The C-word; it takes our loved ones too soon and breaks apart families. It can ravish you with disease and leave you dead before your time. But sometimes you survive and even when cancer tries to knock you down you come back fighting. Your one of the lucky ones, there are those who are told they only have months to live and all they can do is prepare their loved ones for their departure to the other side. Finding out you, a family member, friend, co-worker or neighbour has cancer is a nasty shock and it can be difficult to learn how to cope when a diagnosis is heard. I have lost people I loved to cancer; some were barely a teen when cancer took hold of them and others were older. When it comes to the C-word it has no concept of time and as quickly as it comes it can take its victims with them.
My aunty was one of the lucky ones. She realized something was wrong when she had a car accident after being struck down by an extreme state of exhaustion. The bleeding began and her coughing bouts of blood became more regular, what had started as a bacterial infection in her stomach created ulcers that mutated into stomach cancer. Finding out that the one woman, the one biological family member who had always been there for me left a lump in my throat and I couldn’t believe that someone still so young could have a cancer that was more common in patients of 60 and over. It was a lot to take in but through it all my aunty stood steadfast, strong in her belief that she would get better. Never once did she doubt her ability to survive and as she told me later, being on the operation table after failed bouts of chemotherapy made her tell herself that if she died she would be ok to go. As she said, she had lived her life and while she would be sad to go she would be ready if God wished her to be welcomed into her arms.
As you probably know I am not religious by any means but during my Aunty’s battle with cancer her conviction in faith strengthened and I for one was glad that she had something to turn to and make her feel positive during a dark period of her life. She lost so much weight that she was almost skeletal and her operation meant that she could no longer enjoy the foods that she once loved but she was grateful. Because despite the C- word she never gave up hope and while she still suffers with the after effects of the treatment today a few years on, she said its better to be alive with the ones she loves, even if she is in pain and exhausted. We have all accepted that she will never be the same as she was before the treatment but I for one am so proud of her. She endured an abusive marriage, had a partner who cheated on her and raised my cousin without seeking help as a single mum.
To me this brave remarkable woman is not just a cancer survivor but is the nearest thing to a mum to me. I as you may know have a difficult and often tumultuous relationship with my biological mother but never once did my aunt’s love ever falter for me and that I am sure of. Aunty was given tremendous support during her treatment and even now a few years on has check ups to make sure she is cancer free and touch wood she is. While Aunty was treated in the fantastic Royal Marsden, I know others had success at Harley Street at Queens, which has a fantastic Cancer ward specializing in gastrointestinal, urological and lung cancer among others. It is clinics and hospitals like these that make me happy to enlighten a noble cause and help vanquish the C-Word once and for all.
Seeing my aunty diagnosed with cancer changed my perspective on the way I viewed life and in a way her strength and vitality in the face of vitality was a driving force behind the creation of this blog. Whilst it is true that I was finally encouraged to take the plunge after dealing with illness myself my aunty told me to stop feeling sorry for myself and concentrate on getting myself better. It was harsh but it was the best advice that she could have ever given me. It was the wake up call I needed and after wallowing in self-pity I took control of my destiny and started my blog. It was the best decision that I had ever made and writing helped me re-cooperate while my body rested. Now a year later I am in a better state of mind and physically I am stronger than I was, my bouts of nausea though frequent are less frequent than before and I have more energy. I am still tired all the time but when I think of my aunty and her battle with the C-word it shows me that someone in far worse pain than me battled her diagnosis without complaint and it is a motto we can all learn from. I know from personal experience that we can complain about the most trivial things but never once did aunty feel sorry for herself. Instead she thanked her lucky stars that she made it to the end of her journey and never let the C-word defeat her. She is my hero and no other role model could ever come close.
Have you or a loved one had cancer? How Did You Cope?
Please note this post has been sponsored but this does not affect my opinions, research and curation of post. All points are factual and not influenced by monetary compensation.