Sarah Standing on chemo, dodging Dr Google and life at full throttle
March 17, 2023. Series 7. Episode 60
“Cancer not only makes the person going through it appreciate every nuance of life, it also make the people who love you speak their minds.”
In this episode we are joined by Sarah Standing – journalist, toy shop owner and author.
On the face of it, Sarah has enjoyed – and appreciated – a charmed life. The daughter of actress Nanette Newman and director, writer and actor Bryan Forbes, and sister of well-known TV presenter Emma Forbes, Sarah is also married to the brilliant British actor Johnnie Standing.
Mum of three, grandmother to two … Sarah is the glue at the centre of a talented loving family and a network of friends that includes Sir Elton John.
But in the space of a few hours on a November day in 2020 Sarah’s life changed forever. At 10am that day she went to see her GP, complaining of feeling breathless. By 4pm she’d been diagnosed with grade III Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Sarah’s brilliant new book – Dancing With The Red Devil – tells the story of what happened next. It’s an account of facing down cancer and chemotherapy during those dark days of COVID but also the most wonderful, valuable memoir of family, of love and the power of friendship in crisis.
Sarah is someone who loves to laugh but who also tells it like it is. This conversation, like Sarah’s book, is brutal in its honesty, moving, at times hilarious and full of insight that I think is valuable to anyone facing tough times or for that matter anyone who is in the orbit of someone dealing with crisis.
– Cancer diagnosis
– Chemotherapy and hair loss
– Setting small goals
– The language of crisis
Sarah’s Crisis Comforts:
- Cooking engages your senses and can sometimes invoke happy memories – comfort food in particular has the power to lift your mood.
- Music – Not just listening but getting up and joining in. Dancing and singing will trigger your brain to release endorphins which will automatically make you feel happier.
- Jigsaw puzzles although requiring a huge amount of concentration can put your brain in a relaxed state of mind whilst distracting you from your problems.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/skstanding
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/sarahkstanding/?hl=en
Dancing With the Red Devil – Book – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dancing-Red-Devil-Sarah-Standing/dp/1472296354/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?crid=YVWXO24F2QJ6&keywords=dancing+with+the+red+devil+by+sarah+standing&qid=1663700541&sprefix=%2Caps%2C104&sr=8-1
Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: https://ampl.ink/qp6bm
Some Velvet Morning Website: www.somevelvetmorning.co.uk
Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: https://open.spotify.com/track/5OX9XgJufFz9g63o2Dv2i5?si=b2f9397c92084682
Host – Andy Coulson
CWC production team: Louise Difford, Ed Isaacs and Jane Sankey
With special thanks to Global
Full episode transcript:
Andy Coulson: [0:00:05] Hello, I’m Andy Coulson, and welcome back to Crisis What Crisis, the podcast which aims to guide you towards a more resilient approach to life and whatever it might throw at you.
We’re joined today by Sarah Standing: Journalist, toy shop owner and author. On the face of it, Sarah has enjoyed and appreciated a charmed life. The daughter of actress Nanette Newman and director, write and actor Bryan Forbes, and sister of well-known TV presenter Emma Forbes. Sarah is also married to the brilliant British actor John Standing. Mum of three, grandmother to two, Sarah is the glue at the centre of a talented, loving family and a network of friends that includes Sir Elton John in its number.
All done whilst juggling a life as a successful contributor to national newspapers and magazines including The Times and The Spectator.
But in the space of a few hours on a November day in 2020, Sarah’s life changed forever. At 10am that day she went to see her GP complaining of feeling breathless. By 4pm she had been diagnosed with cancer, more specifically grade 3 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Sarah’s brilliant new book, Dancing with the Red Devil, tells the story of what happened next. It’s an account of facing down cancer and chemotherapy during those dark days of COVID. But it’s also the most wonderful and I think valuable memoir of family, of love and the power of friendship in crisis.
Sarah, as I suspect you will detect in this conversation, is someone who loves to laugh, but who also tells it like it is. Her book is brutal in its honesty, written in real-time, moving, at times hilarious, and full of insight that I think is valuable to anyone facing tough times. Or for that matter anyone who is in the orbit of someone dealing with crisis.
Sarah Standing, welcome to the podcast.
Sarah Standing: [0:02:01] Thank you so much.
Andy Coulson: [0:02:04] Sarah. I’m going to start with one of those insights from the book that I absolutely love. You say at the end of the book in fact, “Life should be understood looking backwards, but lived going only forwards and at full throttle.” Having gone through such an appalling experience, is that a good summary of the sort of Sarah Standing approach to life?
Sarah Standing: [0:02:30] Totally, totally. And it’s very strange, because when you’re living in it, it seems all-encompassing, when you’re going through something that’s bad. But it’s a bit like childbirth: the minute you come out the other side it does, thankfully, fade into a memory, but it’s not an acute memory. And I do truly believe what I’ve taken out of it is that I always did lead life quite at full throttle but I just intend to, you know, grow old totally disgracefully. I genuinely do. Because I think getting older is a privilege. It’s really taught me that. And anybody who bangs on about, “Oh my God, I’m about to be 50, I don’t know-” Lucky.
Andy Coulson: [0:03:18] Yes.
Sarah Standing: [0:03:19] You’re lucky.
Andy Coulson: [0:03:20] Yes. Can I ask, how are you now? I know that after writing the book, which ends as you sort of emerge successfully from six months of chemo and from the immunotherapy, that a second smaller lymphoma was found.
Sarah Standing: [0:03:35] Yes.
Andy Coulson: [0:03:37] As I understand it, that’s been zapped, to use your term.
Sarah Standing: [0:03:39] That’s been zapped. I had four weeks of radiotherapy and I got the news after I’d written the epilogue to the book that I’d got the all-clear, which is just an amazing feeling. I mean, endless you know, check-ups for the next five years, but I’m genuinely not holding my breath any more.
Andy Coulson: [0:04:02] Fantastic. Did knowing that you’d written the book, that sort of backward understanding that I mentioned earlier, did that help in the second phase?
Sarah Standing: [0:04:12] Definitely. I found- what was quite interesting was I originally wrote the book just for me, not for publication. I just wrote it in real-time in order to try and make sense of what was happening to me. Also it was during lock-down and I was pretty isolated with my husband and it was, you know, once I’d watched Tiger King or whatever it was, and made banana bread-
Andy Coulson: [0:04:34] We all watched Tiger King
Sarah Standing: [0:04:36] I just thought I’d better get on and do something slightly more productive. And I found that it was sort of too scary to look forward too much, so I just had these wonderful memory banks came back to me about my childhood. And I found going backwards very comforting. But I’ve always been a sort of forward living person, so it’s very, very pleasant to get back to that place now.
