Oh you’ve got Cancer? I’m suddenly very busy for a long time.

So as I sit here watching Aztec Camera on Vintage TV (or Sad TV if you’d prefer) I am pondering on another question posed to me by the lovely @Kelliet1085

What i’d like to know is how you delivered the news of your cancer to your friends & family and how people reacted to the news?

How did you feel about the way people reacted, did their treatment of you change, did people pop up who hadn’t shown interest in you before?

Have you seen the Macmillan advert where there are people falling over because the reality of being told they have Cancer hits them, right in the middle of doing something normal?
It is exactly how it feels.
I remember feeling eerily calm when I was told I had Cancer. Hearing the words coming out of Mr Hollingsworth’s mouth was just a confirmation of what I already knew. It only hit me a couple of days later, I think it was after my PET scan, and it hit me like a tonne of bricks.
I remember sitting at my desk in work and thinking ‘Shit, I have fucking stupid cancer’. It was like a punch in my tumour bloated stomach.

I didn’t know what to do, I felt like I was trapped in this cancer bubble. All I could think about was how do I tell people what is going on with me.

As you can tell my main way I communicate well is by writing. Before my diagnosis I only let a few people into my writing, I mainly published to Twitter and not on Facebook, largely because I was worried what people would think about my writing, especially people who knew me on a face to face level.

Once I had ‘come out’ as such on twitter and Facebook, I mainly found that people just didn’t know what to say.
I had a lot of people who were shocked and saddened.

I had old school friends message me after over a decade of no contact, wishing me all the best and following my progress. It was overwhelming the response I got.

I had complete strangers wanting to send me cards, presents, well wishes. People were just compelled to do something, anything. I guess it’s part of our human nature to want to help.

I had chocolate, flowers, gifts and at the last count, I had 40+ cards from people just wanting to be part of ‘Fran’s Army’

But, whilst this was all amazing and I felt such an enormous amount of love in a digital way, I found the flip side to a situation which forced people to feel….well feel numb.

In those very early days where we were also dealing with a bereavement, I craved love, reassurance and just wanting to know someone was there. I didn’t need anything more than someone telling me it was all going to be OK.

When Eve was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, my first instinct was to be with her. I had to be with her to let her know I was always going to be there. And I had to get there as fast as I could, as though being there within an hour would somehow change everything.
I know this is just how I dealt with her cancer diagnosis and everyone reacts differently to shocking news, but to me it would have been alien to not have wanted to be with her at her lowest point.

And yes, I know some people just simply do not know how to deal with someone telling them they have cancer, I get that, I get that completely, but if someone you cared about was going through the worst time in there life, wouldn’t you put aside what you were going through with the situation and just sat with that person?

Just had a cup of tea with them?

Just called them to tell them you were going to visit?

No?

Well, some of my closest family and friends didn’t do that either. In fact after nearly 4 months post diagnosis, I still haven’t heard from some F&F.

I was shocked and I was sad, and yes, I probably should have made more of an effort also, but I guess you do find out who is truly there for you when you most need someone.

Maybe people thought I would be different or maybe they were worried about my physical appearance being shocking (I actually rocked the cancer look, thankyouverymuch) but still, they weren’t (aren’t) there. Maybe people didn’t like my writing, was I too frank or they didn’t like I was sharing so much.
I simply don’t know because I’ve never been told.

So I will leave you with this;

If you have just found out someone close to you has Cancer, or anything else serious for that matter, just take a breath. Think for a minute and remember this: The reason they have told you is because they love you and they just want to hear that back.

Feeling like you are not alone or different at a time when all you do feel is alone and different helps more than you could ever know.

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4 thoughts on “Oh you’ve got Cancer? I’m suddenly very busy for a long time.

  1. Whether people know what to say or not, just being there is effortless. It’s you who is going through a hard time. It’s shit and people are selfish without realising they are being.

  2. Hayley Dot says:

    Don’t feel that for all of them it was a reflection on you or how they feel about you, and never think badly about what you write, you have opened up a world many of us will never understand, so thank you for that.
    Some people will think “is it alright for me to go round” or “she needs a rest, and would feel obliged to accept a visit”, or for some it’s just not their way, but they still love you just as much xxx

  3. I know exactly how you feel about this. some friends came from halfway across the country to see me, as fast as they could, and there were others at the other end of the spectrum who only wanted to know me after my treatment, when they ran into me by accident, when it looked like I’d be okay. So glad you’ve had good news, hope the fuckwit stays away!

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