Allow me to tell you about a few of the friends who came to the Bah! to cancer party.
Whenever I mention Jude at home, Joy chimes in with, "Jude's so lovely!" And she is. Since my dance with cancer began she's been lovelier still, bringing books and dinner, meeting for lunch and cancer book research, and throwing the 'Hooray! No more chemotherapy!' lunch. Oh, and she gave me the title for this blog. But I think you can see from her face what a star she is. That's the face of a friend.
I sometimes feel as though Rebecca is from another age. She is one of the most polite and considerate people I know. She writes thank you notes. She remembers birthdays. She is always on time. She can (as far as I can see) turn her hand to pretty much anything. I believe 'accomplished' would have been the word, a century ago. Rebecca is ridiculously clever and has a very grown up job (which only Alan fully understands) but despite that she finds time to be a truly committed friend. She's witty and thoughtful and when the dragon appeared in my life she sent me the loveliest description of her, right down to the colour of her talons.
(Oh, and between them Jude and Rebecca got me into the novels of Georgette Heyer - perfect convalescent reading, with feisty heroines and rakish charmers a-plenty.)
Libby and I met on an Open University summer school last year, and we became really good friends. Everyone swears undying friendship on the last night (it's part of the study contract) but Libby and I have a real rapport. And despite a year that's been tough, exciting (she married the lovely Alex in July) and busy - filmmakers tend not to work 9-5 - she's really made me feel that she's never too busy to be supportive.
Here's Gilly, with her partner Johan.
Gilly is one of those unexpected gifts that cancer has brought me. We knew each other through work, pre-diagnosis, but when Gilly found out I had a breast cancer she really came into her own. She sends me long, kind and insightful emails and has the knack of knowing just what to say and just when to say it. When I came out from having my PICC line fitted, shaky and scared, I took out my phone to call Alan (I had wrongly assumed that the PICC line insertion would be quick and painless and nothing to write home about, so had gone on my own) and found an email from Gilly that was so encouraging and supportive that I sat in a hospital corridor and sobbed my little heart out - but in a good way. Had it not been for Gilly's email, I'd have been sobbing my heart out in a very, very bad way.