Andy Coulson: [0:05:09] Yes. I know you hold to the view that there’s a kind of neurological, scientific benefit to nostalgia, but I want to talk about that later because I’m really interested in that.
But as I say, congratulations on this book. It doesn’t hang about in telling its story. You’re diagnosed by page 13-
Sarah Standing: [0:05:29] Yes, exactly.
Andy Coulson: [0:05:30] And we’re plunged, with you, into this at times pretty dark world at a hell of a pace.
Tell us, if you don’t mind, about that day. About the day that you were diagnosed.
Sarah Standing: [0:05:43] Okay. I’d been feeling breathless for about five days and my- and I think I’ve had antibiotics about eight times in my life, I’ve always been blessed with unbelievably good health. And my son dropped my little grandson off to me in my toy shop and said could I look after him for half an hour because he’d got a flat tyre or something. And I realised that I was- it was very hard to carry him, and I had to kind of prop him up in a cardboard box with pillows behind him because he couldn’t yet sit up. And so I thought I really ought to go to the doctor.
Went to the doctor, doctor did some kind of tests on me, obviously did a COVID test, negative, gave me some antibiotics, said, “Come back in three days’ time if it’s not better.” Went back, still wasn’t better, and he thought that I ought to go and see a specialist because maybe I had long COVID. Maybe I’d had COVID, hadn’t realised I’d got COVID.
And so I literally just was at work, went to the appointment, had nothing with me expect my credit card, thankfully, and my keys. Went and saw this divine doctor who said, “I’m going to send you to have a scan and I’m going to send you to have an ultrasound.” And went to have a scan, went to have an ultrasound, and when the- I don’t know what you call them, ultrasoundist, I don’t know what they’re called correctly, but when he started to do the ultrasound he very casually said to me, “Who’s your oncologist?” And I was like, “I don’t have an oncologist, I’ve just come here because I’m breathless.”
Andy Coulson: [0:07:27] So that was the first sort of real-
Sarah Standing: [0:07:29] But it didn’t actually set off any alarm bells whatsoever. I mean, I must have been sort of, I don’t know, it just didn’t.
Went back to the doctor with the results and he said, “You’ve got a lot of fluid which is pressing your organs up, which is making you feel breathless.” So they drained the fluid, by which time I was admitted, and at 5 o’clock he came in and just said, you know, “You’ve got cancer.” I mean, it was just as- he said it in a much nicer way, but he also apologised profusely because he had on a visor and gloves and mask, and he said, “Normally I’d hold your hand when I told you this.”
Andy Coulson: [0:08:17] That just removed or prevented any kind of human-
Sarah Standing: [0:08:21] Yes, any human contact. I was watching the Trump/Biden election and he kind of said, “Do you mind if I turn the television off?” and I was like, “No, of course not.”
And at that stage I kind of disengaged with my body, if you like. It’s a very strange- I was actually quite calm. My worst thing was telling my family over the phone, because I couldn’t- you know, you weren’t allowed obviously any visitors.
Andy Coulson: [0:08:52] Yes. That’s going to resonate with so many people, I think.
Sarah Standing: [0:08:54] That was tough.
Andy Coulson: [0:08:55] It was a wretched aspect to what was an appalling situation.
When you talk about sort of disassociating yourself with the situation, the sort of de-personification of it all, if you like-
Sarah Standing: [0:09:12] Very much so.
Andy Coulson: [0:09:13] If that’s the right word, how do you sort of reflect back on that now? Because we talked earlier about how the difficult memories in life sort of fade over time, is that still really clear in your mind?
Sarah Standing: [0:09:25] Yes. I think what it is, or it is for me, is I think that when- if you sort of slightly remove yourself from it, it gives one a bit of a coping mechanism. Almost as if it’s happening to somebody else. You know it isn’t, you know it’s happening to you, but if you step away- and that’s just a mechanism that I haven’t practiced, I don’t know why but I seem to be able to do that.
Andy Coulson: [0:09:56] Yes, well this is the debate really, is whether or not that is in us. You know, that is a natural kind of survival instinct, the ability-
Sarah Standing: [0:10:03] Yes, you have to find something to kind of, you know, there is no option. I mean, that’s the thing often with a crisis, is you can’t run away from it, you’ve got to face it head on. So you really- how you cope with it is how you can get that strength yourself.
I mean, I did- the one thing I did, which as a journalist you’ll understand, is I did say to my oncologist, “I’m never going to Google anything about this.”
Andy Coulson: [0:10:34] Yes.
Sarah Standing: [0:10:36] Because I knew that would take-
Andy Coulson: [0:10:40] I’m interesting in this. So that’s a decision you made in the moment?
Sarah Standing: [0:10:43] In the moment, and kept to.
Andy Coulson: [0:10:45] Are there clues to that previously with you? Were you kind of against Doctor Google-?
Sarah Standing: [0:10:51] No, I was an appalling Googler.
Andy Coulson: [0:10:53] Were you?
Sarah Standing: [0:10:53] Oh God yes. You know, I’d read an article in the Daily Mail about somebody who’d got some disease I’d never heard of, and I’d be Googling like mad.
Andy Coulson: [0:10:59] You’d be all over it, yes.
Sarah Standing: [0:11:00] Yes, all over it. No, I-
Andy Coulson: [0:11:02] So how interesting then, that in the moment when it’s at its most serious you are able to calculate that that is not going to be a good thing for you to do.
Sarah Standing: [0:11:12] That’s not going to be a good thing for me, that’s going to lead me down a really dark hole and-
Andy Coulson: [0:11:18] It also requires you-
Sarah Standing: [0:11:18] I’d barely heard of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Andy Coulson: [0:11:21] Yes, yes. It also requires you though to put your trust in the doctor’s hands, right? Because you’re basically saying, “Over to you.” Which makes you a great patient, but-
Sarah Standing: [0:11:31] Well, he said to me- after he’d told me what was going to happen to me, you know, I was going to have chemo and I was going to- it was going to be really strong, R-CHOP, known as ‘the red devil’, and I would lose all my hair, and blah blah blah blah blah, I kind of said to him, “Okay, but I’ve got to tell you a bit about myself.”
