An epilogue and a place for your comments

bright sideComment

I hope you found my Breast Cancer Diary worthwhile.

I'll be delighted to hear what you have to say about my diary or any of the issues raised, so please leave your comments or questions at the bottom of this page.

You can also contact me at


The message

Although the first section is a grim affair, I counter this with humour in the more upbeat second part. I have endeavoured to achieve a proper balance between the gravity of breast cancer and the frivolity of my photo shoot.

Living with breast cancer
My daily journal of the raw first three months following diagnosis of breast cancer

Looking on the bright side
A light-hearted tale of baring all for photos after radical treatment for the disease

Leonard Cohen sings there "ain't no cure for love" but neither is there a cure for breast cancer – only remission. It is an unpredictable disease, and we don't know if it will return more deadly than before. I respect and admire those facing a much greater ordeal with cancer than mine, including some other Bright Side models.

CommentThe way some women and men cope with such misfortune makes me feel humble. I hope that they don't feel the pink ribbons, charity runs and naked calendars are futile gestures. These are just the ways we express our feelings about the disease and the people we have lost. Most significantly, they help us to have a positive attitude to life, which is vital in our struggle to come to terms with cancer.

Both writing my daily journal and my experiences as a model proved to be cathartic for me. I hope my diary helps others who are also surviving breast cancer by communicating the following:

  • Don't despair during the darkest days of diagnosis and treatment
  • Never delay getting any suspicion checked out regardless of an earlier 'all clear'
  • Your greatest asset to help you get through this period is the support of family and friends
  • Reclaim your femininity afterwards and gain a better self-image
  • Make the most of every day and always look on the bright side

My thanks

I offer my heartfelt thanks to:Comment

  • My family and friends for unstinting support during my illness.
  • The many dedicated NHS healthcare professionals involved in my treatment.
  • Wonderfully talented Amanda for creating such beautiful images of me.
  • Di and the other strong and beautiful "On the Bright Side" models for providing inspiration.
  • Harriet, Janet and Karli for helping me look my best in the shoot.
  • The generous sponsors of my photo shoot for supporting my charity page.
  • Northlight Studios and Rufus for making my photo shoot possible.
  • John for typing up my journal and designing the layout of this website
  • Angela for helping John and I throughout the project
  • Carol, who has since sadly succumbed to cancer herself, for looking after my boys.
  • John, Gary, Gaynor and Denise for the photos of me with my clothes on.
  • Diney, who through her "Older Mums Are Fun" blog planted the seed that led to this website.
  • You for your interest in my Breast Cancer Diary.

Best wishes, Nicki x

For advice and support see The Haven and Breast Cancer Care Forum



Epilogue and your comments — 14 Comments

  1. Wow, John! I am so glad you posted here on my blog! I just finished reading through your wife's five part journey of the photo shoot. How marvelous! Her writing mirrors some of the experiences of my own clients as I've photographed them for our Reveal Mission project. I loved her honesty and her courage. I laughed at many points, but was also brought to tears. Her smile, and her life is brilliant! Her portraits are gorgeous! Thank you both so much for sharing this part of your story with others, and now with me!

  2. Just read all your wife's blog, and I agree with Della. And what a gorgeous womanly woman is your wife.

  3. Wow. Thank you for your comments and for your website.

    Your wife is gorgeous though I doubt that is news to you. I was amazed that she posed so well. Most amateur models tend to get wooden initially. Of course her whole story is inspirational; especially to a man who has lost four women friends to breast cancer in past years. I'm delighted that she whipped it. Even though the prognoses are so much better now, it is still a very tough go both for the patient/victim and for her family.

    I was not wild about the lighting. The color swirl is a great idea. However, the main lighting did seem to need a bit of touchup so as to eliminate some of the ugly, harsh shadows. I would have liked a bit more fill light and a hair light. But that's a matter of personal preference.

    I did love the explanation that Nicki wrote. And thank you for not making another of those sneaky-peekie calendars. Several years ago, the first one was special; very adventurous for the day, but now they have become a cliché.

  4. Beeing a Male, and having had Cancer, I would say its one of the most dificult journeys to make through life, even though surrounded by family and friends, its still you against it. Its even better when they say "We dont want to see you anymore, you are cured" But, its tough until you get to that part. Having watched several of my family pass away from breast/Luekemia  cancer and wondered years ago if they will ever cure at all, its nice to see you Ladies beating this thing into the ground, and long may it continue. The only thing that us survivors need to do, is check ourselves regurlarly, and that applies to those that are OK at the moment, check weekly. Brian

  5. I woke up yesterday morning and your name was the first thing I thought about, which as we haven't seen each other for years and I now live in Australia, was weird,so when I found your diary I was shocked and surprised. I just wanted to say that I hope you are ok and will continue with check ups every year,even though you are passed the dreaded 5 years. I still pester Keith to have a yearly medical even now.

