I keep an eye on various tags related to cancer and there are always new ones popping up on the feed. Other young (ish. Heavy on the Ish) people like me, mothers and fathers of small children, still reeling from the shock of their diagnosis. Just starting to navigate the way their life has changed in such a short space of time. I don’t know if any of them will find my blog or even be in the mood to read past the blathering about how much fun! we are having and how happy! we are. But I hope maybe at least a few might stumble across it. I mean my writing isn’t great. They may well regret it. And I DO talk quite a lot about nothing. My life really isn’t especially interesting to anyone except me. But I was there. In that place. Not very long ago at all. And it was royally shit. And now I am here. And life is good. I don’t assume anything about the future but I look forward with optimism and the knowledge that we can get through whatever life has in store. Even when it feels like we can’t, we do.
I read a lot of people feeling angry about being called brave during this time. I think I actually wrote a rant about this at some point. But now, on the other side, and looking back, I do feel I was brave. I am proud of myself for getting through that. Whether it was stoic and optimistic or weeping and wailing and complaining the whole way is irrelevant. Whether you beat it or it keeps coming back is irrelevant. Showing courage is being brave. And what is showing courage? The ability to do something that frightens you. Being brave. No one chooses this fight, no one wants it. But we fight it as best we can. Sometimes better and with more grace than other times. But we keep going, one foot in front of the other, picking ourselves up after each scan, each test and needlestick, blood samples, MRIs, the indignity of paper knickers and gaping gowns, intimate procedures, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, changes to our body, skin, hair, mood. It’s the one thing we all win on! You don’t even have to do it happily to qualify! You can scream and shout and be furious at the world and suffer the treatments gracelessly and with no humour whatsoever. You are still facing it, the SCARIEST SHIT EVER. And you might not feel brave now but I hope one day you can also look back and celebrate your strength in the face of adversity.
That was all I wanted to say, really. I have no idea if this even pops up on anyone else’s feed but if anyone stumbles across it and it serves to buoy them up during this really hideous time, well that’d be great.