Monday, 7 February 2011

C is for...Cancer

Photo credit: jscreationzs
When most people are asked what their biggest fear is you often hear them say things like spiders or flying.  Not me.

Sure, I don't really like spiders but the thing I'm afraid of most is cancer.

I'd heard of cancer when I was younger and didn't really think much of it.  It was something I read about in the news from time to time. something that didn't register with me much.  It wasn't until my early 20's when it really started to have an impact on my life.

My friend rang me "R**'s Mum has been taken into hospital really poorly, we are waiting for confirmation on tests but they think it could be bowel cancer".   I was in shock.  Not long before this my friend and I had been out with her mother-in-law in the local pub watching a tacky 'Chippendales' type tribute act and getting stupidly drunk and falling about laughing together.  3 weeks after this phone call she died.  She was 50.  She was young at heart and fun-loving woman with a heart of gold.

As I stood in the crematorium singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" (Liverpool FC was her family passion) I couldn't believe what had happened.  How had something like this taken her so quickly?

It was not long after that first moment that cancer impacted on my life that I heard more about it through friends who had other friends or family members who had cancer.  Then the worst happened....my parents turned up on my doorstep one the evening.  I knew straight away something was wrong.  "I've been diagnosed with breast cancer" Mum said, the words ringing in my ears.  I held it together as best I could until they left then I broke down.  My husband said to me "She'll be fine, it's only breast cancer - it's not like it's the worst kind".  He didn't even hug me, he just shrugged it off and walked away.  I could have punched him right there.  I grabbed my coat and drove to my friends house who gave me the hugs and words of support I needed. Needless to say, that husband is now my ex-husband.

Mum had to have a mastectomy and it was hard-going but she got through it.  She was told that if the cancer hadn't returned within 5 years she would be given the all clear.  4 and half years later it was back and she had to have another mastectomy.  That was 4 years ago now.  She still goes for her regular checks and I just hope it's completely gone.

In 2007, just before Matt (my lovely husband I'm married to now) were due to wed my Nan became really poorly.  She was unable to travel up from Luton to the ceremony.  I knew it was something serious.  Just after the wedding we were told she had pancreatic cancer.  It hit us all hard.  My Nan had always been so full of life and active.  Even though I was doing a 126 mile commute each day I still made the 400 mile round trip journey to Luton and back to visit my Nan every weekend for the 2 months she was ill.  Watching this disease take hold of her and waste her away was heart-breaking.  I'll never forget my sister and I having to help her onto the commode. I'll never forget her not knowing who we were toward the end apart from the odd smile. I so wish she'd been around to witness the birth of my baby girl.  My Nan passed away in October 2007.

Then a couple of years ago one of my closest friends Mum was diagnosed with cancer.  I was a massive support for her through a really dark time in her life.  Her Mum died in October 2008.  I remember being pregnant and emotional at the funeral as my heart was aching for my friend and the memory of my Nan was all too raw.

Exactly a year later another one of my closest friends Mums died from cancer.  Another year, another funeral to go to.  Another cancer victim.

It was all too much...3 years, 3 Octobers, 3 cancer victims, 3 deaths, 3 funerals.

Out of my 6 closest friends in my life, 3 of them have lost their mums to cancer.

Now I have a male friend who is currently battling prostate cancer at the age of 50 and a friend who has a cousin battling ovarian cancer at the age of 42.  Last week I read in the news that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer - shocking stats.

Cancer is evil, cancer is disgusting.  It rips through families and causes so much heartache.  It's the one thing in life I fear the most.

I give a small amount of money to Cancer Research and to MacMillan each month.  I've been donating since cancer first hit my life.   I'm not a religious person but I do pray that one day they find a cure.

Sorry this is a deep and dark post but, if you've got this far, thank you for reading.


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17 comments:

ghostwritermummy said...

I too donate to cancer research, it has affected many people close to me. So sorry you've had this pain in your life. Big hugs to you
XxX

Paula Virgo said...

Likewise - affected, donate, pray

Heidi said...

Brilliant post. My Nana died from cancer 10 years ago & I'm doing the Race For Life again this year in her memory. Sending you lots of hugs x

I Heart Motherhood said...

Hey, really good post, Cancer is evil and it does terrible things to families. I also posted on it a month or so back because it hit my family in 2009. My dad has Myeloma, an incurable but treatable blood cancer. It's really changed him and our family dynamic. I try and raise money by doing a few events and have done since my grandad died when I was 17, of bone cancer. I really hope your mum stays well. We have to just keep fighting against it. Xx

waterbirthplease said...

