Health Update | 10 August 2017

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Yesterday I received my first ‘fare-thee-well, thank you for your life’ letter. A bona fide and very final goodbye. It was loving and beautiful and I got it for what it was, but it was premature. I also realised that it was most likely a response to my recent Facebook post in which I shared how very ill I am and said, “I am pre-paring to go – as in paring away the fears, regrets and attachments that will stop me going gently into that good night.” After which, I added, “AND I am not giving up” – with some details about how I am being proactive. Both are so, peeps, and both are entirely appropriate to my situation.

I am very ill. My brain tumours are progressing and my symptoms have become debilitating. I have had severe headaches, nausea, dizziness and an exhaustion such as I have never known. The hardest part has been losing my balance, which seems to be permanent and worsening. I walk like a drunk. I need a walking stick to get anywhere and manage to potter round the garden every day with John’s help, but deeply miss walking through the fields to see the horses. It is what it is. I don’t want to get into all the medical nuances here. It’s a minefield trying to discern what’s causing what: new tumours, damage in the brain from Gamma Knife radiation over a year ago, effects of brain surgery a few months ago and possible side effects from experimental new treatment I have started. It is quite the ride.

Under these circumstances, which are clearly perilous, it is wise and sensible to be ready for any outcome. It is equally wise to continue directing my treatment, exploring options and doing all I can to stay here long enough to leave without regret. To that end, I have a way to go. So, I am on the case. John is helping me. My medical team is alongside me. None have given up on me, yet we all recognise how near the brink I am living. There is no clear solution. We have chosen a medical path that falls outside the UK license, both privately and on the NHS, which presents another raft of challenges but really looks like my best option right now. When I feel ready I will share more details of what I’m up to and how it is unfolding. For now, please know that I am alive and present and working hard to stay.

This is also a dark night of the soul. As such, it is time for me to retreat from the world for a while, to turn in, put my body first and listen to its wisdom. For now, this is between me and my Maker. I assure you it is rich. I assure you I am gaining spiritually as much as I seem to be losing physically. I am whispering. I am letting my hand be forced. Sometimes we need to die to parts of ourselves in order to be free. This is the part I know is non-negotiable, whether the result is literal or not. Therefore, this is what has my full attention.

Meantime, my hair has purple ends and we exchanged our sensible car for a secondhand long-lease convertible which John drives me around in when the sun shines, purple ends blowing in the breeze. As you do when you are unable to drive. It’s a symbol of my will to live. We plan to spend a week in Devon with my sister and her kids soon, where I won’t be able to participate in much activity, but can soak up my daughter’s joy when she screams in the cold waves. I will likely stay quiet in our cottage most days and write. That is the one thing I am able to do at present, for limited periods each day at least. The universe has slowed me down, pulled me back from all my activities out in the world, forced stillness upon me (even turning my head to the side can spin me out) and plonked me in bed in front of my computer screen. And my next book is coming out. I can’t help noticing that my potential demise seems to be an excellent birth canal for books. Before taking generic medications , be sure to read the instruction at because it has contraindications.

Bear with me dear ones. I won’t be blogging for a while, but John or I will inform you if there is any serious change either way. If you follow me on Facebook, I will occasionally post a message there. It will be at least six weeks before my next brain scan, when we can see if the new treatment is making a difference. During that time, I hope to find better ways to manage my symptoms and improve my quality of life. I didn’t know muscles could ache from being sedentary. I am on steroids, which really help the headaches, but present other challenges that I need to deal with as mindfully as I can.

So, there it is. I am getting ready for all the unknowns that are coming next; trusting God while tying up my camel; keeping my powder dry. Or, as my dear friend Catherine Rolt hilariously advised me: Plan your funeral. Then live.

