Getting to Know You: Stephanie Butland

As regular readers of the blog will know, I recently read ‘How I Said Bah! to Cancer: A Guide to Thinking, Living, Laughing and Dancing Your Way Through’ by Stephanie Butland and loved it. Thankfully, I have not had a cancer but Stephanie’s book made such an impact on me (and I know that it has been massively inspiring to many people dancing with cancer and the people supporting them through it).

Today, I am absolutely thrilled to have the privilege of having Stephanie on the blog to celebrate the launch of her new book ‘Thrive: The Bah! Guide to Wellness after Cancer’.

I’m delighted to be here, on the first day of the blog tour to celebrate the launch of ‘Thrive: the Bah! Guide to wellness after cancer.’

And, as someone who was danced with cancer and lived to show the blisters, I’m delighted to be here, period.

When I asked Victoria whether she had any thoughts about what to write a guest post about, she said, ‘would you like to write about how positive thinking saved your life’?

I said yes, but I meant, ‘Hmm’.

You see, despite my reputation as something of a poster-girl for positivity, I’m not convinced that positive thinking did the saving. I think the unsubtle and brutally effective slash, poison and burn of cancer treatment did it. The scalpels and the needles and the drugs that made me sick and the scorching radiotherapy saved my life.


I went into every one of these procedures with the expectation that I would get well again. And so I behaved as though I would get well again. I took my tablets, I went to my hospital appointments, I called my doctor when I thought things weren’t right, I called my mother when I was blue. I took my temperature morning, noon and night so that if any infections crept in I would know about them in time to do something about it. I annoyed the hell out of my oncologist with questions about symptoms and side effects and the point at which ‘kill or cure’ stopped being a figure of speech.

Would I have taken such positive action if I didn’t have a positive mindset? I don’t know.

The medical profession is spending more and more time and energy on understanding how our thoughts influence our recovery. Dr. David Hamilton, who wrote the introduction to ‘Thrive: the Bah! Guide to wellness after cancer’, is an expert on the placebo effect and passionate about the work we can do with our minds to heal our bodies.

So perhaps Victoria is right and positive thinking did save my life. Positive thinking is certainly what is helping me to thrive. There’s a long journey between surviving and being well, and although it’s not easy, it’s sure as hell worth the view. But my caveat is this: positive thinking works when it leads to positive, purposeful action. Identifying what we are afraid of, where we are struggling, the things that our instinct tells us are not quite right, isn’t enough. We have to then do something about it. And I don’t think that applies only to cancer.

Tomorrow Shelley Harris has Stephanie on her blog, go to to read what Stephanie has to say.

Stephanie still posts on her blog:

Download your copy of ‘Thrive: The Bah! Guide to wellness after Cancer’ here:

Order your copy of ‘Thrive’ here:

Download your copy of ‘How I Said Bah! to cancer’ here:

Order your copy of ‘Bah!’ here:


One response to “Getting to Know You: Stephanie Butland

  1. Thank you so much for hosting me today, Victoria!

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