Janine at The NHS vs The Big C, Hackney, 17 October 2019

Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. How awful. I don’t know what to say. At least they caught it early. Oh, they didn’t? Well, I’m sure you’ll still be OK. My friend’s got that. She’s having chemo – Head … Read more

Telling Time

Janine at The NHS vs The Big C, Hackney, 17 October 2019

My body is a timeline with every thick and fine line marking a milestone time-grown Each tract and fracture captured and preserved a chapter in each roll and curve My belly tells in its size and its hide of what’s been … Read more

WordSpace Leeds

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Venue: WordSpace, 135 New Road Side, Leeds LS18 4RJ  As WordSpace launches its writers’ anthology, Janine interrupts with a slot warming up for her The Big J (and the NHS) vs The Big C tour.

The Big J (and the NHS) vs The Big C

BJvBC tour leaflet

Poet, author and activist Janine Booth was part of the ranting poetry movement in the 1980s, performing as ‘The Big J’. In late 2016, she discovered a strange indentation in her right breast and was subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer. … Read more

Roadside Breakdown

Broken down car

She has to pull up as she’s overheating Her engine sputters the dashboard’s beeping She’s burning up and burning out worn and way past her best Struggled to get through her last annual test She’s found it more arduous as she … Read more



Ovaries Out Plus Hysterectomy, hopeful Outcome: odds Radically reduced Ensuring Cancer can’t Touch, take Obstruct or obliviate My many more  Years This poem is included in the book, The Big J vs The Big C: issues, experiences and poems in … Read more

Lucky Me

four-leafed clover

What a lucky fucker am I that when that firework hit my eye I didn’t die And who even knew that although you’re better off with two that just one eye will do just fine, you see Lucky, lucky me … Read more

Homage to Hospitals


All hail to public hospitals Which treat us at no cost at all Come forth and heed the homage call Give thanks and praise Admire their shiny corridors The wonder drugs in well-stocked stores And colour-coded wings and floors And … Read more

That Looks Suspicious


Two weeks ago, I posted that I had my second annual post-surgery mammogram and that the medics had found no signs of cancer. That was the truth, but a slightly economical version of it. They found no signs of cancer … Read more

A Warm Hand


I wanted to clap at the funeral today But I think that is seen as poor taste I longed to applaud such a brilliant speech But I feared it would seem out of place I wanted to shout ‘Hear! Hear!’ … Read more

Lives Shortened


Sorry? Is Jeremy Hunt for real? Up to 270 dead is the toll of that ‘glitch’ That is Hundreds of women gone unscanned, untreated Hundreds of women gone That is the toll of that ‘glitch’ Up to 270 dead is  … Read more

No ‘Arm in Getting it Checked Out


When they released me from A&E last week, they pressed into my hand a letter telling me to come back to the hospital this morning to visit the HAMU. HAMU? Wtf? It turns out that this is the Homerton Ambulatory Medicine … Read more

Give Us a Clue


Cancer Research UK has ruffled some feathers with its campaign to publicise the links between obesity and cancer, prompting accusations of ‘fat-shaming’. I’m not easily offended – in fact, I dislike the whole notion of ‘offence’ – but the campaign does deserve … Read more

Hello Hospital, My Old Friend


I’ve just got home from hospital. There’s no need to overly worry yourself: I’m OK, all things considered. Here’s the story … In the middle of last night, while I was at work, my right arm began to feel uncomfortable. … Read more

Hot Flush


by Donna How-I’m-Gonna-Cope-Come Summer Sittin’ here sweatin’ my heart out waitin’ Waitin’ for my temperature to fall Tried about a thousand remedies lately Want to bash my head on the wall Gonna have a hot flush, baby, this evenin’ Gonna … Read more

Scanning Bones


Yesterday, I had a bone density scan, to ascertain how dense I am. Or how dense my bones are, anyway. This is because my new anti-cancer pill, Letrozole, has an annoying tendency (known as a ‘side effect’, I believe) ot thinning your … Read more

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow


It is most excellent weather for menopausal women. While others moan and bring phrases like ‘brass monkeys’ and ‘stone jug’ out of hibernation, I am enjoying blessed relief from the hot flushes and night sweats. I walked down the Euston Road the … Read more

Eyes on the Prize


The Pfizer guys are haggling with the NICE And while they talk, the cancer spreads again You’ll get your pills when they’ve agreed a price You’ll get your answer when they’ve rolled their dice And dealt your hand out in … Read more