Breast cancer lesson number 130: How to holiday with no hair

First, find a cliff (preferably a windy one that is not too far from home so you don’t need to contemplate travel insurance and so that your acute oncology hotline card is still useful).

Next, enjoy a bracing walk up to said cliff (avoiding the edge so as not to add cliff diving to the day’s itinerary).

When you reach the top, expose your beautifully bald head to the elements (having liberally applied factor 50+ sun cream before the climb due to increased skin sensitivity while on chemo). I am nothing if not a health-conscious blogger!

Then, enjoy! Feel the wind blast your head. Savour the fact you can see for miles without having to remove strands of hair from your face and line of sight.

While I would never wish anyone to shave their head as a way of sharing in this truly invigorating experience, it is a pretty fantastic way to make the most of a hairless situation! My mum’s good friend recommended I seek out the sensation, and that’s why it is stands proudly at number 17 on my Brighter life list. I must say, it is every bit as exhilarating as it sounds!

I enjoyed the dress rehearsal in April in Dorset with my parents when I was still sporting a number two. And, I have to say, I am delighted to have been able to tick it off at last. Made possible by the wonderful Briggs family, who planned this adventure, it is a cliff top I (my little bald head and fellow coast path walkers) will never forget.

Of course, we don’t have to climb cliffs (physically or metaphorically) to achieve our dreams. We just need to work out what they are and then carve out the path that makes them possible. Life is too short to stand in the sidelines wondering ‘what if?’ I set up my Brighter life list because I want to be reminded of that fact every day. It shouldn’t have taken a serious illness to bring everything into focus. But it did.

If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, then now is the time to start planning it. And, if you’ve already got a list of your own, but lack the motivation to start, now is the time to get ticking.

Today is not a rehearsal for tomorrow. Today is all we know we have.

Breast cancer lesson number 66: Always look on the ‘brighter’ side of life

What better way is there to spend an Easter Saturday than up a cliff on the Dorset Coast path? When the sun went in it was quite bracing, but with the wind on my face and running through my tiny strands of hair, it was a wonderful reminder of all that is beautiful and wonderful in the world.

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Standing on a cliff with no hair is number 17 on my ‘brighter life list’. I still have hair around the bald patches (although a lot less after my latest shower), so it doesn’t quite score me my first tick on the list, but as a dress rehearsal, it was pretty exhilarating. If you are ever presented with the opportunity in your life (and I hope it has nothing to do with illness), I would encourage you to get yourself to a coast path – and fast!

If today didn’t remind you of how happy you are to be alive, then make sure tomorrow does. My brighter life list is about seizing the day and not waiting for happiness to find me. I’ve spent too much of my time wishing my life away. Now I want to cherish every moment.

It’s time to stop dreaming and start planning.