Thanks Debs for the cyber hugs! I agree with all you say. My pet hate is the idea that one has to 'fight' cancer. Not quite sure what that means as it sounds like you have to do something terribly active instead of just laying back and letting the chemo and radiation flow through you. I suppose it means not becoming depressed or something. Another is 'chin up' Grrrr!
BTW, I consider myself lucky to only have it in one node.
If anyone wants to contact gmtv about doing interviews with women at all stages of bc, this is the page for emailing:
I have emailed but lots of you are much better with words than me.
Oh & Steph, have loads of hugs for the next 3 months of chemo. I know it can't help much, but have them anyway, 'cos you've earned them.
Steph, you're not bitter & twisted at all. I actually agree with you and was just trying to put forward a balancing view. Personally I'd have liked her to say "chemo is really rough, but you get through it because you have to" ... before going on to say that she was now feeling "really really well". I will not have to go through chemo, just radiotherapy to follow my WLE & SNB. But ... I know how very fortunate I am and I stress that fact to everyone who asks after me.
My personal bugbear is the requirement to "be positive". When I've mentioned having concerns about SEs, recurrence etc, its un-bloody-believable to be told that thinking that way is likely to be a self-fulfilling prophecy! But I've had that happen twice already and I was only diagnosed in March this year. The other aspect of this is that being positive is more about protecting other people from the rubbish and harsh facts than it is to do with us. Of course we're all doing our damndest to face this head on and with a PMA, but blind optimism and ignorance aren't the way forward for everyone facing tough times in ordinary life, so why should it be de rigeur when you have BC?
Its probably best I don't get up onto my pink 'n fluffy hobbyhorse ....
There is definitely a disproportionately high number of "celebrity bc" interviews where they are recently dx'd and currently with no secondary dx. If it were more balanced then surely one in three celebrity bc interviews would be about someone at the secs stage (assuming women then are equally willing to come forward and talk about it) thus not denying the reality of this horrible disease.
However, I think that interviews like Sally Whittaker's are still very important for raising awareness of early dx and I think they are also helpful to many of the women recently dx'd with primary bc. I agree entirely though that it's unbalanced and unfair to only ever portray women with primary dx and a good prognosis.
^ True, maybe I'm a little envious as her chemo's all done and dusted and I've still got 3 months to go and feeling sh*t.
I'm turning into a bitter and twisted old cow!
Debs - I'm different. If anyone asks how I'm feeling, I tell them straight, they've asked, I tell. But I don't go on about it, just say occasionally.
I too think that perhaps telling people she felt well is not the whole truth, but perhaps Sally Whittaker feels a bit of responsibility to the general public who may be hanging on her every word, particularly if she wants to encourage more women to take up screening and go to their doctors if concerned about their breasts. If she was totally frank with her experience, it may well scare off people. Also, I do think Debs has a point with not wanting to make too much of it in case it effects her career? Perhaps, she does actually feel better than she thought she would and dont forget, she may want to convince herself that she is well and by keep telling people, it will become a self fulfilling prophecy?
I agree with what you say Debs, she has to stress that she's well now especially for career purposes. I suppose I'm being picky, but I wish she could have balanced the statement by saying how chemo really is, and then adding that she's well now, otherwise will the public think it's all a breeze?
I don't watch much TV and have never seen Coronation Street, but I did watch this interview online. She certainly was very positive and stressed that she felt "really really well" as Steph has said. Its always going to be disappointing when a person in the public eye doesn't take a hard line. But, in her defense:
1. She's an actress and her future earning capacity relies on her being fit and well. No-one wants to cast someone who's going to be a challenge health-wise during filming, so - of course - she is going to emphasise the positive. Its frustrating, but why should we expect her to put her career at risk?
2. How many of us have tried to speak out to friends and family in the way we do on here? I have and it caused all kinds of hurt, bewilderment, anger and upset. I acknowledge that its this aspect which makes this a lonely journey, but it takes a particular sort of trust and respect to tell (and hear) the hard truth. If you have someone you can speak to in that way - hang on to them and cherish them for they are truly special (and not in a hand clapping kinda way).
Lol that's very true it was all too good to be true especially one part about great anti sickness xxx it's a very personal thing I suppose but yes it was a bit like that
I've seen a couple of interviews that Sally had done, and I have to say I'm irritated by the way she states that she feels 'really, really well' as if she's just come out from a health farm rather than the horrors of chemo.
Apart from that, I admire her and think she's probably a very nice person.