    I feel sure many people have read your diary, I sent it to Sheila and Diane, and as for your photo shoot go girl!!

  6. Amazing job Nicki! Congrats on meeting your goal! Here's a tad extra.

  7. This is what I call a "job well done". Totally honest, inspiring & thought provoking. Congratulations Nicki – for so many things!!! (transferred from Blogspot)

  8. The typing up of your little journal books is now complete, just in time for the On the Bright Side launch on Friday – it certainly was a labour of love. x (transferred from Blogspot)

  9. Trish @ Mum's Gone to…  That sounds a fabulous thing to do. Hope you enjoy the shoot, Nicki and you raise lots of money while having a blast!

    Cheshire wife  She is one very brave lady!

    PantsWithNames  What a brilliant thing to do – absolutely amazing. I'm so impressed and think it is exactly the right thing to do. I hope you enjoy the shoot – and the results.X

    Kelloggsville  Fed the fish and paid the lady! Picture sounds like it could be awesome, I hope you are allowed to post it.

    Sandi  Bravo to you, this post touched me, I admire you and in awe of you.

    Looking for Blue Sky  Fair play to you Nicki, I hope the project goes really well. I also love the idea that you can live with cancer and feel beautiful: I have friends who are sick and really struggle with that x

    Suzie @nowriggling  Well done you! Came to this via my own story on and I am full of admiration for you. We did well didn't we!

    Baa-Me Kniits  Very touching post! Well done to your brave friend, what an inspiration to us all she is, I bet her photo will be stunning!

    Kate  Well -that is an inspiring story and an inspiring idea. I'll bet she'll look wonderful. I certainly wouldn't have the courage.

    bad penny  I'm in awe – good for you. I hope you enjoy the whole experience.

    Tracey  Congratulations on your bravery. A very moving story….xxxxxxxx

    Fire Byrd  Not long after I started blogging I posted a picture up of my body between waist and head. I kept my nipple covered but my mastectomy scar was there for the world to see. I was and am proud that it's there, cause it means I'm alive. So go for it Nicki, it's only a body. Be proud be strong and you'll get through it.

    Lady Mama  What an amazing thing to do!

    2 Brits, 2 Yanks, 2 Dogs  That is great Nicki – as the daughter of a woman who died from breast cancer anything that brings awareness to this disease is a bonus in my eyes. I hope you enjoy the photo shoot and you ARE a role model.

    TheMadHouse  I am sat sobbing hot tears on to the keyboard, what an inspirational woman you are. I am finding it hard to feel feminine after a double mastectomy at the moment

    Catharine Withenay  Inspirational! All the best with the shoot, Nicky. It is because people like you are prepared to stand up and be counted that new drugs and treatments are found. Treatments have improved many times over since my mother was diagnosed first in 1986. Sadly she died, but she would have applauded all that you are doing. Well done!

    MrsP  You have done the hard bit surviving breast cancer the shoot will be just amazing- What an inspiration you are!! Jx

    Cheryl  Hi Diney, thanks for directing me here from PRG, I'm going to follow and enjoyed this story having been Ms April in a calendar myself. We caled ours "Living Proof" and it was specifically aimed at younger women being diagnosed, showing them there is both life and fun post diagnosis. Being Australia we were all outdoor shots, though it was freezing the day mine was taken. I hope Nicki's photographer is as empathetic as ours was. Tell her to relax and enjoy – it's one of the upsides of having cancer that you can become a "calendar girl"! she can contact me at (or you can) if you want to make direct email contact and I can send a photo or answer any questions. She sounds like a winner and I'm sure she'll be a great "thriver"!

    Tattie Weasle  WOW Nicki an inspiration and I cannot wait to see you naked! Oh my that does sound worrying…;)

  10. Well done & good luck Nicki !!! What a great cause!! Clare & Kevin Collins 18/12/10

    To a beautiful and amazing woman, well done! Janet Greenwood 18/12/10

    Gerrin' Nicki, you’re a brave lass, well done girl! Charlie & Dot 17/12/10

    Just love the photos they tell such a story. Braver than me Gungadin to strip!! Good luck.

