I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been reading the ups and downs I felt emotionally during my treatment and I feel I should share a little bit of that madness with you.
Please be aware, this is intended as a bit of fun. I appreciate every single bit of support I’ve been given and hope I don’t cause anyone any offence. There’s liberal use of some of my favourite swear words too.
You’ve been warned.
One barely legible page in my diary is headed
THINGS NOT TO SAY TO A CANCER PATIENT!!!!!!! (I obviously meant business)
I then go on to list a bunch of stuff with my angry lady, never to be said out loud, replies.
1. “Keep your chin up”
You keep your own chin up. You are the most negative, moany person I’ve ever met. I have cancer for fucksake. If I want to feel sorry for myself, I fucking will!
2. “You’ve got to stay strong”
What exactly does this mean?? Have I missed something vital about my treatment?? Should I be down the gym, pumping weights? Idiots.
3. “It’s all about staying positive”
Actually, it’s all about life saving surgery followed by 6 months of intensive, poisonous chemo, followed by radiotherapy and then more surgery. It seems weird that at no point, have any of the trained and experienced medical staff given me information on the importance of motherfucking positivity!
I DO understand that wallowing in self pity will not help but… I’m not! I never have! Offering me this nugget of useless information is patronising. You might as well remind me to pee, breathe or talk English.
If you can’t think of an original thing to say, say nothing.
Note from present day me: wow! I was raging here. And by the way, saying nothing isn’t preferable. I hugely appreciated that people would come to see me or call me and not know the right thing to say. There’s really no right thing. I appreciate the presence of everyone who was there whether they had amazing insights or just sat and watched Netflix with me.
If you really want to know what to say to someone with cancer, say this:
Ok, back to the past me, who I suspect was missing several of her marbles by this point.
4. “You have to keep active”
3 months ago I had MAJOR surgery. Since then, I’ve had chemo. Both of these are extremely limiting. Despite this, I manage to shower, dress, do physio exercises, walk the dog, clean the house, shop, cook…. I’m doing pretty fucking fantastically in terms of activity. So again, thanks for the advice but why are you offering it to me? Do you not think I’m doing enough? What would you suggest? A marathon, going to the gym 5 times a week? Perhaps a nice zumba class where I can jump around and burst my stitches?
Answers on a postcard. I can use them to light my fire.
Eeek!! Aggressive. I’m frightened of chemo Deanna.
I actually did get some cool post cards and cards. I liked them. I read them loads of times when I needed a bit of cheering up.
On with the scribbles…
5. “You have to fight this!”
How?? With my fists or a gun?? Did I mention the IVF, sugery, chemo, radiotherapy & more surgery? Is that not fighting? Or should I take up fencing too?
6. “You’ll kick cancer’s ass”
Yes, me and my cancer cells. In a ring. Gloves on. Ding ding.
7. “Have you tried eating more kale/broccoli/honey/your villages first born children?. I read about it in Chat/The Sun/written on the back of a public toilet door.”
If ANY of these things had any scientific merit, it would be a part of your treatment plan. I’m sure these things are actually pretty beneficial for overall health (with maybe the exception of eating babies) but they are not a miraculous cure. And don’t even get me started on so called superfoods. Twats! Do you believe everything you’re told or just the things that make you spend money on pointless crap?
I saw this and it made me laugh:
I then went on to write a whole page about how hungry I was…. Weird.
I was the moron. Thank you a for not binning me as a friend. I owe you!
I found this and thought it was pretty apt given I’m a cancerian who had cancer.
And, the last one, which still does my head in
8. “What caused your cancer?, is it because you ate processed food/because your weight has gone up and down/you didn’t pray enough/you once tucked your mobile phone into your bra strap/because you like mushrooms?”
I have cancer for the same reason as most people.
I tested positive for the BRCA 2 gene alteration so my chances were alway massively increased but I refuse to be guilted into believing that I somehow ’caused ‘ it.
I personally believe people need to attach blame to cancer. It makes them feel removed from it and therefore, safer.
Do what you can to avoid it. Don’t cook yourself in the sun, don’t smoke, exercise, eat well, drink in moderation. Other than that, chill out. Enjoy life and maybe cross the road if you see me and I’m muttering to myself and scribbling in a journal!