I said, you know, “I’ve been a journalist for 30 years, I own a toy shop, I’ve got a husband I adore that I’ve been married to for nearly 40 years, I’ve got children who I’m passionate about, a mother-” I went through a whole list. And I said, “But I have decided that I’m not going to Google anything about it, because I think it would take me down a very dark hole.” And he looked up and he just kind of went, “Well in that case you’ll be a great patient and I will make you better.” And I believed him.
Andy Coulson: [0:12:19] But the trust thing.
Sarah Standing: [0:12:21] I trusted him. I’d met him half an hour before.
Andy Coulson: [0:12:23] Because as a journalist you are also fundamentally curious, sceptical, and-
Sarah Standing: [0:12:26] Yes, absolutely. And I just thought, “No, my life is in your hands. I will let you do whatever it takes and I totally trust you.”
Andy Coulson: [0:12:38] Yes. You lost your dad in 2013 Sarah, but your mum’s still going strong.
Sarah Standing: [0:12:44] My mum is still going strong.
Andy Coulson: [0:12:46] And of course, not being able to be with her because of COVID must have been another layer of sort of agony for you.
Sarah Standing: [0:12:52] Awful. Absolutely awful.
Andy Coulson: [0:12:54] For you both.
Sarah Standing: [0:12:55] Yes. Absolutely terrible. I saw her twice. She came up to London and literally stood on my doorstep, not coming into the house, for about ten minutes.
Andy Coulson: [0:13:07] Really?
Sarah Standing: [0:13:07] Yes. Because if you remember the second lock-down, it was freezing, it was bitter. And my husband was so protective that he’d taped red tape three feet away from the front door so that nobody could cross the line. And we’d bought one of those awful patio heaters, because one of the things of losing your hair, and God knows you lose every single hair on your body including the hairs up your nose, the hairs you never even think about, you cannot retain heat. So no matter how much kind of layers and thermals and God knows what you’ve got on, you just are bitterly cold.
Andy Coulson: [0:13:51] Yes.
Sarah Standing: [0:13:52] The best present my husband has ever bought me was an electric blanket, which literally seemed to save my life. I became like a balled cashmere beanie- somebody going to bed with kind of 14 layers and bed socks and the electric blanket on all the time.
Andy Coulson: [0:14:16] You talk in the book about the guilt you felt after your diagnosis. This idea that you’d somehow let everyone down by becoming ill.
Sarah Standing: [0:14:25] Very much so.
Andy Coulson: [0:14:26] “An ice-pick to the heart,” are the words that you use.
Sarah Standing: [0:14:28] Yes. It was very difficult, because I’m- I’ve always been blessed with fantastic energy, and I’ve always been able to multi-task and kind of be the person that will take the baby for the night if, you know, one of my children is having a hard time, or go down and see my mother and bring soup if she’s not very well, or- and I just found having- being the needy one as opposed to being needed, very difficult. I found it one of the most difficult things to cope with.
Andy Coulson: [0:15:02] How did you cope? Tell me about the sort of-
Sarah Standing: [0:15:06] Again, I had no choice really. I had to just- I was unbelievably blown away by how amazing people were to me. And I just had to accept it graciously which I did learn to do quite quickly.
Andy Coulson: [0:15:28] Yes. I’m going to talk about the friendship bit in a second, because there are a couple of scenes particularly in your book that are worthy of a Richard Curtis film without any shadow of a doubt.
The chemo though, after which your book is named, The Red Devil, as you say, to give it its official title R-CHOP, is powerful and painful.
Sarah Standing: [0:15:49] It’s not so much pain- it goes in waves.
Andy Coulson: [0:15:54] Impactful, perhaps?
Sarah Standing: [0:15:55] Yes, impactful exactly. I mean, it was painful at the beginning because it gives you this sort of deep bone-ache which I wasn’t expecting, because modern technology is so amazing. After you’ve had the chemo they sort of strap an electronic device onto your arm which injects you with something every hour or two hours. I mean, you can’t really feel it, and then a buzzer goes off 24 hours later and you take this thing off and it’s done its job.
But I had terrible, terrible, deep, deep bone-ache the first time I had chemo. The first time I had chemo it made me really sick. But after that I coped with it much better. The thing I hated more than- almost more than the chemo, was the steroids I had to take for five days after it. They send you kind loopy.
Andy Coulson: [0:16:53] Yes, yes. Massive highs and lows.
Sarah Standing: [0:16:55] Massive highs, massive sleeplessness. You know, I was averaging three and a half hours sleep a night, which makes the nights very, very long.
Andy Coulson: [0:17:07] Yes. So how were you managing that? What’s your- this podcast is all about the lessons for others, wherever we can find them. In that moment, which is you know, a proper moment of crisis, what are you saying to yourself, Sarah? How are you managing it? Because-
Sarah Standing: [0:17:25] I had a big calendar strapped to my- sellotaped to my kitchen counter, where I would cross off the days until the chemo ended. And I think I just set myself small goals. I was quite disciplined. I made myself walk round the block, twice round the block every- every day. Which was tough at times because it would make me not so much exhausted but just think I was going to faint. And-
Andy Coulson: [0:17:59] So this is the setting of small goals for yourself?
Sarah Standing: [0:18:02] Yes, small goals. I cooked dinner every night no matter what, for my husband and myself. I thought that was important to me. It made me feel like I was, you know, relevant and not just a patient.
Andy Coulson: [0:18:15] Yes.
Sarah Standing: [0:18:17] I would spend an awful lot of time on the phone talking to friends, of which I’m truly blessed. And I just- I don’t know, I didn’t- the whole chemo episode wasn’t nearly as bad as what the chemo did to my heart. That’s the only time I thought I was going to die.
Andy Coulson: [0:18:37] Yes, yes. I want to talk about that. You touched on it earlier, you write at times hilariously if you don’t mind me saying so, about your hair loss. But your jokes aside, it was clearly something that you felt very deeply, right? The loss of your hair. And again, something that I suspect will resonate with a lot of people listening and watching this who have ever been in the same situation, have been, you know, in and around chemo, it’s a sort of loss of identity I suppose, isn’t it?
I remember my sister went through this, and it was the first thing she said. Without- straight off the bat. “What about my hair?”
Sarah Standing: [0:19:18] Yes, yes.
Andy Coulson: [0:19:18] And it’s about- is it about identity? Is that what it was for you?