    Penny and Hayden xx Penelope Powell 19/11/10

    Go for it Girl and smile sweetly!! ENJOY and WELL DONE! x Fiona Hunter 18/11/10
    Have fun on the day – maybe a Bloody Mary or two will help! Well done you. xx Gary & Wendy 17/11/10

    A good and positive way forward for you and others with breast cancer Go Go Girl x Janet Taylor 15/11/10

    Go for it Nicki, a copy of this photo has gone straight to the top of Gary's wish list for Xmas! Helen Pitchford 15/11/10

    Let’s look forward to those lovely photos as I think its a very brave and fantastic thing to do. Susan McGhee 15/11/10

    Nicki – you're a very brave woman. We expect you'll be regularly repeating this feat down the Bigg Market at weekends?! All the best. Crawford & Susan x 11/11/10

    I'm one of Suzanne's (Clarks) friends. She’s very proud of you. Good luck. Katrina Pringle 09/11/10

    What a courageous thing to do, I think you are brilliant! Helen Scott 09/11/10

    Good luck with the stripping! Jim and Anne 09/11/10

    For Nicki – an inspiration to us all. Enjoy the moment! Lots of love Debbie, James, Ellie and Sophie xxxx Debra Glastonbury 08/11/10

    Good Luck Sis and well done for raising so much money! Lots of love from all of us in the sunny South West. Pieter 07/11/10

    Looking forward to seeing the pictures Nikki best of luck hope it all goes well!!! Suzanne & Nick 07/11/10

    Good Luck! Rather you than me. Susan Trim 07/11/10

    Hope the shoot goes well, all our love. Ann &Stuart Ann Evans 06/11/10

    Good luck – you have our total admiration! The Waggotts 05/11/10

    It’s a great thing your doing Nicki! I just love those shoes too!! LOL The Spoerrys XXXX Terri Spoerry 05/11/10

    Good Luck Nicki Rob Harris 05/11/10

    Blimey! You are an inspiration to all of us. Loads of love, Diney and Les xx Di Bindman 05/11/10

    Go for it Nicki ! I think about your project a lot … statistically speaking every 6 minutes apparently!!! Awrabest , Cal ( & Lou & The Boys ) Calum Grant 04/11/10

    Well done! Hope you get to your target. Tom Elliott, Lancs Black Cat 22/10/10

    Well done Nicki and Good Luck Verity & Scott 22/10/10

    Well done! Nicki hope you make your target!! I am sure you will !! Lots of love Lynda and Peter xx Eleanor Blakeney 22/10/10

    You are one very brave lady! Love Elaine x Elaine McLeod 19/10/10

    Well Done! Nicki Kate Costin 19/10/10

    Well Done! Just let us know when and where the Village People's 'Private Viewing' is, so we can organise front row seats. Graham & Elizabeth Collingham 12/10/10

    From a reader of 'Older Mums' – looking forward to seeing your picture on the blog, sounds very artistic. Kelloggsville 07/10/10

    Well done Nicki I shall look forward to the results. Ian Sheriff 06/10/10

    Don Vasey 04/10/10 Good luck Nicki and well done. Love Bernie & Chris xx Bernie Millman 02/10/10

    LOVE IT! U r going to have so much fun! What a great cause and a great lady. LOL Toni & Semore Tonia Kurdi 30/09/10

    Go Nicki, your amazing x Zena & Paul xx 24/09/10

    Hi gorgeous, it’s so fantastic having you well and full of life '3 years on'. you've always looked great in a speedboat but Paul Smith will do! Gaynor and David xxxx 23/09/10

    Well done daughter! There’s an extra tenner if John takes his clothes off. Mum and Dad 22/09/10

    Go for it Nicki ! Don't forget to hang your Paul Smith key-ring somewhere nice! So so proud of you – as always! Love Cath & Bill Cath MacLeod 20/09/10

    This 'getting your kit off in public' lark is turning into a bit of a habit!!! Well done you – you never fail to amaze me! Catherine and Troy 18/09/10

    Go Girl Go! Alistair Scott 17/09/10

    Pete & I are very happy to support you in this great cause. Hope you "enjoy" the whole experience!!!! Sara Airey 13/09/10

    Ian Wright 10/09/10

    Very brave, well done Nicki. Brian Wilson 08/09/10

    I know you will look great – keep up the good work and have fun! Janet Yeend 08/09/10

    Show the world how beautiful you are!! Loads of warm hugs Janice xx Janice Dunphy 09/08/10

    Go Girl Go! Alistair Scott 17/09/10

    Never has anyone taken their kit off in more style Angela Cooper 06/09/10

    Michael said … would do anything to get your kit off xxxx Denise 05/09/10

    After all I spent on clothes for you, it’s ironic that I’m now paying for you to get undressed. xx John on 04/09/10

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