Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Annie - An Explanation

I've spent a good part of the past few months deflecting questions, feigning ignorance & then blatantly ignoring people who have asked me questions about the whereabouts of 'Annie' from  the blog, 'Curly hair & false eyelashes'.
I can only say that I'm really sorry about this, I'm not an ignorant person by any stretch of the imagination & I feel quite guilty that I haven't responded to many of you......I just didn't quite know what to say. And I also didn't want to sensationalise things any more than they had been already.
I'm not making myself clear but I'm actually struggling here to put this into words.
Right, okay.....here goes.....I really don't know if I'm doing the right thing here or not but something has got to be said.......*takes in a deep breath*

To those of you that have only started reading my blog recently (or any kind of blog come to that), you may have gathered that there is a whole blogging community out there in cyberspace, obviously the main one that I'm involved with is the Breast Cancer bloggers community. We tend to 'meet' through other peoples blogs & we're there to support each other, to share our news, to discuss treatments, to raise awareness, to campaign for a cure etc (you get the picture.) I'd go so far to say that many of us, have made new & lasting friendships through our blogs.
When those of us with a primary cancer come across a blog written by someone with secondary cancer(s) or when one of us develops secondaries, well, we can understand what they're going through to a certain point but, we could never fully know what it feels like. Reading that person's blog helps us to understand a bit more. And we want to support them.

Which is exactly how I felt when I came across 'Annie's blog' last year. There's also such a thing as 'Survivor's guilt'; I felt a bit of that too.
I actually wrote a post for her blog (Curly hair & false eyelashes) in August 2011, which explains just how much she touched my life when I came across her writings; you can read it here. (Although you will need to click on the images & then zoom in to read it until I figure out another way to get it on here cos I only printed off a copy from my blog & I've scanned it onto my laptop today; I didn't think on to copy & paste it onto a word document.)
And she wrote one for me prior to that, which I featured on this blog on 11th July 2011; you can read her post here.

Anyway, when I moved back to Liverpool in September 2011, I was happy that I would be closer to 'Annie' (she lived 20 minutes away from where I was relocating to), so that I could visit her, maybe take her out somewhere.....I dunno, just 'be there' for her. We'd chatted about it quite a lot through email, Facebook & Twitter. I knew that she was only expecting to live another 6 months.....that's what her Doctors had told her....
When I couldn't reach her by phone, text, email or through Twitter & Facebook, I started to fear the worst.
So, feeling that I'd exhausted every other avenue, I decided to send an inbox message to one of her friends on Facebook, someone who I knew was pretty close to her.
He inboxed me back a few hours later, providing his phone number & asking me to call him.

Oh Jeez.....what can I say without transcribing the whole conversation onto here? We've spoken so many times since then.....I'm exhausted thinking about it.
Without going into detail, I'll cut to the chase.

Basically.....Annie's blog was a complete fabrication.  
She made up the whole story about having breast cancer; she'd never had breast cancer - let alone secondary breast cancer.
There I've said it. I hate to be the bearer of this news but people have never stopped asking about her. It's not that I'm fed up of them asking, far from it, their concern is overwhelming & so touching, but I can't lie to or avoid people any longer. We all knew that 'Annie' was a pseudonym (I know her real name but I won't reveal that here) & anyone who was reading either of our blogs at the time also knew that we'd met. So I feel a bit of a responsibility to put people in the picture about this. I feel responsible for driving a lot more traffic to her blog by introducing her to a lot of my readers. I also feel like a bit of an idiot to be honest because I was taken in by it. And here's me, the streetwise Scouser thinking that not many people can put one past me!
As the title of my blog says - 'It Could Only Happen To [me]'. But this isn't about me. 

Hearing this news shocked me to the core. I couldn't believe it & kept asking 'Are you sure? How? Why?'......Apparently suspicions were aroused at her work place, she was suspended & then resigned from her job a short time later.
I can't really tell you much more than this cos that is basically all that I really know. I've known for a few months now & I think that I've been trying to come to terms with it in my own head before I felt like I should tell other people.
Obviously she wasn't/isn't very well (click here to see what a possible explanation for it could be).....but I suppose that's not for me to judge; I did try to contact her after I'd found out to see if she wanted to talk about it but she never ever replied.

Anyway, I can imagine that many of you will have further questions about this so if anyone wants to contact me then please be assured that I won't ignore you this time however, I haven't really got much else to say on the subject, I don't know why she did it, I don't know where she is, I don't have any contact with her whatsoever.
I mean, thinking back, she inspired so many of us, she really, definitely did. 
I know when I was feeling down & depressed I'd read her blog, see how she was 'coping' & then I'd find more resolve to pick myself up & get on with my life.
I've gone through all of the emotions that you are probably feeling right now; disbelief, amazement, shock, anger, pity, amusement, incredulity.....the list is endless.
Please know, that I'm truly, truly sorry to be the one to break this news. So many people have contacted me in the past few months that I just felt that it was time to let people know what I know. I'm sorry if anyone thinks that this is inappropriate or insensitive but like I said, after driving so much traffic to 'Annie's blog', by promoting it & asking you all to support her, I feel like I added unnecessary fuel to the fire.
I suppose that's all I can say really. 
I mean, am I glad that she's not going to die of secondary breast cancer? Of course I am.
But at the same time.....it's all very bizarre. She is very much alive & kicking.
I'll leave it with you.
Love Chez. xx