Sarah Standing: [0:19:22] It’s identity, it’s your femininity, it’s your vanity. And it’s also, hair is something which if you’ve got it, you very much take it for granted. You don’t, you know, you can expect to put on weight, lose weight, whatever, but what you don’t ever expect is to wake up one day with no hair. And most people don’t- unless they, you know, shave their heads because they want to, and have a great shaped head, most people don’t look that great with no hair. Especially women. I mean, whatever way you cut it.
Yes, that was awful, that was horrible. I hated that. I can’t pretend I didn’t hate it.
And also, all my life I’d had long hair. I’d spent a lot of money nurturing it, taking care of it, and to lose it and to not have that shield…
Andy Coulson: [0:20:27] That’s interesting, you use the word shield.
Sarah Standing: [0:20:28] Yes, it was a shield. And also fiddling with it. Putting it up if you were doing- concentrating on something, to get it out of your eyes. Running your fingers through it. You don’t realise how often you touch one’s hair.
Andy Coulson: [0:20:40] Yes, yes.
Sarah Standing: [0:20:42] It’s almost like a comfort blanket, although you never realise it until you don’t have it.
Andy Coulson: [0:20:46] It’s the exposing nature of- yes.
Sarah Standing: [0:20:49] Yes, and I did find that one of the most sort of- losing it, having it shaved, the last remains of it shaved off, I found it the most kind of submissive act ever. I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror for about ten days, I just- I couldn’t bear it.
It’s also incredibly painful when you lose your hair. Your scalp is so tender. But yes. I mean, I’m very glad I’ve got it back. Completely different. Completely different colour, no more highlights. Completely different texture, like babies hair, soft. I never had a curl on my head before but I, you know, I’m so grateful to have any.
Andy Coulson: [0:21:40] We’ve touched on it already, the lock-down shielding for you and John, not just because of your illness but because of his age as well, that added another layer of trauma for you. Being separated from your mum and your kids and your friends.
The book, as I mentioned earlier, is like a Richard Curtis film in the way that it describes how your friends sort of wrapped themselves around you but from a distance. There are two scenes in particular. One when your daughter pulls up in her new car outside your house and turns the radio on and starts dancing by the side of her car. You come out of the house- well, you tell the story. You come out of the house.
Sarah Standing: [0:22:21] My husband bought our daughter a kind of second-hand banger, and she’d gone to pick it up, and came- during lock-down came to show it to us. And she was just, I mean, buzzing with happiness. She was 30, so it had taken her a very long time to kind of a) pass her driving test, and b) get a car. And she came out of the car, pumped the radio up and was dancing, pretending to karaoke. We came out with masks on and God knows what and were just kind of watching her with complete happiness. And then three people walked down the street and they joined in the dancing, and it was a wonderful, cinematic moment of just unadulterated happiness.
Andy Coulson: [0:23:08] It goes further than that: there were people hanging out their windows joining in. There were people in the street.
Sarah Standing: [0:23:10] Yes, it was just fabulous. Kids kind of- I mean, it was just something to do.
Andy Coulson: [0:23:13] All that’s missing is the snow falling.
Sarah Standing: [0:23:15] I know. Something to do during lock-down. And it was just one of those completely joyous moments that you just think, “I’ve got to treasure this one.”
Andy Coulson: [0:23:23] Yes, and there’s another when your friends gather outside of your house as a surprise, you open the door and there’s a mass of friends outside all singing Christmas carols.
Sarah Standing: [0:23:30] That is just- I can barely talk about that, it makes me cry so much. It was just the most amazing, amazing, thoughtful thing to do. Because they all knew- I’m a massive Christmas fan and they all knew that I was- Johnny and I were going to spend Christmas alone together and not really do anything. And yes, I opened the door and there were 30 of my friends and family there. They’d found carol singers with lanterns and were all singing Christmas carols.
It’s so strange, because if you saw that in a movie you’d have the person who opens the door going, “Oh my God, this is amazing.” But when you are not expecting it, your actual reaction is- I was so confused. My son’s dog ran into the house and I was thinking, “What’s he doing here?” and, “Oh my God, we’ve got carol singers. We’ve never had carol singers. This is amazing.” And then I suddenly saw there’s my daughter, there’s Anya, there’s Tricia. And I suddenly realised it was all people I knew. I just burst into tears.
Andy Coulson: [0:24:39] Wonderful. It’s a lovely, lovely story, but it goes to something deeper as well doesn’t it, in that when you’re in the midst of crisis, the importance of recognising a moment of joy-
Sarah Standing: [0:24:54] Is massive.
Andy Coulson: [0:24:55] And for what it is, in and of itself, a moment of joy-
Sarah Standing: [0:25:00] Totally.
Andy Coulson: [0:25:01] Regardless of the darkness that’s around you. To find those when in crisis is critical. Do you agree?
Sarah Standing: [0:25:07] Totally critical. And I really genuinely think, and hope, that I’ve taken that with me, out the other side. I think that- I talk in the book about how I’d spent a lot of my life, like everybody, on a speeding train where you vaguely look out of the window but everything is a bit of a blur because it’s going so fast, and you’re trying to do this and you’re trying to do that, and you’ve got other things on your mind.
And I think what it’s really taught me is to slow down on that ride. Not slow down and do things at a slower pace, but to really appreciate the small moments and find joy in them. And it’s jolly easy to do if you look hard enough, it really is. Or not even if you look hard enough, just if you do appreciate the small things.
Andy Coulson: [0:26:01] Yes. In good times and-
Sarah Standing: [0:26:03] In good times and in bad times.
Andy Coulson: [0:26:06] There’s another line Sarah that you use in the book, that I like. “Cancer not only makes the person going through it appreciate every nuance of life, it also make the people who love you speak their minds.” So this goes to a different point. That’s your advice, I assume, to anyone who finds themselves in the, you know, the orbit as I put it earlier, the orbit of cancer.
Sarah Standing: [0:26:29] Definitely.
Andy Coulson: [0:26:31] Speak your mind? Because that-
Sarah Standing: [0:26:32] Well, when I say, “Speak your mind,” what- if you have a friend who has written something wonderful, who has done something nice, say it. Don’t have the thought on the stairs, tell people how much they mean to you, or how much you appreciate something they’ve done, or how great you think they’ve been during that. Don’t hold it back. Don’t- just spew it out.
Andy Coulson: [0:27:00] The danger isn’t it, that for some people- not all people, but the danger for some people, through nervousness or you know, an inability to kind of be able to say what they feel, which you know, plenty of people have for a whole range of different reasons, is that you end up in this sort of world of platitudes in crisis.
