ED’S LET­TER

Fairlady - - CONTENTS - Ed­i­tor Suzy Bro­ken­sha Ju­nior food ed­i­tor Pia-Alexa Duarte

The FAIRLADY ed­i­to­rial team is small – just 16 peo­ple. It’s an open of­fice, so we work very closely to­gether, re­ly­ing on each other for help and sup­port when things get tough. And they do get tough: when I started at FAIRLADY 10 years ago, there were 30 mem­bers of staff and far less em­pha­sis on dig­i­tal so, like many other busi­nesses, there’s now more work and fewer peo­ple to do it. Any­way … the point of this is to say we’re a bit like fam­ily: we laugh and grum­ble, get an­noyed and get over it – but we al­ways pull to­gether, usu­ally over gor­geous cake and bub­bles, which helps. And up un­til around Oc­to­ber last year, that gor­geous cake was al­most al­ways baked by Pia, our food ed.

At one of those teas, Pia men­tioned a pain in her back, which she put down to spend­ing long hours on her feet in the kitchen. But it was so un­com­fort­able that it nig­gled at her. Some­thing wasn’t right. So she saw a doc­tor, who sched­uled a biopsy. The biopsy re­vealed a ma­lig­nant tu­mour in her back, a Ewings sar­coma. This was at the end of Oc­to­ber last year, and Pia went straight into surgery to have the whole thing re­moved.

When she came back to work, she was still in pain. Stoic as she is, she as­sumed it was part re­cov­ery from her op and part her own hy­per­sen­si­tiv­ity to her sit­u­a­tion. Her doc­tors re­as­sured her, telling her to wait un­til March 2017 for her sched­uled check-up.

But in March the news wasn’t good: the orig­i­nal tu­mour had been re­moved, but the sar­coma had metaste­ses in her lungs that hadn’t been picked up ear­lier be­cause they were still too small at that stage. Pia is now be­ing treated for stage 4 lung cancer, which means six months of weekly chemo, fol­lowed by daily ra­di­a­tion treat­ments for an­other six months: a year in to­tal.

So far, I’m de­lighted to say the re­sults are ex­cel­lent: her ex­ist­ing tu­mours are now half their size, and no new ones have ap­peared. In her un­flap­pable way, Pia is tak­ing each day as it comes. She had de­li­cious cup­cakes made and de­liv­ered to us all for Women’s Day (not in the same league as her own, ob­vi­ously), and we can’t wait for her to be back. Fam­ily is fam­ily.

I’m telling you all this for a few rea­sons: firstly, be­cause so many of you have asked where Pia is be­cause you’re miss­ing her food pages – we are too! We miss her as much as you do, I as­sure you. But watch this space – she’ll be back. Se­condly, be­cause we need to learn to trust our in­stincts. Pia knew some­thing wasn’t right, and thank God that was picked up at her check-up. And thirdly, I know Oc­to­ber is breast cancer month and we should all be feel­ing our­selves up reg­u­larly, but I think we should also al­ways be aware of the rest of our bod­ies too. Breast cancer is not the only one.

From all of us, to all of you, we wish you a happy, healthy Oc­to­ber … and year, and life­time!

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