Crouch End woman hosts podcast about battle with cancer

Crouch End woman begins podcast detailing cancer journey

Crouch End woman begins podcast detailing her cancer journey - Credit: Talking With Cancer

A woman from Crouch End is hosting a weekly podcast to document her life after being diagnosed with cancer.

Katie Phillips, 43, received the news in February that she has a strain of thyroid papillary cancer called hobnail.

Through the shock of the diagnosis, Katie decided she wanted to keep an audio log of her cancer journey to demonstrate “how everything has changed and nothing has changed”.

Katie recruited her friend Clair Whitefield, whose work in journalism has helped to shape and perfect the podcast.

Launching the inaugural episode of Talking With Cancer on May 23, the two have now begun recording one episode per week.

Episodes premiere every Tuesday, with run times of 25 to 45 minutes.

They often highlight how people are universally affected by cancer, whether by receiving a diagnosis or through showing support. 

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“Talking through how my week has been allows me to bookmark where I am in my journey, which feels good as I can almost close a chapter once we’ve chatted,” said Katie. ”It was sometimes stressful launching it, just meeting deadlines and signing things off.

"But overall it’s not stressful. If it was, I probably wouldn’t do it.”

Katie and Clair record episodes in Katie’s home office using Rode microphones and the recording program QuickTime to capture their conversations. They then use a shared drive to send to their editor who cuts the tracks together.

“Doing this podcast has been my way to support Katie in a way that feels steadfast and useful,” said Clair. “We’ve always talked; and baked into every episode is the trust, jokes and honesty that come from 20 odd years of friendship.”

Katie and Clair met through mutual friends nearly two decades ago and their bond has strengthened with the start of Talking With Cancer.

On her friendship with Clair, Katie says they give each other the space to be “authentic” and have conversations that can be light-hearted but also serious.

“We’ve always been able to be really authentic with each other and can have some deep and meaningful, but we also can keep it light and laugh a lot.

"So it’s a great combination. I will always be so grateful to Clair for saying yes when I asked if she’d record our conversations.

“Little did we know those weekly audios for my friends and family would become the podcast when we started.”

Talking With Cancer’s hosts do not shy away from some of the difficult topics associated with cancer.

Episodes like Perspective or Sitting in Stillness help to convey that Katie’s diagnosis is a learning process for all involved.

However, Katie and Clair make light of the situation by telling mum jokes, sharing chicken soup recipes and discussing their daily lives.

“Life carries on in many ways like it did before: I go to the same park with the dog, my high street hasn’t changed, I still get annoyed about loading the dishwasher, but in that context my whole world has changed in its entirety and will never be the same again,” said Katie.

Although Katie is just beginning her journey with cancer, she serves to inspire others who are also beginning their journey.

“Lean in to whatever it is you are feeling. And if you find it stressful sharing your updates with loved ones, make a voice note and send that around instead. Don’t bear the weight of other people's stress, worry or anxiety because you have enough to bear,” said Katie.

The second season of Talking With Cancer will take a deeper dive into Katie’s cancer journey by gaining perspectives from the people in her life.

In two episodes, she and Clair will be speaking to her husband as well as her thyroid oncologist who delivered her cancer diagnosis.

Listen to Talking With Cancer on Spotify, Audible, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, and Apple Podcasts. Follow the podcast on Instagram @talking_withcancer