Sarah Standing: [0:27:19] Yes, but- yes, it is-
Andy Coulson: [0:27:21] That’s the advice isn’t it, to those who find themselves in those situations. Don’t worry about that.
Sarah Standing: [0:27:29] No, I think there’s a great danger of there being an elephant in the room if you don’t talk about it. One of my closest friends, their daughter died in a tragic accident and- she’s a very close friend of mind and she just said to me that she would- we talked about her daughter a lot and still do. Obviously every time I see her we talk about her, or I find a photograph which I send her or whatever, and she said, “What people don’t understand is I would rather talk about her. If it makes me cry, that’s better than not talking about her.”
Andy Coulson: [0:28:06] Yes.
Sarah Standing: [0:28:09] And I found- I mean, I was very lucky in that I would say the majority of my friends were great, and didn’t say they understood how I felt, because unless they’d had cancer they didn’t. But I also was very surprised that some people said, “Don’t worry-” when I told them, “Don’t worry, your secret’s safe with me.” Because it never crossed my mind that it was a secret to have cancer.
And I think that conversation is very important, because one out of two people will get cancer in their lifetime, and I think that the fear that surrounds it is- obviously it’s there, obviously it’s real. But there is always hope, and medicine and science is improving at such a galloping rate that I think that- I think fear has a lot to answer for. I genuinely do. I think that-
All the nurses said to me, which was quite interesting, that they-people who had an optimistic attitude did much better than those who didn’t.
Andy Coulson: [0:29:18] And that’s not- that’s not sort of the power of positive thinking kind of, you know, nonsense.
Sarah Standing: [0:29:24] No, that’s just-
Andy Coulson: [0:29:25] It’s just the truth that you’re-
Sarah Standing: [0:29:28] Yes. And I saw some people, you know, when I’d go in to have treatment, some people were, because they couldn’t have anybody with them, were crying because they didn’t think they could go through it on their own and were really desperately upset. I actually found going through the treatment alone helpful in a strange way, because I was only having to manage my emotions and not other people’s emotions.
Andy Coulson: [0:29:58] Yes. You could focus.
Sarah Standing: [0:30:01] Yes, just focus. And also I have to say that the nurses, all of them, went the distance. Because you know, incredibly overworked, overstretched, they knew that everybody was doing it alone, and they really were amazing.
Andy Coulson: [0:30:19] Yes, yes. It’s the tiny things in those moments as well, isn’t it?
Sarah Standing: [0:30:23] It’s the smallest things.
Andy Coulson: [0:30:25] You mention being brought a cup of tea, but it’s in a mug it’s not in a paper cup.
Sarah Standing: [0:30:29] Yes. It’s the smallest things. It’s a neighbour leaving me a bunch of daffodils that she says she’s hidden behind a dustbin, just because she saw them and thought that they were, you know, would cheer me up. It is the small things.
Andy Coulson: [0:30:44] Yes. You’re a journalist, a writer. You have strong views about the words we should use.
Sarah Standing: [0:30:52] Very strong.
Andy Coulson: [0:30:53] Particularly in the context of crisis, here the context of cancer. The language of crisis is something that we’re very interested in on this pod. The word ‘journey’ is a pet hate that we share.
Sarah Standing: [0:31:10] I know, that’s-
Andy Coulson: [0:31:12] It’s massively over-used. I blame Simon Cowell on The X-Factor–
Sarah Standing: [0:31:16] I know, I’m fascinated by that.
Andy Coulson: [0:31:18] Which is where it all started as far as I’m concerned, showing people their best bits and describing it as a journey before they’re booted off back into obscurity.
Why do you hate it so much?
Sarah Standing: [0:31:30] Because to me, a journey is to do with travel. Or getting from A to B. And nine times out of ten it’s something enjoyable that you look forward to. A crisis journey is just the wrong word for it. A crisis is a rollercoaster, not a journey. And I literally go mad when I scroll through Instagram and people have been on ‘a journey’ which involves nothing in particular. It’s just the wrong use of the word. They’ve been through an experience, but it’s not a journey. I want journeys to India, to the South of France, I want lovely journeys on aeroplanes.
Andy Coulson: [0:32:16] Fight and battle, two other words.
Sarah Standing: [0:32:19] Loathe them, because I think that both of them imply if you don’t try hard enough you’re a loser. And anybody that’s going or has gone through cancer has done their very best. I really feel strongly about that. You’ve got to fight it, you know, you’ve got to fight it. What do you think I’m doing? I’m not lying back and just saying, “Take me.” You know?
Andy Coulson: [0:32:49] Yes. So as we read in newspapers that we’ve both written for, you know, “They lost their battle against cancer.” That’s the wrong characterisation-
Sarah Standing: [0:33:01] Yes, absolutely. I really feel very strongly about it. I think it’s a very undermining word. Everybody has fought, that’s been touched by cancer, with every grain they’ve got left in them, to turn back the clock. And it just- it just strikes me as something that, as I say, is very undermining.
Andy Coulson: [0:33:30] There’s another dimension to your friendships, Sarah, that you write about. When you are diagnosed, two of your close friends are also dealing with cancer. And one, Mill, who you write about very movingly, sadly dies. So you’re dealing with grief whilst dealing with cancer. I suppose the straightforward question is, how did you manage it? How did you cope?
Sarah Standing: [0:33:59] I was devastated by Mill’s death. She was so brave, she really was. She didn’t battle and she didn’t fight, she was just bloody brave. And she had two children, young children, and we used to talk to one another through the night when we were both- we’d Facetime one another with steroids and make one another laugh.
I always- I don’t know, that’s a very tricky question. I never stop thinking about her.
Andy Coulson: [0:34:38] Were you able to separate the two things? You’re losing a friend whilst- whilst dealing with an existential threat to your own life. Did you separate them?
Sarah Standing: [0:34:50] Yes, I felt quite- I didn’t feel guilty that I was okay, we had completely different cancers and different circumstances and different medicines and God knows what. I just felt that I was very- I really had to kind of put my big-girl pants on and just not whinge about anything. To do with myself. I actually thought it was- it was great. Mill always used to say to me, “You know, you’ve got this, you’ve got this.” And I just know she’d have wanted me to have got it, so I was determined to get it, or rather not get it. I was determined- even more determined to get better.
