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Monday 13 May 2013

So what's it like having cancer

One piece of advice I was given at the beginning of this all was from M and the Fairy Blogmother:

Don't Google it, they said.

I haven't

Therefore, I think it is emotionally worse for those closest than it is for me.  I am caught up in the whole treatment timetable, the chemo every Wednesday, knowing the nurses and calling my oncologist by her first name.  I have all the pills and the potions and the right to stay in bed, watching the iPlayer every morning if I want.  I do wake up at 3 am and think that this is not fair and why me.  Instead of becoming wrapped up in all the emotional wreckage, I turn on Radio 4 and listen to the World Service for the rest of the night.  (I am sure all my psych friends would have something to say about this but I really don't want to know!)

It is worse for HWISO.  Much worse.  He has Googled it.  He wants to fix it and fix it now.  Sadly, he is not qualified and, whilst I get his frustration, I don't have his energy.  I do understand his intolerance that I am not the most important person in the MacMillan Day Unit, or the most critical on the oncologist's list and I understand his frustration that no one understands how important I am to him and that he cannot bear the idea of life without me.  I know he is prepared to sell everything he owns, if he can just get me fixed.

And I love him for it.

It is tough for my girls.  Really tough.  And it is NOT FAIR.  It really isn't.  Being a teenager is tough enough, without me being ill and weak.  They are being so loving and supportive that it breaks my heart but I know that they just break down from time to time.  It is almost too much for them to bear.  I wish I could take it away from them.  So does HWISO.  

Physically, it is hard.  It is hard to know there is something alien in your body.  It is hard to have the pain of an operation.  It is hard to have pain. It is hard to have to be so careful about going out and coming into contact with people who might be infectious.  It is hard to have to pay attention to every creek and groan.  It is very difficult, for me, to be a hypochondriac.  I find it hard to take drugs and have a fuzzy head.  I hate the attention.  I try and sleep through the afternoon when having chemo so no one asks me how I am.  (For the record: uncomfortable and cross!).  I hate getting weak and tired but I am scared of pushing myself too hard and collapsing again.  My body is not what it was and is fighting on two fronts: the cancer and the chemo.  It takes a lot out of you.

Honestly what's it like having cancer?  It sucks.   

However, I have discovered that life goes on, even if you do have cancer.  The family needs love and attention.  The dogs need love and attention.  The kitchen floor needs attention.  The bills still arrive and need paying.  The farm needs discussion and planning.  The emails and letters need answering.  The washing still needs sorting.  The shopping needs doing.  Life needs living.

I have changed though.  I have stopped stressing the small stuff and started delegating the big stuff.  I received a particularly spiteful letter in the post this morning.  In the old days, I would have got upset and thrown a hissy fit and got overly stressed and emotional.  Today, I called my great friend who is a solicitor and talked it over with her.  She made a plan.  I like plans.  I don't have the energy for making plans just now.

I'm too busy fighting cancer.


  1. Anonymous15 May, 2013

    Wanted to leave a comment but not sure what to say other than i wish you all the best. xxx

  2. Anonymous15 May, 2013

    I too wish you well and a speedy recovery. Thanks for this interesting post.

  3. Yep. It sucks. Hope the chemo does its job and you are bouncing back to full health soon. x

  4. Anonymous15 May, 2013

    i wish you all the best. my worst nightmare is my cancer coming back. xx

  5. Anonymous15 May, 2013

    I too wish you all the best..xx

  6. Wishing you and your family all the best. Thank you for sharing xx

  7. Anonymous16 May, 2013

    Your blog brought a lump to my throat. A good friend has cancer and is in remission - he biggest fear is leaving 3 small children without a mum. She is so brave. You are so brave. Makes (or should make) the rest of us appreciate the important things in life more. I am so thankful to have good health and vow every week not to take it for granted. I wish you all the best, Jessica.

  8. Anonymous16 May, 2013

    Your blog provides a little insight into such a sad time in life. My uncle has terminal lung cancer, and I hate watching him get weaker and suffer. I hate asking him how he is, knowing full well he feels like crap and is exhausted all the time. I hate cancer being such a taboo, because being able to talk about it (when you want to of course) is so important in the emotional part of getting through it. All the best, love to you and your family XXx