My Herts Life: Nicola Bourne
PUBLISHED: 21:18 17 August 2015 | UPDATED: 21:24 17 August 2015
Harpenden's Nicola Bourne, shortlisted for BritMums' Brilliance in Blogging Award, talks to Carrie Bone about the cancer journey that inspired her writing
You turned to blogging when you were diagnosed with bowel cancer at 31, why? Although a lot of people have cancer, it can still feel very isolating. I remember searching online for information from real women about what they were really going through when they had cancer but I found a complete lack of personal and insightful experiences. I have always written everything down, so the blog seemed like a natural progression for me. Coming towards the end of my treatment, I wanted to help other women affected by cancer, offering them a resource that made them feel they weren’t going through it alone and I wanted to start publishing my writing, which led me to start my blog. Thankfully, you survived the disease; are their enduring affects on you, your husband and two young children?
I think one of the toughest thoughts with cancer is the worry that it will return, or strike somewhere else within the family. At the moment it’s not possible for my children to be tested for the genetic link so that remains a fundamental concern for my husband and I.
My cancer treatment put me into early menopause, I have ongoing problems with internal scar tissue and a permanent colostomy bag, all of which has had an impact and been extremely challenging at times. I try and I keep it in perspective - I got to keep my life in exchange!
You’ve also written a book, The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer, what’s the message? You learn so much going through the cancer process and think, ‘I wish I had known that earlier’. As I came to the end of treatment I decided to collate all the information together into a book. I wrote it because it is the book I wish I had. I wanted a book that was going to help me understand how cancer was going to impact everyday life. The sorts of questions I had back then included ‘How am I going to tell my children?’, ‘Can we still go on that holiday?’ and ‘Who will look after the children while I’m in treatment?’ I found an abundance of medical information but all the normal life questions were much harder to find answers to. Again, it goes back to ensuring that people have all the information they may need.
You are now taking a degree in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Hertfordshire. What are your goals for the future? Towards the end of my treatment I knew I wanted to finally fulfil lifelong dreams of reading literature and creative writing at university and being a writer, all of which I am doing. If I am brutally honest, I’m not sure I would have made these things happen for myself had I not had a face-off with my own mortality. I often joke that most people realise they want to spend more time with their family, where as I decided I wanted to spend less time at home, but you know, whatever works!