Andy Coulson: [0:35:35] Yes. Another layer of crisis comes for you when- you alluded to it earlier, when a complication leads to you being rushed to hospital, where the words, “We’re just going to stop your heart for ten seconds,” are uttered by a doctor.
Sarah Standing: [0:35:54] That was bad.
Andy Coulson: [0:35:56] Just explain what had happened.
Sarah Standing: [0:36:00] What had happened, and I have to just put out here, I am so bad on medical terminology. What had happened was my pulse rate, which was- had been pretty steady 85, and I used to take it every morning to make sure that it was, I had one of those things at home to do it. It went up to 220. And at first I thought-
Andy Coulson: [0:36:26] From a usual resting heart of 85.
Sarah Standing: [0:36:29] Of 85. But you could see it, it was sort of making its presence known. It was visible, my pumping heart. And it was about 5.30 in the morning and I was the only one awake, and I thought, you know, “The reading is wrong. I’ll have a bath and cup of tea and it’ll be fine.” And it rose again to 225, and I thought, “Well, I’ll just call the chemo ward and check that this is okay.” They said, “How quickly can you get to the hospital?” and I said, “Well, probably in about seven minutes if there’s not much traffic,” and they said, “Okay, if it takes longer you need to call an ambulance immediately.”
So I began to think that maybe it wasn’t, you know, not- it was a little bit serious. And I arrived at the hospital and they were all waiting for me, and taking blood from my port, taking blood from this arm, taking blood from that arm, putting ECG which they couldn’t get a reading from because it was jumping around so much. And then they tried- I went up to the cardiology ward and they were trying all these quite strange cures for it, one of which involves doing a deep jugular massage which actually feels like you’re being strangled, to try and jolt it out of the rhythm. That didn’t work, and then they came in and wanted me to bear down like you do when you’re giving birth, that didn’t work. And then they said, “I’m afraid we’re just going to have to stop your heart, but it’s absolutely fine, it will only be-”
Andy Coulson: [0:38:03] An utterly terrifying moment. I mean-
Sarah Standing: [0:38:05] It was awful. And I was in a very small room and suddenly there were sort of six doctors and nurses lined up against the wall snapping on blue gloves. It all happened so fast that I didn’t have time- I actually thought, and this is where being a journalist sometimes makes you into a bit of a sick puppy, I kind of thought, “Okay, well now I’m going to be able to see whether a white light appears, or you know, angels, or anything happens when they stop-”
Andy Coulson: [0:38:32] You were curious.
Sarah Standing: [0:38:33] I was curious. I was like, “Okay, but you’ve got to talk to me the whole time.” I was absolutely adamant, I said, “You’ve got to keep talking to me.” And they did keep talking to me, and they told me that I would feel a sort of heat and a weight on my chest and then they would bring me back to- they would give me another injection which would make it hopefully go back into the same rhythm.
And it was over very quickly, and it did, and that-
Andy Coulson: [0:38:59] But you went through that process a number of times.
Sarah Standing: [0:39:01] I did go through that process a number of times, and then eventually I had a-
Andy Coulson: [0:39:05] You had your heart stopped how many times, Sarah?
Sarah Standing: [0:39:08] Two or three.
Andy Coulson: [0:39:10] Two or three. It’s an anecdote.
Sarah Standing: [0:39:12] It’s a good anecdote. And then I had to have a- then I had an operation to correct it, which was tiny. I’d never even had an anaesthetic before any of this happened. The first anaesthetic I had, which I was terrified of. That’s one thing I was terrified of was having an anaesthetic, was when I had to have a port fitted, Portacath or whatever they’re called, where they put the chemo and stuff. And that was- I was scared about that, but it was fine.
I mean, typical. I kind of had the operation and opened my eyes and looked at the clock and said to one of the nurses, you know, “When are they going to operate on me?” They were like, “We already have.” I was like, “Oh okay, so everything everybody told me is true. I won’t remember a thing.”
Andy Coulson: [0:40:04] You write in the book about the relationship between fond memories and the areas of our brains that perceive and register pain. This idea that nostalgia and our- I think you call it autobiographical memory, can act as a painkiller.
Sarah Standing: [0:40:21] Yes, I think it can.
Andy Coulson: [0:40:23] You subscribe to that idea.
Sarah Standing: [0:40:24] I do subscribe to that idea. And it’s something subconsciously I’ve thought for a very long time, because I- when I can’t get to sleep, I’m a bit of an insomniac, I make myself walk through the house that I grew up in as a child, and that’s a very happy memory.
Andy Coulson: [0:40:48] That’s something you did before.
Sarah Standing: [0:40:50] I did that before, and I-
Andy Coulson: [0:40:52] Through the back door-
Sarah Standing: [0:40:54] Through the back door, through every room. Upstairs, downstairs, through the garden, and it’s a very happy memory. I do the same- I love Christmas. I do the same with Christmases and things like that, remembering, and I’ve got a very weird- I can remember what people cooked a year ago, which is so vaguely pointless but gives me great pleasure.
And yes, I think-
Andy Coulson: [0:41:19] Not just pleasure, it’s useful.
Sarah Standing: [0:41:20] It’s very useful. Also I can sort of eat something in a restaurant and think, “Oh, I could cook that.” I can remember the tastes, the smells, what they’ve used in it. So yes, I do think it does, in the same way that you- you smell something from your childhood and it takes you back.
Andy Coulson: [0:41:41] Yes.
Sarah Standing: [0:41:42] I mean, I’m very fortunate in that I had a very happy childhood. I also recognise that that might not work for some people who have had a traumatic childhood.
Andy Coulson: [0:41:50] Of course, of course, it can have the reverse effect.
Sarah Standing: [0:41:53] It can have the reverse effect.
Andy Coulson: [0:41:55] Let’s just give a little bit of context here, because it was a wonderful upbringing Parents who clearly adored you and your sister Emma. A strong, stable family despite the showbiz environment.
Sarah Standing: [0:42:05] Yes, very stable.
Andy Coulson: [0:42:08] Visits to your dad’s film sets, you know, Hollywood, famous faces at Sunday lunch I’m sure, all that stuff. Do you think then that drawing, not just the sort of nostalgic senses, sense of it, but the actual memories of that childhood, when crisis came knocking for you, that they- that they’d given you a sort of inbuilt sense of resilience?
Sarah Standing: [0:42:37] Well, they were very safe places to go back to. They were very safe, enjoyable places to go back to, and to remember those things. And I didn’t walk around with those memories with such clarity, strangely, until I got cancer, and then they sort of flooded my brain.