I feel exactly the same. It terrifies me and I convince myself it's a matter of time. As you know - I watched my Mum die from it. Before that, 3 Grandparents. I have an aunty I'm super close too. We've always been more like sisters. She's a fun-loving blonde bombshell of a biker chick and I've always been in awe of her. Since her diagnosis of terminal bone cancer (after fighting off breast cancer) she has also had a stroke and is half paralyed now. she's 44. Cancer is fucking shit. Bravo you for voicing it x

waterbirthplease said...

P.s - sorry for the bad language, and your ex sounds like a knob! x

SAHMlovingit said...

Thanks so much for your comments. I have been wondering whether or not to post this now for a few days. It's all been in my head but only tonight I sat down and typed it all out.

It impacts on so many peoples lives it's untrue.

I did put cancer is fucking evil, cancer is fucking disgusting actually but I went back and amended it.

I just feel like it's there, lying in wait to strike on me or a member of my precious family or friends at any moment. It terrifies me completely.

The pain and heartache my friends have gone through losing their mums it's just too much.

Thanks again for reading.

xx

wendy_mcd83 said...

My sister died of skin cancer 16 years ago. It's so unbelievably devastating. I wrote about my sister and our loss. It was a hard post to write. If you wanted to read it here's the link.
http://insidethewendyhouse.blogspot.com/2010/10/still-missing-you-carol-xxx.html
I hope your loved ones win their fights. xxx

alybean said...

My Auntie died of breast cancer and so did a close family friend.Another Auntie, my mum's sister had cancer of the womb lining which followed a hysterectomy.She's had 2 reoccurances but has recently got a1 on her last check up.Sorry it has hit your family so many times.Cancer sucks!

Stingray_ said...

Matt and I have both lost family member to cancer and you're right it is fucking evil and heartbreaking. Matts Mum possibly has bowel cancer and his Dad has now been told, after THREE TIMES of being given the all clear, that he has prostate cancer. It's too large to operate on now so they've offered him radiotherapy. Cheers, thanks for that, if they had diagnosed him correctly in the first place a year ago they could have operated! Sorry I'm off on a rant!
I really hope and pray your Mum is all clear now xxx

myevil3yearold said...

Cancer has stolen my grams and my best friend. Cancer..... I hate you.

This Mid 30s Life said...

It's horrible. I can't think of a single person who has not been personally affected in some way.

And I hate that whole "x kicked cancer because she really fought and had a positive attitude" rubbish. It's a lottery. There are people who aren't so lucky and they fought hard too.

In the papers on the weekend it was reported that with advanced in medicine, some are saying it will be significantly reduced in the next generation. Here's hoping!

Jenny said...

Things like this just enforce in me how important it is to live every day of your life.

A thoughtful post.

Sending you a hug. It sounds like you might need one.

motherporridge said...

I think it's really important to talk about cancer and how it affects people. My mum has secondary breast cancer. Also couldn't agree more with Mid 30s life the language of 'beating cancer' because your attitude is positive is completely hurtful to those who haven't beaten it, through no fault of their own.

marketingtomilk said...

As you know my mum was diagnosed with lung cancer a few days ago and given 6 months.
The speed of cancer is frightening and devastating.
Love to everyone affected

x

Widow_Lady302 said...

It was an honor you checked out my blog before I read this post, and it is now abundantly more so. I hope my blog gives you hope. I hope that even in the painful parts of it, it is like a warm hug. Cancer is horrid, but no one who dies from it loses their battle, because if they fought for a cure, more time, or quality of life they are winners. Bless you, love you, thank you, I am proud of you. It is an honor to know you my friend. <3 Much love!

alibump18 said...

Very meaningful blog. It's such a shame when people get this illness, and there isn't much help beyond certain boundaries of the disease :(

My husbands mother died of cancer about 10yrs ago when he was 18. It is still a sore subject for him sometimes til this day, when it crops up into conversation.
My family on my mothers side (my nan, mum, auntie and cousin) have also suffered with borderline cervical cancer cells at a fairly early age (early 20's) and I'm in fear of waiting until next year when I am due a smear. But I'm just living everyday as it comes at the minute and deal with it if/when anything happens.

My grandad also had bowel cancer, a while back.

It really is an evil illness, and you hear such a lot of news about people getting it recently.

I too was very naive to what cancer was and what it was all about, and sometimes I wish I still was!

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