Ten Years of Cancer - Ten things I've Learned
I have had cancer so long the charity that raises money for it has changed his name three times!! (Formally the Leukaemia Research Fund, then Bloodwise and now Blood Cancer UK).
So over ten years of having cancer what have I learned?
- Life is short, live it to the fullest. (Below is my youngest daughter and I just before we did the tapathon for Children in Need - and we think🤞 breaking the record for the most people tap dancing at the same time).
- Cancer is not a death sentence - I am just about to complete my Masters and have finished my first novel - see number 1
- Even though I physically have some challenges because of the daily chemo (breathlessness, fatigue, blurgh - you can read the other posts to find out more about that) it doesn't have to stop you. No I'm not going to break any land speed records, but I can do everything I want with a little persistence and innovation.
- Live in the moment and look forward - I'm thinking I might do a PhD next. Is it wrong that part of the reason I want to do it is so people have to call me Doctor 😆?
- After a while people start to treat you like you again, and stopped putting their head to one side and saying in their special voice, '....and how are you?' - not going to lie, that was really annoying at the beginning, because to be frank you brain is going - 'I DON'T F**KING KNOW, I MIGHT DIE, I AM SO SCARED, I WANT MY MUM, PLEASE MAKE IT STOP.' - so yeah, not helpful (although I know they were just trying to be nice).
- Black humour is the best - my family talk about death a lot - my husband and I have bets on whose going first and the kids have dibs on all the good stuff in the house. People who don't live with a life threatening disease sometimes find us a tad morbid.😆😄😱
- Get counselling - it helps, don't try to be brave, you've been told something bloody awful, something life changing. Ask for help. Talking is the best.
- The MacMillan Nurses are beyond brilliant and so is the NHS - everyone has seen that recently, but I already knew - AMAZING.
- I hate to admit it, but exercise and taking care of myself has helped - initially, I drank ...lots. That didn't help. You need to come to terms with things and do exercises like Pilates really keeps your head in a lovely tranquil place and it makes me feel physically stronger - which is great.
- There are days when you feel awful - that's OK, wallow, watch Netflix's, eat chocolate, have a glass of wine. Then the next day, if you feel better do something positive, for yourself.
The last few months have, obviously, been more challenging than most. Fortunately, I am quite happy tucked away on my own writing, but I know a lot of people have struggled and to be frank this whole 'extremely vulnerable' thing does make you re-think and take more care.
I continue to socially distance, but I am also trying to have a bit of a life, as life must go on. Just a little more carefully than before.
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