52. Comms 101: the holding statement

This is a tricky one, because I feel like Uhtred (son of Uhtred) – as soon as I think I can see my freedom in front of me, that flipping King Arthur has other ideas and finds a way to keep me on my toes.

AN: for those wondering who on earth Uhtred is, you clearly haven’t experienced the excitement that is The Last Kingdom… this is what eight months of Netflix has turned me into! Click here to discover the delight that is our Dane-raised Saxon of Bevenburgh).

Anyway, back to my holding statement.

Last week my blood levels dropped dangerously low and I was offered a blood transfusion. Rather than giving in to the thing that had frightened me most in all this, we agreed I could lay low for a few days and see if my blood could get back up on its own. So I cancelled my plans and spent two days on my couch, reacquainting myself with Uhtred (son of Uhtred).

And my blood thanked me for it. Tests on Friday confirmed that, although I’m not yet back into the ‘normal’ bracket (some would argue I was never normal anyway?!), my levels are coming back up and, in another week or so, I should be feeling myself again. That was four days ago, and despite Kari rocking up on Friday (complete with helium balloon and her usual air of crazy looniness), ‘popping out for coffee’ on Saturday (returning eight hours, a bottle of wine, a spot of tapas and half a bottle of Disarono later), I managed to get back in the gym yesterday, nailed 8,000 steps today, and haven’t retreated to the sofa just yet.

Anyway, back to the holding statement. Again.

In the world of Corporate Communications and, specifically, crisis management, one of the first things you do in the event of a crisis, is prepare a Holding Statement. This outlines key talking points and consistent narrative, to be used when fielding media enquiries about said crisis. So as a Comms professional, I guess I can’t hide in my cave and pretend that I’m not in a little bit of a sticky spot – as Blackadder would say, “a situation stickier than when Sticky the Stick Insect got stuck on a sticky bun”.

The thing is, on Friday, although the results of my blood test were good, the results of my post-chemo CT scan weren’t as promising.

After the first three rounds of chemo (Oct-Dec), the tumour in my lung (Mutley) appeared to have shrunk by around 17%. However, as my bloods had taken beating, the chemo dose was reduced to allow us to continue treatment (rather than risk further damage to my blood by carrying on, or giving Mutley a chance to fight back if we stopped). At that point, we were hopeful that, because chemo was working, we may be able to avoid lung surgery and finish Mutley off with just radiation once chemo was finished. So I was expecting Friday’s CT scan results to be either a) we still ned to do both surgery and radio, or b) we can jump straight to radio.

What didn’t occur to me was that Mutley might have puppies.

Unfortunately, the CT scan shows that Mutley hasn’t shrunk in the past three round of chemo (Jan-March). He’s stayed the same size and it looks like he’s been joined by two more ‘suspicious-looking nodes’. This is not good news – because they’re appear to be in the tissue which surrounds my lung, they’re hard to get at, and we don’t know for sure that they are indeed Mutley pups. The only way to be sure is a biopsy on both of them, and after my last biopsy caused my lung to collapse, we’d rather not do that again, especially when they’re hard to get at.

So yesterday I had a PET scan – this scanned my whole body (not just the chest area shown on the CT) and, if the pups show up on the PET scan, it would strongly suggest that they’re further matestations of my breast cancer. This would rule out targeted treatment (such as surgery or radio) as we’d only be tackling part of a wider problem. And as chemo hasn’t worked, the likelihood is that clinical / traditional treatment is exhausted and we’re out of options.

So where does that leave me (other than on Sticky the Stick Insect’s sticky bun)?

Holding Statement

  • Rebecca was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, which has since spread to her brain and left lung.
  • The initial tumour (in her breast) was removed in 2017, and the lesion in her brain (“Dastardly”) was removed in 2018.
  • The remaining lesion in her lung (“Mutley”) stopped responding to chemotherapy in 2019, and appears to have been joined by two further lesions (currently known as “Mork & Mindy”).
  • The existence of Mork & Mindy (and any other new lesions elsewhere) has yet to be confirmed.
  • A scan was carried out this week to provide further clarity, the results of which will be discussed on Friday.
  • Until further news is available, Rebecca remains focused on getting her blood levels back up, getting fit enough to run 10k in February 2020, and getting to as many Grand Prix as possible in the meantime.
  • For media enquiries, or suggestions on how else to tackle Mutley (and any current / future offspring), please contact Rebecca.

Supporting information

Last time I felt unable to talk, I went ‘into my cave’ and hid. At that time, I didn’t feel ready to deal with things, able to articulate how I felt, or comfortable in what I wrote. I didn’t feel like myself and didn’t want people to see or hear the ‘me’ I didn’t like being. That was down to the medication I was taking, as much as the intensity of the situation.

This time is different – it’s taken me a few days to get my head around what the CT scan showed on Friday, and thus I initially only shared it with those closest to me. But as I’ve become physically and mentally stronger, I’ve felt more like ‘me’ and more able to share it.

Communication is what I do. I was a chatterbox as a child and inquisitive at school (always wanting to know what was going on). My career started with an Advertising agency, where I learnt the fundamentals of running things. I then scaled this into bigger things, before applying it to things I was passionate about. So being able to talk about things that matter, in a way which is sensitive yet straightforward, and resonates with people so they can understand what it means… it’s what I do, and why my blog helps me as much as it informs you.

But like any decent Comms pro; I’ll wait until I know the facts before committing to the detail, and will get my head around it first, so I can position it in the right way, both to help me and to keep you informed…



PS – Flights to Baku are provisionally booked…

3 thoughts on “52. Comms 101: the holding statement

Add yours

  1. I will be thinking of you tomorrow and wishing you a bucket load of good luck. You bloody well deserve it girl. Big hugs xxxxx


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: