Someone get me a freakin’ gold jumpsuit!

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I am a tad excited. Okay, that’s a big fat mahoosive lie! I’ve given myself another excitement headache I’m so completely and utterly chuffed! Because today, a couple of hours ago actually, I did something that once upon a time I would’ve thought was completely out of reach. But then very little is ever really out of reach, I understand this now. Not even body-popping with Johnny Depp in matching gold jumpsuits. (Although that particular fantasy’s on hold after the latest Dior ad put me right off him. Sigh.) Anyway, poppin’ with Johnny’s another issue entirely, and probably not one anyone else needs to know too much about. So, an hour or so ago…

After scribbling my signature on a few cheques for the school bills I owe, drumming lessons, lunch money, typical Monday stuff… I eagerly moved my clammy hands to sign a couple of other bits and bobs I’ve been anxiously watching the letterbox for. Paperwork. Contracts, to be more specific. The business end of an offer totally inconceivable a few years back, my next two book deals.

Say what? Booky what’s? TWO BLOOMIN BOOK DEALS! With publishing colossus, Harlequin/Harper Collins?!

Holy moly, I need an aspirin. This doesn’t happen, does it? Somewhere between loading the dishwasher this morning and burning dinner this evening, people don’t go around signing book deals, do they? Hell yee-HAW they do! The very lucky buggers, anyway. Y’know I might need two aspirin, actually. This really is pretty wonderful. A couple of years ago, when I still fancied Johnny to death, I didn’t have any grasp, whatsoever, on how things would pan out for me and this writing lark. I was given a pretty darned fantastico opportunity, a shot at being an author. I never, ever, expected more than that initial book deal, let alone to still be hanging around two years on indulging in something I love and getting to call it my job, something I’ve managed to perfect saying now while holding a straight face.  Because it’s true! It’s flipping true! It wasn’t a flash in the pan, it’s here… in black and white… with my signature scrawled at the bottom of it. I am a writer. I’m still here! And I’m going to be here for a while yet, thank goodness. Thanks Heavens. Thank the universe. Thank the good folk who buy my stories.

After three novels, lots of ups and downs, the occasional bout of self-doubt and thankfully a whole load of utter contentedness, we’ve come a long way, baby. And we’re still going. Signing on the dotted. Raring to go. Now all I need me is a gold freakin jumpsuit, because Johnny or no, I’ve got me some serious body-poppin to get done tonight 🙂 xx

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C is for Cancer, X is for Courage

Of the wayward monikers our mum bestowed upon each of her three daughters, Ximena (Mena) definitely got the top spot over Anouska (*waves*) and Tarien (the middle one) for name awkwardness. You try sitting in a waiting room, listening out for someone to call that mouthful out. Zim-mee-nah… Hex-zim-mennah… Sacagawea.. Jeez, Mother. Give your kid a chance. You know that bit, on Four Weddings and a Funeral? When Rowan Atkinson tries to say ‘Sinjin’ or ‘Singeon’… see what I mean? Can’t even spell it. But yeah, there’s a lot of that for Mena.

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Anyhow, I’m digressing, soz. These days ‘X’ not only stands for my sister’s dodgy initial, but for everything I think is marvellous about her, not least her courage.

It’s another big week for Mena. Tomorrow she will have the scans that will take a detailed look at what exactly is going on inside the mass occupying her right lung. We know there’s a lot of cancer in there, there’s also fluid and infection and other nasties her body is trying to deal with. In my last vlog about it ( https://anouskaknight.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/fabbo-friday-feeling/ ) I was a little overwhelmed by the fact that at last… AT LAST… Mena had received some positive news from her oncologist in that, after changing around her cocktail of drugs and crossing every finger we had between us, the scans had finally shown a reduction in the size of the mass.

The mass. Not the tumour.

A fact that dawned on me with a swift kick in the guts shortly after I posted that vlog.

So on the evening before these more detailed scans will take place, the fronds of anxiety are starting to creep back in, ever thick and fast. And if I think on how hard it is at times for the rest of us to plaster a smile on it, I can only imagine what Mena’s thoughts must be like to deal with before she falls asleep each night. This Thursday night coming will be bloody awful for her, I should think. Waiting for the results to hit on Friday. But we’ll never know because she’ll never say.

Because Mena is courageous. I know this because instead of falling to pieces (which incidentally she has never done) she keeps it together so the rest of us can cling to her calmness like a raft. At a time when I tell you now, I’d be milking the cancer card for every favour, scrap of sympathy, cooked meal and foot rub going, Mena is always just chilled. Always ace, always facing her illness beautiful bald head on.

So whilst cancer has taken the letter C in our world, it hasn’t taken the top spot. Because around here, folks, courage very definitely got crowned with the X.