I have to say I watched the interview on tele and am with Jo. It's time they stopped
portraying the luckier ones stories and show that this disease kills. Young women like myself and my pal
too with babies left behind. I remember when I first came on
here I had primary dx and was v pos and not phased by it. I felt proud to be battling it openly and
recall reading a thread where a debate was ongoing about the glamourisation of breast cancer.
So I think Jo has a truly valid point in that the truly
devestating nature if this disease is never shown. It's all
pink and glam and u can beat it, it's one of the best ones to
get so I would say that we aren being nasty but with sec
dx comes a bitterness and sense if cruel injustice and to see all these celebs being
so brave and pos just irritates.
I pray that no woman gets secondaries as it's a living Nightmare.
I am mid thirties with three young kids. Grade 3 initially with 15 of 23 nodes affected and 7cm tumour. Now liver
meta five months in. That's the harsh reality that's never portrayed.
Grade 4 doesn't get mentioned in the media.
I agree any way to raise money fir research is great but let's try to see it from
all sides. I talk from the experience of going from two very diff outlooks. Sec cancer is a while diff ballgame.
The actress who plays Sally Webster has done an interview for GMTV. I thought she did really, really well. It can't have been easy for her to go on and talk about her experience but she did. No dramatics or being dismissive of the chemo etc. SHe also put across really well how in the pre-dx days you think it can't be you and it's just "making a fuss" over nothing. I could identify with an awful lot of what she was saying but couldn't have put it half as well myself. I was thinking a lot today about my mum who had bc in 1983 - back then, it was hardly even discussed and very little was known about the disease itself and how to recognise and deal with early signs. THank God that we've come such a long way since then and how refreshing to see it being discussed in a sensible and realistic way.
I was never particularly a fan of Sally in Corrie, just didnt like the part she played but was obviously glued to the screen during the breast cancer storyline over christmas, I am welling up thinking of her playing that part and knowing she had been diagnosed with the disease also, how awful for her, will see her through new eyes now, I wish her good luck and really thinking about her. I thought she looked good in Hello magazine and admire her courage for showing her bare head, I couldnt show anyone first time round, was so embarrassed with the hairloss and now coming up to it again, i dont know how i will fair, I just hope I can think of myself instead of thinking of everyone elses reactions for a change.
I too am shocked to learn, through this thread, that Sally has got BC in real life. This horrible disease seems to be positively rampant these days and I often wonder why, or has it always been the case but people just didn't talk about it fifty years ago.
Anyway I send my best wishes to Sally and her family and hope she is back on our screens again soon.
nice to hear from you and thanks for the compliment, hope you have recovered from your hospital stay.
I am doing not too badly, still very tired, can't seem to shake it but only have 2 chemo sessions to go then i will be on a break, don't know how long for but hope it's for a while.
How are you doing, well i hope. It won't be long till hopefully we get away for a week or so, i know i could do with a wee break, have you any plans for a holiday over the summer, i am still reading all the posts but not posting much myself, mostly because i'm never sure what to say.
Better not forget this post is about sally whittaker, i was really shocked when i heard about her and i hope she keeps well.
Lots of love Monica.
I too want to join in with sending my best wishes to Sally. I thought she looked great minus her headscarf. Funnily enough I was not surprised about her diagnosis as I think if she hadnt have been going through it herself she would have talked more about her storyline in the press.
Hi Everyone, Been reading all the posts with great interest. I didn't know until recently that Sally was suffering from cancer in real life, I think she did a great job at Christmas, although I do have to agree with Jo68 about the portrayal of this dreadful disease on the media. Every soap opera has covered this story at some point, Emmerdale, Eastenders etc. The drama goes on for a few weeks, they have the operation (looking fabulous all the time) and then it's never, ever mentioned again. They never seem to have to go for chemo and show themselves wearing scarves or suffering the pain which we all go through whether it's chemo, rads, whatever. It drives me nuts!
This is my second run-in with this disease, I had it eighteen years, mast, chemo, rads, tamoxifen and now the clever little buggers have silently crept into my liver and spine. Bummer! I also wear my makeup everyday even though I don't always feel like it and fortunately I have not lost my hair although it's in terrible condition as are my nails and my eyelashes are scrappy and I've lost quite a few.
I just wish for once, they would show the real effects of it on the tv so I'm with you there Jo68.
Good luck to everyone, hope you are all feeling good today. Lots of love and hugs. Dianne x x x
I know previously there were alot of women on this site thought the portrayal on corrie was not good or beffiting for the majority (see older prev posts).
This journey is personal and one we all would not wish on anyone, and yes some do still wear make up.
