Hello all, happy World Cancer Day!
As a way of highlighting the fact that it is World Cancer Day I thought that I would answer a few of the questions I’m repeatedly asked about my cancer experience, so here we go…
What was the best thing that someone did / bought for you when you had cancer?
People are always asking me this because they want to know how they can help someone else. You don’t need to wait to be asked to do something, no one is going to mind you turning up with a casserole, they will love it, but equally don’t expect to eat it with them or be messaging twice a day asking for the dish back because that just makes it stressful. Do things without expecting anything back.
The gifts I appreciated the most were uplifting DVD’s (keyword uplifting) and microwaveable gloves and booties as your extremities can get very cold when you are having chemotherapy.
Do your children know you had cancer and how did you talk to them about the illness?
When I was diagnosed my son had just turned two years old and my daughter was three months old. My son could see I was very sick so we always explained it in a language he would understand. Things like, mummy has an owee and the doctor is giving her special medicine and we have always tried to encourage both kids to ask plenty of questions.
As my kids got older they’ve asked more questions which I have answered as honestly as possible so they now know that I had an illness called cancer. They also know that the reasons we do so many Cancer Research UK campaigns is because they raise money to help people like mummy get better and I just love being able to tell them that! My wish is that one day every parent can tell their child that they are cancer free.
It is really tough being a mum whose sick, there are no two ways about it. I actually wrote an article about coping strategies and the subject gets a whole chapter in the book because being a mum with any long-term serious illness has such a massive impact.
Was writing a book about having cancer therapeutic?
It was but it wasn’t always easy. I remember when writing about (and reliving) the moments that I was so low I wanted to give up, I came away from my computer crying. But at the same time, that was what I wanted, an honest account that did approach the harder emotional parts of having cancer, so I felt I had to go through that. I think that, combined with the time that has passed, definitely helped me come to terms with what I went through.
Have you got an advice to anyone wanting to write about their cancer experience?
I think writing is a unique and amazing way to process emotions, good and bad. Obviously you don’t have to keep a blog or write a book, it can be private thoughts just for yourself. If you do want to publish, I think WordPress is an excellent blogging platform, it’s what I use. If you want to write and don’t know where to start, check out a book like Let It Out by Katie Dalebout which gives prompts and different ways of looking at your illness.
What is it like for you when people donate to Cancer charities?
Ok, so the only people who ever ask me this are cancer charities but it really is an AMAZING feeling! You feel like people are doing something very personal for you and your family – they are helping to ensure that you live. It feels incredibly personal and incredibly moving. I feel the same way about people who volunteer in charity shops. Because of YOU, I was offered a type of chemotherapy that my mother, 8 years earlier, wasn’t. The fact that people I don’t know and never will are actively doing something which helped save my life is a very unique and powerful feeling that I can’t fully articulate.
If you want to be one of those amazing people – great news – you can! Give whatever you can to the cancer charity of your choice and know that you are doing something this World Cancer Day to literally change the life of someone with cancer!
With love & Unity! x