It has been a bit of a strange week. I had what should have been an ‘easy’ week this week as I only had the Taxol last week but for some reason (I now think lack of a proper breakfast) I reacted badly and had a really rough few days. I felt the weight of all the side effects particularly sheer exhaustion which have been building up over the last 12 weeks just hit me and I wallowed in self pity for the best part of last week.
There was plenty of sitting on my sofa and crying, needing cuddles from S and attempting to save most of my crying for when the boys were in bed but of course they are not stupid and they saw I was not having a good week. They did their best to cheer me up but my frustration and sadness affected them and they were grouchy too, which or course in turn makes me feel even worse and guilty!
But thankfully it’s has been half term so no homeschooling, and by Tuesday I was feeling better. I also have the most supportive friends who have bent over backwards to keep my spirits up, be it sending me magazine subscriptions to keep my mind on other things, flowers, or other goodies, or even sending me surprise videos to make me laugh. I am so grateful for them all!
But I need to plea to everyone to stop telling me how brave I am. I know you mean well. But hearing “you’re so brave, I’m in awe of how well you’re coping” or similar, just makes me feel like a fraud. I have no choice but to keep going, and I am one of literally thousands of people going through this, many of whom do not have the support systems I am lucky enough to have. I am far from brave, I cry a lot, if I could I am sure I would give up, but it’s not an option. I simply have to carry on and have these treatments take the hit on my body and emotions and get through it for my boys and my family. That doesn’t make me brave or any better than anyone else, it just makes me human.
So thank you for believing in me, that is awesome and I am so thankful, but instead of calling me brave, just acknowledge it’s all rather rubbish and say, “hope you’re doing ok, it’s ok if you’re not” or if you’d rather you have my permission to just ignore the cancer and send me a funny meme or talk to me about anything else!
As ever, take care everyone xx
I am old enough to remember when the first flurry of people writing openly and honestly about cancer started. It may not have been the first, but it was certainly unusual and the first I'd seen - people like John Diamond, and Ruth Picardie writing newspaper columns about their experiences that later became books. They both wrote about the language people use when talking to people with cancer - brave, heroic, battling cancer etc. Neither of them felt any of those things. Like you, they were just getting on with it and hoping to get through it. After all, it's not like you've got a choice. I think people say those things out of awkwardness, and also maybe out of gratitude - they are grateful it's not them and that's uncomfortable to acknowledge, so they heap praise on you to counteract the guilt (does that make any sense?). You may not think you're being brave - but it is quite something to go through cancer and treatment while also holding down a job and being a mum and a partner and a friend (even if you do spend a lot of time crying!) - so at the very least you do inspire awe. I wish I could give you a HUGE hug.
Oh wish we could meet up for a hug as well! Hopefully at some point this year we will manage it, for now thanks for keeping me sane at work! Speak soon x
Whatever cancer throws your way, we’re right there with you.
We’re here to provide physical, financial and emotional support.
© Macmillan Cancer Support 2020
© Macmillan Cancer Support, registered charity in England and Wales (261017), Scotland (SC039907) and the Isle of Man (604). Also operating in Northern Ireland. A company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales company number 2400969. Isle of Man company number 4694F. Registered office: 89 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7UQ. VAT no: 668265007