Having been almost in stage 4 and surviving of which I thought nye on impossible as well as mastectomy & lymph node removal (level 3) chemo first due to the state of the mass in breast and lymph nodes followed by rads and herceptin since feb 10 and will for next yr plus 8yrs of further hormone treatment I wouldnt wish on my worst enemy.
but there is a big failure to show breast cancer in its real light I'm sorry but its true and for the majority no matter how decent and lady like we want to continue to be it rips us to shreds at some point and its high time with all cancers this was shown.
dont get me wrong, I too dress up and try to be normal, but for the purpose of education lets show it as it is.
my heart goes out to everyone in this not so exclusive club.
it does not matter rich or poor, beggarman or theif its horrid,but if me, little me could get the tv/paper time, I would be lively, fun but tell and show how it really is.
people locally see the real me and thank me for showing or telling them what its really like. I guess thats just my way and does not suit everyone!!!!
I was very sorry to hear of Sally's news yesterday...I can't believe how she managed to play the role as she did whilst going through this herself...I did watch it and thought she had played the part so well..I wish her all the best in her future recovery and return to work...we all know what a challenge that can be....
Must admit i was full of admiration for Sally when i opened the newspaper and she was sitting with her hair just starting to show.
I know i could not do it and when i go out i always wear some make-up and try and look okay, i did it before and i will keep doing it.
Funnily enough i wondered where she got to but never thought it was bc.
I too wish Sally Whittaker the very best and hope she copes well with this horrible disease.
The scene in Coronation Street which struck me most was when Sally was standing in the street (obviously having recently been given her diagnosis - although the general public didn't know) and the camera whirled around and around whilst she stood transfixed. If ever there was a more accurate fictional portrayal of that 'moment' then I would like to see it! It is a tribute both to the woman and her power as an actress that this 'moment' took my breath away.
I wish you all you wish yourselves...
So sorry to hear about Sallys real life DX of BC, goodness knows how she managed to play those scenes portraying BC at christmas, i wondered why she had been away for so long.
Hugs to her and her family.
Was so sorry to read today of Lynn Redgrave who died yesterday after a 7 year journey with BC, so very sad.
I have found the news over the last few days very upsetting as i am sure have many more.
As I had my first check up on Friday since being dx in Feb 08 and thankfully all ok for now it has come at what has been I find a very emotional few days. I wonder am I alone in finding a checkup very emotional. It brings back so many many very bad memories. I only managed to get this check up by asking to be referred to a different hospital where it is their policy to check every six months from dx. There does not seem to be any standard for checkups. Treatment yes.
The bc journey is a long hard road for some of us and I find the future uncertain. I was unfortunate to have a mastectomy 6 lymph nodes involved, 4 of FEC & taxotere, the taxotere I found to be dreadful, 12 rads, 18 herceptin and 5 years of Arimidex.
I developed lymphoedema early on in Dec 08 - again little help so far - and have terrible pains in my feet caused by the Arimidex so much so that it is difficult to walk at times. Also my hair and nails are in a terrible state.
So it is difficult to feel positive all in all but many say who have not had it but isnt it great there are so many treatments now.
But good luck to all of those going through treatment, take good care of yourselves it does make a difference I found to the tolerance of treatment, eating well when you can and the right things is also very important I found.
I just feel sorry and sad for everyone who has BC whatever the scale of the illness .
To be in the public eye and have to try and look cheery when you might actually be feeling like poo , I don´t think i could do that .Have just heard that Lynne redgrave has died , it´s certainly no respecter of wealth and fame .
However the media portray it , it won´t suit all of us , and I´m sure there´s a lot of people with BC who don´t want to read anything about it ,find it hard enough to cope with it themselves without reading about others .
This topic has moved from the first post focus which was how celebs are 'presented' to the public via the media. I know that they only have a small level of control over the info/pics issued, but the lives they live are so different to those of us in the real world that of couse we will see the 'glossy' side of BC.Just as I wouldnt go out without my 'slap', they are the same. I like to look as good as I can, same as before my DX.
I feel sad when I hear this oft reported 'scale' of treatment-'only dcis' or 'only rads' or 'only whatever'.
I 'only' had DCIS, multi-focal,no node involvement,had mastectomy then Tamoxifen, but I still had BC.The effects to your emotions are similar, if not the treatment.
I dont know what is recorded in the national statistics for BC, but I know several ladies who have had the same kind of treatment as me.We are all different and manage this whole journey in our own way.
I agree with everything you say. There are those of us who are going through hell to get rid of this horrid disease and yet the celebrity stars who have breast cancer seem to come out unscathed or is the press, media and the stars money hiding it?
Im on my fifth chemo (tax) and what a horrid chemo it is. It has been reduced by 20% as I was so bad last time. the tips of my fingers are dry and cracked, I have bone and joint ache, I'm petrified of dying and lay awake at night thinking is this my last night or will I survive chemo, herceptin, radiotherapy and tamoxifen.