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  • Cathy McIntyre
    11th Aug 2017, 2:08 pm  Reply

    Dear Sophie I don’t know you except through your book and your writing. I’m thinking of you and your family, conserve your energy for you and yours. Take care. Warm wishes. Cathy

  • Chubs
    11th Aug 2017, 2:05 pm  Reply

    Darling Soph
    Warrior, friend, wordsmith. Crazy convertible driving chick. You have fought the fight. You have run the race. You have kept the faith. Whatever comes may it be packaged with joy, hope and peace, and entirely surrounded by love from us all. Chubs, Matthew, Orlando, Ivo and Ludo

  • 11th Aug 2017, 12:09 pm  Reply

    Dear Sophie
    May all that you wish for be yours. My husband is doing better just now on this crazy incurable cancer journey, but it has not always been so. We are with you, and everyone else who is dealing with cancer, every single day and I want to thank you for your honesty and your integrity in all you have done to help others. May the road rise up to meet you as you journey through life. xx

  • 11th Aug 2017, 11:28 am  Reply

    Sophie thank you so much for posting and sharing your experiences with us. I am glad that you are putting your self and your body first and managing to write. My thoughts are with you and whatever lies ahead please know that you are surrounded by love and gratitude from all of us out here continue to be touched and helped by your pioneering work

  • Robert Nock
    11th Aug 2017, 10:28 am  Reply

    Go well, from my heart, whichever direction it might be. xxx

  • Christine Thornley
    11th Aug 2017, 10:01 am  Reply

    Dear Sophie

    You are THE most brave and inspirational woman! Your writing is wonderful and it is so good that you are able to share with us all the current situation. I hope with all my heart the new treatment is successful and that you enjoy your time in Devon. As for the purple hair blowing in the breeze – love it! You are always in my thoughts and I send you love and hope xxx

  • Clare Vivian-Neal
    11th Aug 2017, 8:53 am  Reply

    Deeply moved by your word. Stilled. Silenced. Quiet. Sending you love and courage each day.

  • Claire Carruthers
    11th Aug 2017, 8:50 am  Reply

    Much love and ongoing prayers and thank you for your beautiful honesty. xxc

  • Silvia
    11th Aug 2017, 7:14 am  Reply

    Dear Sophie. I am deeply touched by your spirit, honesty, by what you convey in these words. You are in my thoughts and prayers daily. I am happy to hear that you write a new book.You are such an inspiration.
    Love from Silvia in Germany

  • Zoe F
    11th Aug 2017, 7:01 am  Reply

    You are an amazing woman and to do all that with such an illness dragging you down! A true inspiration and a positive soul which comforts me so much with my current battle. Sending all my love and sunshine xx

  • Rosanna
    11th Aug 2017, 6:50 am  Reply

    Sono con te….con tutto il cuore.

  • Susan Woodhouse
    11th Aug 2017, 3:06 am  Reply

    As always Sophie it is your writing that touches me from afar, you express so beautifully and eloquently the experience of your life right now. That sharing is the gift you keep giving all of us, your insight and grace and articulation of the almost unarticulate-able.
    I send you love across from the other side of the world. Love to your dear John who is with you and of course Gabriella xxxx

  • Jan Gowling
    11th Aug 2017, 12:03 am  Reply

    I think of you every day dear Sophie.
    Thank you for your wisdom, for your beautiful writing, for being so brave and ferocious, and for helping so many of us as we try to make sense of the cards we have been dealt.
    Jan Gowling

  • Jules
    10th Aug 2017, 11:38 pm  Reply

    Strength and love to you and yours – onwards and preserve yourself xxx

  • Karyn
    10th Aug 2017, 11:00 pm  Reply

    Thank you Sophie for this update. You are so full of words (and wisdom) while right now words fail me. So glad to hear there are still options for treatment and all my best wishes go to you in that the treatment works! Love to you and your lovely family. Xxxx

  • Ann Cassidy
    10th Aug 2017, 10:58 pm  Reply

    Sorry to hear you’re feeling so crappy at the moment but fingers crossed the new treatment will work its magic!
    Today would have been my darling sister Jean’s 80th birthday, miss her so much! She too knew the effects of radiation therapy on her brain!
    Ilove the thought of you tearing around in your convertible with your mad purple ends blowing in the breeze!
    Sending you much love

  • 10th Aug 2017, 10:53 pm  Reply

    Dear Sophie,
    I wish I could write words to you to express the the beauty and craft your writing creates that is so joyouss to read in the depths of your situation the beauty and courage you radiate is life enforcingly powerful. Thank you Sophie and so much love Tabitha

  • Diana Makens
    10th Aug 2017, 10:47 pm  Reply

    I am grateful and loving you for the YOU you are.

