Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Ask Away

One of the things that breaks my heart about cancer is the fear it strikes into the people around the person going through it. I find that people are too scared to ask me deep questions for fear of upsetting me or fear of the answer. When I say people, I mostly mean adults. Kids, on the other hand, are a completely different ball game. Before the start of the treatment, I was at my friends house and she has three children. My friend had told her kids that I had cancer and what that would mean. When I walked into their house, I was greeted by the youngest, who is four years old, with "Stari, are you going to die?" No hesitation, no embarrassment, no build up to the question, just straight out with it. The question did take me by surprise, mainly because I was expecting a "hello" first, but I answered it as best I could in a way that she would be able to understand. It was refreshing to be asked a direct question with no awkwardness.

I was thinking about this last night and I decided that people have questions and those questions need to be answered. It is important that these questions are answered not only for your sanity but it will help to prepare you to walk alongside other people with cancer. So here's the idea. Ask Away. If you have a question, write it in the comments box on this page, or any future Ask Away pages, and I will answer it. You can leave your name if you like but don't feel you have to. You can ask about anything. You can ask about the medical questions e.g. treatment, symptoms, prognosis, patient experience, physical and emotional health, faith, life, my past experiences, or it could be something completely random. The point is, you have the freedom to ask anything if you wish.

I shall look forward to hearing from you!


  1. Hi Stari, Becki here you might remember me as crazy Welsh pigeon lady from trampolining in St Andrews... Yeah. You probably thought I was very silly but I want to say that I very much looked up to you. You were a good leader and you very much inspired me into fitness. I started running that year with a mile time of 16 mins, now I run half marathons at 8:23 a mile. I would not be doing that if I hadn't seen your good example!

    I wanted to ask some questions, if I may:
    1. What form of cancer do you have?
    2. What can I do to help? I am A- blood type, I'm on the bone marrow matching list, or if I can't help like that is there a fund I can help you raise money for, or something you want doing?
    3. What's your favourite cupcake flavour and email me your address and I will bake you crazy Welsh pigeon cupcakes x
    My email is welshbecci (AT)


  2. Hi Stari,

    I'm exasperated with technology - this is the third time of writing a reply! I was just praising God for the invention of the iPhone and the fact that it has allowed me to indulge in reading your last five posts. It took me 20 mins to write a reply on that tiny screen and then, poof! the text just disappears. Feeling disgruntled, I went off to find a proper PC in the libary that I thought would do the job.
    I thought to myself, "maybe I should save this text in case it vanishes again", but corrected my thinking with "it won't happen" because this is a library PC. How wrong was I?! When I clicked the "publish" button, it disappeared again - poof!
    So, I was saying how I can identify with failure, I have now spent the past hour reading your blog and trying to reply whilst I was supposed to be working - I could call it a failure but I'm not going to, nor shall I beat myself up. I rather beat the computer up.
    I was also saying that I am glad that our prayers are being answered. I read the book of Phillipians this morning and it was a great start to this beautiful day. Perserverance!
    I was also saying that I can be quite child-like when it comes to asking questions. I am often met with, "Stephanie! You can't say that!" And I think, "why not?"
    So my question is: "Have you had to go through hair loss again?"
    I felt like a fool in front of Lynette the other day because I said, "so I guess Stari isn't on placement at the moment". The look from Beth, Guy and Lynette made me feel like an ignoramus.
    I'm sorry I haven't been in touch. Do you have an email address?
    Much love,
    Stephanie xxx

  3. Dear Stari, what an amazing thoughtful way to break down a massive taboo - what I really want to know is when is your next round of chemo due? - if you want me there about 3.30 pm on days 2 and 3 - I will do my best to be there - ready with the practical nursing support !! I am assuming it is going to be similar to last time if you know what I mean although I am praying that you will have a much easier ride for the next bout of treatment. Hope you are having a nice time away from the hospital - if you want an hour somewhere else - let me know and we will pick you up and bring you here for a cuppa God Bless Liz


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