My name is Rachael. I am married to Jamie. We have 3 children and a dog.

I did an English degree a long time ago (my eldest daughter is just choosing her university now – which tells you how long ago), followed by a PGCE. After that my CV looks about as coherent and strategic as a bad day in the old BHS pick and mix. What can only be referred to (kindly) as a smorgasbord of jobs includes: teaching, editing, writing, garden designing, administrating and youth working.

My weirdest job was working in the accounts department of Ryder Truck Rental on a Perivale Industrial Estate. I was a temp with Reed Employment. I was paid £4.00 per hour (£6.00 on the Bank Holiday weekend) to enter the details from the lorry or driver sheets on to the database. I felt like I was in a weary sitcom; everyone was desperately bored and waiting for the weekend. One old character I remember, not too steady on his feet, used to blow his nose on his handkerchief then spread it out to dry on the office radiator…

However, to quote a phrase, “Mostly this week,”… I have been cleaning and cooking!

4 years ago I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. It’s taken me this long to come up for air and find my voice. My dearest wish and hope is that it was not all completely pointless, and that somehow, by simply sharing some of those experiences and the odd lesson learned this might in some small way, benefit those who are on a similar path… or indeed, those who are supporting them. In any case, just telling it like it was will hopefully break down some of the walls of isolation and shame that all too often surround those on this pilgrimage. But this blog is not just about cancer treatment – that would be far too dull and dreary! Hopefully, it will also be as broad, colourful, weird and wonderful as life itself – the big journey, of which cancer was – and maybe always will be – just one part.