  • 10th Aug 2017, 10:38 pm  Reply

    Dear sophie, thank you fot your brave and honest blog. You are greatly in my prayers and i realy hope that the strategies you have chosen to follow pay off. You are a strong and resiliant lady and your big heart and wisdom have helped so many people. At risk pf addinig to meaning but unneeded advice, can i just recommend HBOT – it has been great for my brain fog caused by radiotherapy. Xxxxxxxx

  • Sabrina
    10th Aug 2017, 10:19 pm  Reply

    Hi Sophie

    Have a good time in Devon. Here’s to lots of sunshine and productive writing.

    Big hug xxxx

  • Virginia
    10th Aug 2017, 10:03 pm  Reply

    Hi Sophie, thank you so much for sharing where you’re at now, really appreciate this. Enjoy being still, I learned this when I was going cancer for the second time recently, and was truly amazed at what I gained! Thinking and praying for you and your family. Virginia

  • Jenny Meadows
    10th Aug 2017, 9:35 pm  Reply

    Once again I read, feel, stop breathing, notice, and breathe. And now I feel gratitude for you, your verve, your writing skills, your wobbly walk, your purple hair flowing in the wind, and your sharing with us the whole of what a life fully lived looks like.
    You are loved.
    Hugs from NZ.

  • 10th Aug 2017, 9:35 pm  Reply

    You are never far from my thoughts and prayers dear friend.
    Your body may be tired but your spirit is flying high.
    I can hear that your joy runs so much deeper than despair.
    After the darkness light will come.
    Much love
    Elizabeth xx

  • Sooze
    10th Aug 2017, 9:29 pm  Reply

    I am sending you my heartfelt love, Soph, and I am thinking of you, John and Gabriella. You are a force to be reckoned with – you always were and you certainly are now
    S Xxxxx

  • Mindy wiesenberg
    10th Aug 2017, 8:50 pm  Reply

    Dearest Sophie
    You have no idea how many people I have spoken to about your book. It gave me a new perspective and I have been deeply touched by your courage and the innate strength that emanates from your writing. Thank you for giving me so much and helping me through my cancer journey which unfortunately is far from over.
    I wish you continued courage.

  • Hermione Crosfield
    10th Aug 2017, 8:45 pm  Reply

    Dearest Sophie,
    I am holding you in my heart with all the love and compassion in my being. What a roller-coaster ride you are on and undertaking it all with such courage and grace. Brave spirit.
    With fond, fond love, Hermione xx

  • Lisa
    10th Aug 2017, 8:38 pm  Reply

    Sophie, I don’t know you other than through your writing- you are a beautiful writer and an extraordinary person. Take care of yourself and hope your Devon sojourn brings some joy. Thinking of you every day xx

  • Karen Ross
    10th Aug 2017, 8:29 pm  Reply

    Hi Sophie Love the hair and you have your own personal coiffeur I see. 😁. No one can tell you how to be what to to it’s your 1000s of lives x you must follow your path don’t forget to ask the angels for help..x x x x

  • Steven Walton
    10th Aug 2017, 8:17 pm  Reply

    You have described an habitat of the soul with beauty and without drama. This is a place where what resides beneath our conscious awareness can reveal itself and the fruits of the Spirit enrich our lives.

    In friendship.

  • Mary
    10th Aug 2017, 8:16 pm  Reply

    Love you and your zeal. God is using you and will continue to do so. Sending lots of love

  • Steven Walton
    10th Aug 2017, 8:16 pm  Reply


    The work of Brad Brown is manifesting itself in your life and through you the world.

    Thank you for clarifying your current health status and your continuing intentions to make the evolving future a creative lived experience. Negativity and resignation are not dominant mood states. This is empowering and inspirational.

  • Elaine Alpert
    10th Aug 2017, 8:12 pm  Reply

    Your purple hair flying in that convertible! Often many times per day I feel you living life to the edges. I love you Sophie. Remember to call Jacobus! Exx

  • Lucy
    10th Aug 2017, 8:08 pm  Reply

    Thank you for the as ever articulate update Sophie. I have been wondering how you are and am glad to see that the fighting spirit that you innately possess is as strong as ever x

  • 10th Aug 2017, 8:02 pm  Reply

    Hi Sophie, I am in exactly the same situation as you and I completely understand the whole balance problem. When I’m with my boys people judge me as a drunk and that breaks my heart. I just wanted to say hi and let you know that you’re not alone and if you want to talk anytime then that’s fine and if not then that’s fine too x

  • 10th Aug 2017, 7:35 pm  Reply

    Dear Sophie, my heart goes out to you and to John and Gabriella. May peace be with you and yours.