Without my current treatment I was given a 65% chance of survival for five years as I am grade 3, 2 positive nodes and her2 positive. I want to know what the famous people suffer from.
I know one person who had breast cancer 20 years ago and had a mastectomy like me, but no reconstruction, not like me and that is it, no chemo or radiotherapy.
I thought at the time the characters portrayal of breast cancer was pretty poor and a wasted opportunity. Really shocked to hear in real life Sally has also joined this not so exclusive club, but I still feel even more that yet again a wasted opp by TV or celebs to assist in hilighting this disease. People who do hilight it appear to have lower stage cancer (no demeening that at all) but the number of people I hear talk about it as though it is a minor op/condition is unreal.
Sally Whittaker has had chemo etc and what a great way to promote would have been to have this on the show, I noticed her picture in Hello mag, I'm sorry maybe I am bitter and twisted but noone evershows the world the round fat face from steriods or herceptin, the lose of eye brows and lashes (always painted on or falsh on show) or the bald head (although sally has done this). For once why does someone not just show it how it is so everyone really knows, I get sick and tired of all the pretence. There are more diagnosis at a higher grading and stage than we see on tv.(to those ladies and men with lower grading again i am not deemining your plight) I just think people would do more in lots of ways and after all it is about educating people.
Even I kept a little video diary to show people.
Come on BCC and those TV shows/press etc that contact BCC lets get real. Stop painting up the cancer women for photo shoots and show us as we really are - anyway on publications it would be nice to show a bad day and a good cancer day. You know the days we cant be bothered to put on make up and pretend eye brow and lashes as well as the days we do want to be feminine again!!!
I do wish EVERYONE in this not so exclusive club well.
Sorry if my ranting makes anyone feel worse today
i am so blown away that Sally managed to film those scenes, what a fabulous woman, i have seen the news of the world and sally had done a magazine interview which is out on tuesday ( don't know whcih mag tho) and has donated the fee to charity, plus she was already championing this cause for all of us who have been through this, are going through this and sadly will go through it in time to come. I for one was glad to have seen the corry storyline when i was diagnosed with this, though i never dreamt it would affect me a few short weeks after watching it. I just think well done, well done, well done, well done.
Never realised what a good actress she was! No way l could have gone through that knowing l had bc
Sending her and her family our thoughts and love
wondered why she had disappeared, must have been so hard for her, hope she told the writers what it is really like. Wish her well as every other woman or man who has to go through this xxx
The press will always sensationalise, it's how they attract readers & sell copies, which is after all their primary aim. Who was it who once said there was no such thing as bad publicity ?
We need loads more research to find out why there are so many of us in this horrible club that none of us wanted to join, so wouldn't it be good if the press donated some of the revenue that they perceive they've made by publishing these stories to that cause ?
I wish Sally all the very best, it must have been so hard for her to be filming what we all thought was a fictional storyline while going through it for real. We've said before that the celebs may not have the same pressures as we common folk, but, my god they certainly have their own stuff to deal with. We're all equal in this situation.
Really sorry to hear this. I also had wondered why she always seemed to be hiding away in Corrie.
Hugs and strength to her and her family
I'm with you on that one. I suppose that our culture fetishes breasts so it's almost inevitable. Doesn't mean it has to stay that way and it would be good to see cancer charities working with the media including glossy magazines to get facts right.
Sad to hear - always sad to hear of another diagnosis.
But honestly this tabloid article is EVERYTHING I hate about the way this disease is presented in the media - "killer disease" "tragedy" "heartbreaking" "horrific" "courageous" "battle"
"grim" - all the blooming cliches.
Heart disease kills more women than breast cancer but you never hear a heart disease diagnosis talked of in these terms.
I would really like to see the cancer charities putting some pressure on the media to take their collective foot off the over-emotive pedal. And get them to FACT CHECK.
Yes cancer is disgusting and frightening but there is almost a fetishism about the word "cancer" that I know drives oncologists round the bend. When women are diagnosed with the disease they are dealing with the reality of it as well as the OTT myths attached to it too.
So sorry to hear this,we wondered where she had gone.
I can't imagine how hard it must have been filming those BC scenes.
Take care Sally,
I caught a quick glimpse of the News of the World headline on BBC news and have just found this story on the News of the World website...
apparantly Sally was diagnosed just before they started filming the scenes shown at Christmas... which had to be filmed in an intensive block due to her illness... it all puts a totally different light on how Coronation Street dealt with the story and why so little has been seen of Sally since...
sending her and her family lots of love