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    If you have popped over here from my facebook page could you please add comments in the blog rather than on the link on facebook itself. I dont want to worry YD unnecessarily Thanks. You can now use your facebook log in so you dont need to enter extra details if you like
  • All about Gertrude

    Gertrude is the name we decided to call my cancerous breast hence the title of this blog. Although I had to keep my breast through chemo and radiation due to the nature of IBC - once it 'blew up' it no longer looked like my breast and I couldn't wait to get rid of it. Calling it Gertrude was a way of seperating it from myself. This main page is where I write about the general goings on that relate to Gertrude, there is another page that are more a diary of treatments etc This blog is a public blog so although I am being very honest about my battle with Gertrude I have "changed names to protect the innocent" - because everyone can see it if you write comments on the blog pages please use the same abbreviations for other family member or friends that I do. Please feel free to ask questions if you want clarification because then other people who might have been wondering the same thing can read your question and our answers.
  • Abbreviations

    OH- Other Half (Hubby), OD- Oldest Daughter, MD- Middle Daugher, YD- Youngest Daughter, SB- soulja boi MD's fiance in the army (now ex fiance), OD's R OD's partner, BS- Breast surgeon whose initials just happen to be BS as well, BC- our GP (family doctor), Dr H- my medical oncologist, all other friends family etc will be referred to as initials etc
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    No Princess Alone button


Words have a lot of power, especially words around cancer,  and it was one of the reasons I had put off telling my family and friends who weren’t on Facebook or read my blog regularly that we are dealing with another scare.   In my Family post of last week – I was debating whether to tell my sisters that were over from Australia for niece S’s wedding whether or not I was waiting to hear about whether ‘Gertrude’ had metastasised to lung or bone.  In the end I did although I still hadn’t decided whether I would or not until the situation presented itself.  SisT bought a new boyfriend with her from Australia and they arrived after we did but ended up sitting directly in front of us.  She introduced me to L and then said “How are you going?” in a  concerned voice.  L  looked at her, silently questioning her concern, and she said “She’s had Breast Cancer twice” .   That took me aback because I don’t actually think of it that way and when she repeated the question my “I’m doing OK” reply didn’t come out with the level of conviction that I had intended.  So I told her that we were waiting to hear this week .  I then thought I had better tell SisH as well and did so after the ceremony, during the reception. 

OH visited his mother yesterday and told her and I told my friend S (who isn’t on Facebook) who had been texting me trying to arrange a catchup.  I then thought I better ring AE the only one of my closer Uni friends that I hadn’t talked to in the last week to check that she had seen it on Facebook or been told so it didn’t come as a shock to her. We are planning a get-together at the end of the week and I didn’t want her to feel left out if the topic came up (whether the news is good or bad)  – she had seen it on Facebook and been reading my blog but hadn’t commented so our conversation was easier than some of the others.

We discussed the way things are worded and the fact that although SisT uses “she has had Breast cancer twice” or OH told his boss in this post about “waiting to see whether her cancer has come back for the third time” – it’s not actually how I think of it. I feel that those words makes it seem worse than I actually perceive it.   As much as I acknowledge the recurrence I don’t so much think of it as a thing to count as a separate countable ‘entity’  I tend to think of it as more of a continuation of the same, that ‘Gertrude’ came back. Like wise I put myself as a IBC survivor not a 2x survivor although by some reckonings that’s what I am.

We then started to joke about the fact that I had jokingly thought that if ‘she’ was back this time I should change my blog’s name to ‘Get Out and Stay Out Gertrude’ because ‘she’ obviously isn’t getting the message.  That I should issue ‘her’ with a trespass notice or harassment order.  Thus words can make it seem less threatening. 

Words around cancer can be scary, but they don’t have to be.

Leave a comment


  1. I am praying Gertrude has not returned and you will be given a clean bill of health by the doctors. I know if must be nerve wracking to have to wait for this kind of news.

  2. Great post! I am planning to republish it this week at Being Cancer Network. I will include two links to your site. You should see an increase in traffic. This also means you are now included in our “Honor Roll for Excellence in Cancer Writing.” I will send you the code for your award badge.
    Take care, Dennis

  3. You’re absolutely right. Words hold great power! I remember the 1st time i joked about having cancer with my sister. She looked at me, devastated, and said “Not yet. I’m not there yet.” It’s hard!


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