  • 10th Aug 2017, 7:32 pm  Reply

    Sending you my love Sophie. I read your blogs and i bow down to your boldness and strength and sense of humour. Im still saying the wrong words to the wrong people at the wrong time and when i do i think of you and chuckle. I’m not going to do that here – we’re in polite company. So when i say ‘continue the fight’ i’ll let you imagine how many swear words i’ve had to delete out of that sentence xx

  • 10th Aug 2017, 7:25 pm  Reply

    Dear Sophe,
    Your courage and beauty are immense, admirable, and infinitely inspiring.
    And you are quite the most ferocious fighter I have ever seen…
    Fight on, Sophie!
    Sending very much love…
    Barbara and all of us

  • Andrea and Roger
    10th Aug 2017, 7:15 pm  Reply

    Dear Sophie whom we have never met but whom we know, we write to thank you for the enormous encouragement your life and writings have given us. For me (Roger)the best story is the horses in the field coming over to whisper to YOU. We made a lot of use of your book and put ourselves into a good place with all its helpful hints. We wish you the very best for the time ahead.

  • Miho
    10th Aug 2017, 7:07 pm  Reply

    Sophie darling,
    Thank you so much for sharing what you are going through.
    We are thinking of you, John and Gabriella.
    Love, Mxxx

  • 10th Aug 2017, 7:05 pm  Reply

    Feeling for you and with you – touched, grateful, sad, hopeful, inspired. Trusting that you really are held – as are we all.
    xx <3

  • 10th Aug 2017, 7:04 pm  Reply

    You inspire me tremendously Sophie, and you continue to illuminate the path for so many. Blessings to you and your family, and may God give you all strength, courage, peace and love. <3

  • Pam Devine
    10th Aug 2017, 6:47 pm  Reply

    Dearest Sophie, friend whom I have never met but who has found a place in my heart. I hold your hand each morning as I meditate. Have a wonderful time in Devon with your family. Much love from Canada, Pam

  • Jane and Rob Paterson
    10th Aug 2017, 6:47 pm  Reply

    You are a real inspiration. We heard you speak in Bath, at the Assembly rooms during Bath literary festival week, and have since followed your blog.
    It sounds pretty bad for you at the moment, but just enjoy each day and know that there are many people thinking of you and wishing you well. You have given sensible advice and much strength to others, so now it’s time for you. Thank you.

  • Diane
    10th Aug 2017, 6:43 pm  Reply

    Sophie you continue to inspire and your courage and outlook is incredible. I’m so glad that you are still exploring treatments whilst acknowledging such a difficult path you are treading. I send you love and hope xxx

  • 10th Aug 2017, 6:35 pm  Reply

    I have no words – only feelings – inspired, grateful, scared, sad, uplifted, touched, held, holding, hopeful, scared, inspired, hopeful, faithful, grateful, resigned, inspired, touched, hopeful – mostly grateful for your life and for the ride with you.

  • Maggie Baldwin
    10th Aug 2017, 6:35 pm  Reply

    I am sadly often so selfish.While genuinely, genuinely wanting you to be well and to see you blessed with many more mortal years, I know that part of that desire is because it gives ME hope, gives ME strength and encouragement, that I, too, might stay here longer than first seemed possible. Please forgive. No obligation for you to be a beacon of light. Rest and be. PS – your hair is gorgeous!

  • Ted
    10th Aug 2017, 6:24 pm  Reply

    Dear Sophie,

    You seem to be further along the path than I and I want to tell you how much courage you have. I have been following you along your journey and marvel at both your grit and your grace.

    You have given much, and whatever happens, I wish you peace. Namaste.

    Ted in Maine, USA.

  • susan tuffin
    10th Aug 2017, 6:20 pm  Reply

    Take care and do what you think is important, always in my thoughts and in my heart for all the good things you showed me, thank you.

  • Elaine
    10th Aug 2017, 6:20 pm  Reply

    Full of admiration for you ..ive changed my way of thinking since i read your book. Thankyou.

  • 10th Aug 2017, 6:12 pm  Reply

    Sophie, it’s the WAY you are living your life and doing what you need to do that constantly gives me joy, goosebumps and intense pause for reflection. Much, much love to you on this very personal journey, where you are living life to the fullest and where the learning is steep and constant. Thanks for sharing this process with all of us who cheer for you. Bravo. xoxo

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