each other’s shoulders inside a buttoned-up raincoat.

The outside of my neck is red, hot and painful to the touch.  Being the ginger variety of human, sunburn has always been part of my life – usually followed by bouts of heat-stroke induced soaring temperatures where I hallucinate that I’m zooming between the corners of the bedroom ceiling in one of two racing cars (I want the yellow car, not the red one!)

This feels just like sunburn.  No Formula One level fever yet, but I’ll have to keep an eye on that as once I hit 38 degrees, that’s me being admitted to hospital (chemo rules).

The inside of my throat is now almost completely constricted, and swallowing is pure agony.

Even sips of water feel like daggers.

But, I HAVE to keep trying.  If I don’t, I’ve been told I could lose my reflux completely – and with that finally goes the voice.  Cue weeks of speech and swallowing therapy to be added to the end of this malarky.

I really don’t want that to happen.

And then, there are the ulcers.

Be pleased, dear reader, that I can’t speak well at the moment and therefore I am typing this blog post, rather than using any form of dictation system.

For that would have picked up the name I just called those ulcers, and most of you would now be running for the hills, horrified that a gentle, caring children’s author could even know of such a word, let alone scream it out loud.

As for the rest of you – those with sterner stomachs and minds of experience – you’d probably just be wondering how much you would have a pay the gorilla just to wear something like that, never mind operate the mincer blades.

In short: the ulcers hurt.

A lot.

And the constant mucus…

Which – today – comes with a free gift of blood every single time I cough!

Cancer.  The disease that keeps on giving.

However, the day wasn’t a complete waste.  My good friend Alison was kind enough to take me to hospital today.

Alison and I have known each other for years.  In fact, since the day we both joined the cast of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story in London’s glitzy West End.

May 1994, if I recall correctly.

I’d just been summoned to the wardrobe department of the Victoria Palace Theatre to be fitted for my Clearlake MC costume, arriving just as Alison (although I didn’t know her name then) was getting re-dressed after her appointment.

“Oh, hello!” she grinned.  “You’ve just missed the good bit!”

We’ve been great mates ever since.  We’ve lived together in both London and Toronto, shared tour accommodation, and attended each other’s weddings.

Tommy Steve and Alison

That’s me as Clearlake MC on the left of the above picture – onstage in Buddy, introducing our musical director Steve Gibb as Jack Daw, and Alison as one of The Snowbirds.

So, that was today.

I’m utterly exhausted now, and may attempt a nap before the nutritionist is due to visit at 4pm.  After which, I have some actual writing work to do this evening.

Looking forward to that!

But, for now…


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  1. If my math is right, you are halfway through. YES. Glad you had such excellent company.


  2. I hope you kept THAT tartan jacket !

    🙂 x


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