But yes, I was incredibly fortunate and I do know how fortunate I was and am to have had such a happy, secure, childhood. When I first was going out with my husband, who is 25 years older than me, I was 24, desperate to get married, have loads of children. Initially I wanted eight, I ended up with three which is perfect. He would just kind of go, “I never want to get married again,” and I’d go, “Why?” And he’d got seven divorces in his immediate family and his take on it, “What if it goes wrong?” And I was like, “What if it goes right? Why would it go wrong?”
I’d got nothing in my DNA to ever show me anything but two parents who simply adored one another. Which he found incredulous, and now, obviously as I’m not 24, I realise was fairly, you know, I’m exceptionally lucky to have had that. But his take was, “What if it goes wrong?” and I just didn’t come from that. I found his attitude unbelievable.
Andy Coulson: [0:44:11] Yes, yes. But the lesson here is even if, you know, your childhood and your upbringing and your past is untroubled- is more troubled and more difficult, go and try and find those moments. Go and try and find that room-
Sarah Standing: [0:44:29] Yes, totally.
Andy Coulson: [0:44:30] Where there was happiness and stability, even frankly if it was temporary. Because that process you found, just as a mental exercise, you found that deeply helpful.
Sarah Standing: [0:44:42] I found it the biggest comfort. I really did, I genuinely did. I found it amazing.
Andy Coulson: [0:44:49] Let’s talk a little bit more about Johnny. It will be easier I think for our listeners and viewers to find a film or TV show that he hasn’t been in.
Sarah Standing: [0:44:42] He’s been in an awful lot. He’s just finished doing a film with Michael Caine actually, and Glenda Jackson.
Andy Coulson: [0:45:00] Fabulous. A very, very long and distinguished career on stage and screen. Your love story is an unusual one Sarah, because you first met when you were five years old.
Sarah Standing: [0:45:10] We did.
Andy Coulson: [0:45:11] And he was-
Sarah Standing: [0:45:13] He must have been 35 and married-
Andy Coulson: [0:45:19] And married, and came to visit your house.
Sarah Standing: [0:45:22] Came to visit my house, because we were living in Hollywood because my father was directing his first big Hollywood film called King Rat and Johnny was in it. Yes, and he came over for dinner one night at my parents’ house with George Segal and James Fox who were also in the film, and Denholm Elliot. And in this house I had, in my bedroom, spoilt brat obviously, a colour television. Which was quite normal in America but not very normal in England at that time.
Johny was so impressed that I had a colour television and wanted to watch the results of some baseball match or something, so he came and sat on the edge of the bed and watched ten minutes of the baseball. Which meant that I got to stay up for an extra ten minutes, so I immediately thought he was just fabulous because he’d extended my bed time.
Andy Coulson: [0:46:19] You don’t meet again- actually I don’t think that’s true. I think he did-
Sarah Standing: [0:46:22] Yes, we did meet because he obviously kept in touch with my dad. We did meet again off and on, but not really- he came to my 21st birthday party, but more as a friend of my parents, you know?
Andy Coulson: [0:46:40] Yes, yes. And then not long after that, you’re single-
Sarah Standing: [0:46:42] Not long after that I’m single, broken-hearted, miserable, broken up with a boyfriend, and I’d been given two tickets to go to the premier of Fame. And I was kind of on the phone to my dad going, “I don’t have anybody to go with, I’m a sad loser,” and he said, “I bumped into Johnny Standing the other day. He’s on his own, why don’t you call up and invite him?” And I was like, “I can’t. I mean he’s, you know, so much older than me and he won’t remember who I am,” and my dad said, “No, he’s so funny and he’s so sweet, I’m sure he’d love to take you.”
So I did ring him up, and woke him up because he’s a theatre actor and as he says, one point of being in the theatre is you get to sleep late in the morning, and I’m such an early bird. And I woke him up and he sounded like he was half dead, and I was like, “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’ve woken you up.” And eventually he called me back, and took me the premier of Fame, and we had the most wonderful time, and have basically been together ever since.
Andy Coulson: [0:47:44] Three children, two grandchildren.
Sarah Standing: [0:47:46] Yes.
Andy Coulson: [0:47:47] Can I ask, how did the diagnosis impact your relationship? You describe lock-down, never mind cancer, as the Antichrist of Marriage.
Sarah Standing: [0:47:55] It was hard.
Andy Coulson: [0:47:57] Which sounds harsh, but presumably fair.
Sarah Standing: [0:48:01] It was awful. I mean, it was really- I think it was just terrible for Johnny. I think because I was very glib about it, and- I think they had to carry the burden of it much more than me, both my husband and my kids. And obviously they didn’t put the Google restrictions on themselves. Nor did they meet my doctors, because it was impossible to. So I mean, they-
Andy Coulson: [0:48:35] So actually they’re caught in a horrible kind of no-man’s land.
Sarah Standing: [0:48:38] Yes, awful, and I’m sure they were all talking to one another and- and I feel very selfish about that, actually. I don’t think I really realised how awful it was for them, because I made such an effort to keep it bright and breezy, thinking I was helping them.
Andy Coulson: [0:49:01] Yes.
Sarah Standing: [0:49:04] But I think if we’d been together, and if we’d- if we’d been together as a family, I think we’d have talked about it, but it was hard to do over the phone, to have those kind of conversations.
Andy Coulson: [0:49:17] Yes.
Sarah Standing: [0:49:19] It made us-
Andy Coulson: [0:49:20] Your view? I mean, obviously you didn’t have a choice because of COVID, but your view is that families who find themselves in that situation, your view presumably is you should share everything, you should talk about everything? Are you…?
Sarah Standing: [0:49:37] I don’t know. That’s a tricky question. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to know, if a doctor or an oncologist had said to me, “You’ve got six months to live, put your life in order,” I wouldn’t have wanted to have known that. Just because I think it would-
Andy Coulson: [0:50:00] And you wouldn’t have wanted your family to know that. I guess what I’m saying is that COVID may have brought an advantage for you, because it kind of removed the-
Sarah Standing: [0:50:09] Yes, and it also made me, just from a selfish level it made me very safe in terms of my health. Because when you have chemo and your immune system is taken down to nothing, a cold can quickly turn to something else. Or- you have to be so careful in general when you’re having chemo not to be- not to catch things if you possibly can. And I was saved the sort of- I was saved from that because I was in a bubble.
Andy Coulson: [0:50:46] Yes, yes. Let’s finish with some Sarah Standing crisis management advice.
