Chocolat author shares her cancer battle: ‘It’s scary and it sucks’

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Joanne Harris has been sharing details about her breast cancer battle on social media. Picture: Twitter/@joannechocolat
Joanne Harris has been sharing details about her breast cancer battle on social media. Picture: Twitter/@joannechocolat

Bestselling writer Joanne Harris has been using Twitter to share her breast-cancer battle with followers – even posting pictures of herself in bed at hospital immediately after coming out of surgery and telling fans about her “radioactive boob”.

“I'm being open about it from the start because I think it's important to shine a light into the shadows that still surround this common - and often very treatable – disease,” she explained in a newsletter she sent to fans over New Year.

The 56-year-old has been dealing with the setback with the wry humour that her Twitter followers have come to know and love.

"Today in #ThisWritingLife: In which Joanne learns she has breast cancer. Oh, 2020. You are really spoiling us,” is how she broke the news on 21 December. 

"It is a primary cancer (which makes it sound like a cute toddler), so should respond to surgery and radiotherapy. But, yeah. It's still scary, and it sucks. So send me your pictures of otters, cats and recommendations for box sets.”

She has taken to referring to her cancer as Mr C and amused herself by coming up with ways to torment him. In one post she speculated if she could kill him by subjecting him to musical theatre.

“I can't help thinking of it as an unwanted Christmas guest, who for some reason I'm having to entertain,” she wrote in another post.

Shortly after undergoing surgery earlier this month she  posted a pic of herself looking pale but upbeat as she lay in her hospital bed.

“Feeling a *lot* better this morning,” she wrote. “Thank you so much for all your kind thoughts and good wishes; although I wasn't able to reply to them all, know that I read and appreciate them all, and that you're amazing.”

And then she cheekily added: “In other news, my pee is blue.”

In her New Year’s newsletter she reflecting back on 2020, she told fans she’s had a super-productive year. “This year, I have completed three books and published two; run my first proper 5k; done a great deal of gardening; seen my daughter once, for an hour; recorded two audiobooks; spent more time with my husband than at any time in the past 20 years; protected my parents; watched a great number of Netflix shows; and grown my hair from Roundhead to Cavalier in only 12 months.”

And now she’s sharing her own cancer battle in the hope that it will inspire other women to have regular check-ups.

In addition to Chocolat the author, who lives in Barnsley in Yorkshire, England, has written 20 other novels. Her books are published in over 50 countries.

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