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September 11, 2013 / Kate Gross

Neddy in No Man’s Land

“Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place” (Susan Sontag, Illness as a Metaphor)


As quickly as it all began my cancer treatment is, for the moment, over. 11 months, 2 operations and 12 cycles of cytotoxins, countless blood tests, 42 mornings injecting myself to boost my white blood counts, more than a month in hospital, all book-ended last week with a scan showing no sign of the Nuisance. So I move into a new category, from metastatic cancer patient to a NED: no evidence of disease.


When I was diagnosed last October, a (foolish) google search showed I had an 8% chance of surviving for 5 years. Now, I have a 50% chance of not just surviving till my kids are 9, but surviving without cancer. Well. Not in as the kingdom of the sick.


Writing these words feels amazing. I’ve woken up for the past few mornings with a smile, a warm glow as I feel my body gain strength as the toxins disappear. I even had some booze at the weekend, a sure sign I’m on the up.


Writing these words also feels like tempting fate. I’m being scanned every 3 months for the next few years, and the coin toss could come down against me at any time. The Nuisance could still be lurking inside, waiting to regroup, to adapt its tactics to confound the foxes. It’s a clever old bugger (so clever and old it even has a biography now – which, incidentally, is an incredible book). And as I presaged in my last post, living in this no man’s land is my new normal, and it’s going to take some getting used to. But damn, it feels good to have 3 whole months ahead of me using my good passport.


I’ve got a lot more to say, and a lot, lot more to write. So expect to hear from me. Other than that, I will be picking the boys up from their new school. I will be buying directional, autumnal clothes and wearing high heels. There will be dieting, and also fine dining. I shall do some work for AGI. Billy will mostly be eating my cooking, taking me to the cinema, and working very hard so we can afford lots of mini-breaks (he will also be running – you can sponsor him here for the Great Eastern Run in a few weeks time).


For once, I don’t mind autumn coming. We’ve got a lot of fun to have.





Leave a Comment
  1. Kat / Sep 11 2013 5:57 pm


  2. subo711 / Sep 11 2013 5:58 pm

    Oh, Kate! This is FANTASTIC and AMAZING and WONDERFUL news I am hearing, across the pond in Houston! Your will and spirit and great treatment has pulled you through. In time, you will see that this was an experience to be treasured–your enemies (like this disease) can be your best teachers, and I can see you’ve learned so much and are still on track to greater things. So happy for you!

  3. Jenny / Sep 11 2013 5:58 pm

    Still making me smile too – just all too amazing really xx

  4. Jess Simpson / Sep 11 2013 6:16 pm

    Kate- such wonderful news!! Absolutely thrilled for you.
    Please keep writing and stay well. i’ll come bring William to Cambridge for coffee soon if you can spare the time..? will facebook xxx

  5. Jean Lafferty / Sep 11 2013 6:16 pm

    Hello Kate,

    You don’t know me, I am Russell’s mum (Platt) that is and I have been following your blog from the beginning!! It is thrilling news to hear you are at a great stage – you have a strong mind which is
    the healer of many an illness and grim nasty – keep yours strong and make it work for you for that
    is the one thing we all have that we can control in a positive or negative way!! Thinking of you and
    wishing you every good health for a long, long time!! Hugs Jean Lafferty

  6. becs / Sep 11 2013 6:18 pm

    What wonderful news Kate, enjoy yourself xxx

  7. Ann Marie Bennett / Sep 11 2013 6:22 pm

    I left my comment on your first blog in error. I am so over the moon, I didn’t look where I was typing!
    Just fab xx

  8. Kate N / Sep 11 2013 6:39 pm

    Just incredible news. Know your personal email/phone will be flooded with good wishes, too, and maybe more shrieky expletives than here :O) Can’t wait to hear more from you in this v good place. xxx

  9. Tracey Lattimore / Sep 11 2013 6:54 pm

    Brilliant. That is THE best news ever. A zillion reasons to feel cheerful xxxx

  10. Josie / Sep 11 2013 6:54 pm

    Wonderful. Enjoy some convalescence, Kate. And please, please do keep writing.

  11. Suzy Meek Geere / Sep 11 2013 7:05 pm

    This is very good news Kate, I have been thinking of you.

  12. Jessica Brand / Sep 11 2013 7:33 pm

    Wonderful news. Really wonderful. Enjoy the school gate and the eating and the not eating and the movies, etc.

  13. Tiff / Sep 11 2013 8:29 pm

    AWESOME!!! Bring the boys over and we will charge around the park being victorious knights, even if it is raining, and eat cake to celebrate! Masses of love to you all, Tiff and clan Drake xxxxxxx

  14. Lorna / Sep 11 2013 8:43 pm

    I usually have to steel myself to read your posts, but this one I just couldn’t wait to read. Wonderful news! Just looking forward to seeing you soon and giving you the biggest hug! Xx

  15. Helen and Ant Measures / Sep 11 2013 10:33 pm

    We’re so thrilled for you and your family Kate. It really is wonderful news. X

  16. Pippa Andrews (Bec's mum) / Sep 12 2013 3:26 pm

    Such fantastic news, Kate. We have been thinking of you. Hope you get your strength back quickly and have some fun. xx

  17. Emma Flynn / Sep 13 2013 7:26 am

    That really is the BEST EVER news! We are so happy for you. Absolutely brilliant!

  18. sparky / Sep 13 2013 7:48 am

    By far your best blog post to date! I am grinning from ear to ear. Much love. xxx

  19. Suzanna / Sep 13 2013 12:45 pm

    Wonderful news Kate!! Fantastic. Look forward to future posts, hearing about the fun things you’ve got in store. Loads of love xxx

  20. Caroline Al Shammas / Sep 14 2013 11:27 am

    Love you Kaker xxx

  21. Anna Cook / Sep 15 2013 7:05 am

    NED NED NED! What joy to read this! So bring on Autumn and its glorious colours and fun kicking dead leaves about with the kids! Much love xxxxxxx

  22. Lou / Sep 15 2013 5:05 pm

    And after a year, we finally get to work together – I am extremely excited! Alana and I are really looking forward to seeing you next week x

  23. Patrick Raleigh / Sep 15 2013 8:28 pm

    What utterly elating, wonderful news. I am very happy for you. Patrick.

  24. Yvonne / Sep 17 2013 5:21 pm

    THIS is awesome news and YOU are one fierce lady. I don’t know what else to say. I’m beyond thrilled and very very grateful.

  25. Laurie Lee / Oct 10 2013 1:26 pm

    Dear Kate. Wonderful news to read this. Let me know when you’re in town with AGI so we can meet up. Lots of love

  26. John Primrose / Oct 15 2013 7:39 pm

    So so so elated to read this Kate, much love to you and your family

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