Sarah Standing: [0:50:53] Okay.
Andy Coulson: [0:50:55] Written in real-time as you’re dealing with chemo, you write, “If I’m having a high-energy day I exploit it. If I’m having a low-ebb day I give in and go to bed, and I feel no guilt but I don’t give cancer the oxygen it wants. I try not to let it bully me.”
Now that’s a strategy I think that applies to whatever crisis you might be facing. Would you agree?
Sarah Standing: [0:51:18] Yes I would. I think that any crisis that you’re going through has the ability to take you hostage if you allow it to. And I think that gives an advantage.
Andy Coulson: [0:51:36] And giving in on a day is not the same as giving up, right?
Sarah Standing: [0:51:39] No, very different. Very different.
Andy Coulson: [0:51:44] Another strategy you have, Sarah, it strikes me, is to as you put it, avoid unhappiness. And it reminded me of the TV show, I don’t know if you’ve seen it, Marvellous, that’s based on the life of a guy called Neil Baldwin. He’s played by Toby Jones, I think. And in that, he says, “I always wanted to be happy, so I decided to be.” You strike me as someone who has made a very conscious decision.
Sarah Standing: [0:52:06] Very conscious. I’ve always been a glass half-full.
Andy Coulson: [0:52:10] That’s optimism, that’s not the same as happiness.
Sarah Standing: [0:52:12] Okay, optimism. No, I’ve always been- I have to say, I’ve always been a pretty happy person, I really have.
Andy Coulson: [0:52:20] But consciously happy. I mean, it’s not as a consequence-
Sarah Standing: [0:52:24] Yes, I guess-
Andy Coulson: [0:52:25] Because it is a decision, right?
Sarah Standing: [0:52:26] Yes, I think it is. But I also think it’s that- I think it’s a lot do to with the way I was brought up, and a lot to do with, you know, just don’t be a moaning Minnie, just kind of look at the good things in your life.
Andy Coulson: [0:52:45] Which can, on the face of it sound- it’s quite unfashionable, the whole stiff upper lip and look for the positives and all that. But there’s- it means something, it’s a valuable attitude.
Sarah Standing: [0:52:54] It can sort of be- yes, and it can sort of be innate if you- my parents brought both my sister and I up to be able to go up-market and down-market with the same enjoyment from both. So to eat fish and chips or McDonalds or to eat somewhere really lovely, because that sort of is the life of an actor or a director, it’s feast or famine.
So I’ve never wished for something that was unobtainable at the time. I mean, I guess I’ve always approached every day as a sort of new start, new- you know, yesterday may have been tough, today’s going to be better.
Andy Coulson: [0:53:41] Yes. And these experiences, these days, long days, difficult days, have made you happier?
Sarah Standing: [0:53:49] Much happier. I mean, I was always happy but they’ve made me just much more appreciative.
Andy Coulson: [0:53:56] Fantastic. Before you go we’re going to ask you for your Crisis Cures, as we do with every guest. This is three things that you sort of lean on, rely on, look to, in the dark moments. Can’t be another person, I’m afraid. What would you say?
Sarah Standing: [0:54:14] I would say that the thing that I always turn to when my life’s a bit unsettled or uncertain is cooking. I love cooking. I find cooking unbelievably therapeutic and relaxing, and pointful. I like cooking for people, I like cooking for myself. And-
Andy Coulson: [0:54:35] Give me a specific dish that evokes happiness for you.
Sarah Standing: [0:54:41] Chicken pot pie, mashed potatoes, peas.
Andy Coulson: [0:54:45] Yes, comfort food.
Sarah Standing: [0:54:45] Comfort food.
Andy Coulson: [0:54:46] Lovely, yes.
Sarah Standing: [0:54:48] Yes, I always cook. And I cooked throughout me being ill. I would kind of come upstairs and cook dinner every night. It just gave me- it centred me.
Andy Coulson: [0:54:57] There must have been days when that was the last thing you wanted to do.
Sarah Standing: [0:55:01] But the alternative is my darling husband- my darling husband can really only cook eggs, and it takes him so long, and I realised that if I handed over the cooking to him I would be in hospital with another complaint because I would just be constipated beyond- it was self-survival.
Andy Coulson: [0:55:16] Okay, so it was party happiness, partly survival.
Sarah Standing: [0:55:20] Yes, party survival.
Andy Coulson: [0:55:22] Okay, okay. Your second cure.
Sarah Standing: [0:55:24] Abba. Abba just- you can’t be unhappy listening to Abba.
Andy Coulson: [0:55:29] Fabulous. You’re only allowed one track, we’re going to get all Desert Island Discs now, which Abba song would it be?
Sarah Standing: [0:55:32] Oh God it’s so hard, I just love them so much. Mama Mia. My sister threw this amazing 60th birthday party for me, Abba themed, and as a massive surprise she got the cast from the Abba show to come and sing. And I think I’d had one or two too many tequilas and got up on stage. I cannot sing and I cannot dance, but I did for two hours, with them. There is video evidence, which could be held against me, but I’ve never ever just felt such unbridled joy. So, Abba.
Andy Coulson: [0:56:12] Fantastic. And your third cure?
Sarah Standing: [0:56:14] My third cure, jigsaws. Very mundane, I think they’re a wonderful way of sitting around the kitchen table and everybody is able to talk to one another without actually looking necessarily at one- it’s a sort of mindless thing, and you find yourself talking. It requires quite big concentration. I’m a bit of a jigsaw whore, I really like the wooden ones which are unbelievably expensive but I have friends that we trade them. And yes, I find jigsaws very, very therapeutic.
Andy Coulson: [0:56:49] Fantastic. Very specific, very useful Crisis Cures. Thank you.
Sarah Standing: [0:56:53] Are they?
Andy Coulson: [0:56:54] They are, perfect. Sarah, thanks for joining us.
Sarah Standing: [0:56:57] Thank you so much, it’s been a pleasure.
Andy Coulson: [0:56:58] And for sharing your story. And on behalf of everyone listening and watching, stay well and write more.
Sarah Standing: [0:57:06] Thank you. I thought for one moment you were going to say sharing my journey. But you resisted.
Andy Coulson: [0:57:13] I resisted, just.
Sarah Standing: [0:57:14] You resisted. Almost came out.
Andy Coulson: [0:57:17] Almost came out. Thanks so much.
Sarah Standing: [0:57:19] Thank you very much indeed. Pleasure.