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Letter to my friend - cancer survivor

Jun 14, 2008 - 1 comments

I wrote this note to my friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 years ago. She is in total remission now. She asked me how I was dealing with things and why I didn't want people to know. She was crying. This was my reply,


hey you - stop that ((((((((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))))))))))), no howling - you'll scare the dog!!

Yes, having read your other longer note you are so right about so many things.  I DO feel in a kind of bubble, yes, my ******* sister -in-law better watch her mouth about the 'nightmare' life she has!

But the bit that hit home was the thing you said about not wanting to be 'defined' by having had a cancer diagnosis. I have been really really struggling with this one.  Because it's EXACTLY like that.  That is exactly what I do not want to happen. You've got it in one hunny. xxx

Here's how I feel though - try and understand this ramble at your peril!!! LOL!!

By talking about it and telling people about being diagnosed with cancer - albeit a 'curable' one, I feel, in a strange sense, that I am revealing too much of myself. Too intimate. Too close to home. I mean this is a 'life' thing isn't it? (I know my friends already know me but they've never known me like THIS - if that makes any sense). I don't want it to change - I'm J, not J, the one who has been told she has a cancer growing in her thyroid 'J'.

I've already seen a change in the atitude of M - she looks at me all the time with a worried look on her face which REMINDS me!!!! (And maybe I've not been even thinking about it for a whole day and therefore don't want to be reminded!).

I don't want sympathy, even though I know it is well meaning and kind.  It just doesn't sit well with me.  I am still me - just not quite as I was - a bit sideways...........God I'm not making any sense!
I'm not sure how I am about it all - not sure if I am brave or terrified, shocked or accepting, just don't quite know really.  Maybe you can understand because you are the only other close friend I know of my age who has faced this.  I am in a strange place in my head - fairly ok, most of the time, but definitely strange.
I don't want to be answering continual questions about what stage of treatment I am at, I just don't want to.  And I don't think it is to do with not accepting what is going on - I've had 5 weeks to get used to the idea now. (Does anybody ever 'accept' they have/have had cancer?  I don't know. Maybe one day in the future).  But just by answering endless questions about what this or that scan means can make me quite depressed later, once I am back on my own and have time to reflect.  I only want to talk about it to my closest people, ie; P, you (now you know), and thats it really.  But how do I say, without hurting anyone's feelings or shutting them out 'hey, don't want to talk about it - I'll let you know when I have something to tell'. I feel it's a kind of self-preservation but I know they want to be involved and help me.

Where I think I am at the moment is I'm not quite ready to 'embrace' my situation - **** me I wish it would go away!!! (lol) - but I am accepting that it is happening and I am ready to deal with the next phase, whatever that may be.

I am ok - and yes I have my moments but am really ok for the rest of the time.  As you know so well - no choice really!  We both 'run' our respective homes - we hold it together.  So we have to be ok.

I run my own life, I run 3 houses, deal with 4 kids, an ex who is a pain (but a part of C's and my life forever), I work, shop, cook, drive the school runs and live with a man who is 'absent' quite a lot of the time. (In more ways than one - as you know).
So when I make a decision, suddenly having L or M or whoever saying 'are you sure thats what you want to do'? Or worse, chipping in with 'Well Jacqui I don't think you should do that' - I KNOW it's well-meaning and concerned but does having cancer mean I don't have autonomy over my life and decisions without being questioned??
****!!!  I sound so ungrateful but I am so hoping you can relate to this - I have a cancer diagnosis - yes it's a ******* 'nightmare' but it doesn't mean I cannot any longer make rational decisions about myself and about what I am capable of.

Oh honey it's a bugger isn't it - both of us??!!!!  NOT FAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HOWEVER -

there is something else I want to say to you.   if EVER you feel like you cannot handle this or that about what is going on with me, or if anything I say or do brings up bad memories or feelings you are not happy to deal with, PLEASE tell me and I will understand.  
The last thing I desperately wanted not to do is stress you, you have had such a shite time yourself with it all and are through the other side, (well nearly, physically if you know what I mean hun), and I do not want to drag you back to places that might hurt or scare you.
I totally, totally respect that you just might not want to talk about stuff at times and that is ok!  I probably won't too!!!
I think this is such a weird time for us both in so many ways that I think we need to be totally honest with what we can or can't deal with?  We need to be able to say 'time out', and for it to be ok. For it to be a safe thing to do?  Does that make sense?  
I'm not trying to make 'rules', just making it up as I go along really but I felt I needed to say this.
I am now finding out for myself the road you have already travelled, I am finding out that it is a lonely road because only you can feel the way you feel.  And all the talking in the world cannot explain to anyone else what it feels like because they are not you.
Oh dear - now I am getting a bit 'bubbly'.

On the other hand, if you want someone to climb to the top of the highest hill with and scream at the top of your voice about the unfairness, shitiness, horribleness, vileness, nastiness, scariness and plain ******* ANGER that you feel about cancer,
I'M YOUR WOMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

then we will go to the pub and get drunk - hah!!!!

love you




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by mommy2two2008, Jun 14, 2008
Hugs to you Jacqui - it has got to be tough - I can't comprehend - but I commend you for honesty and there are always people here when you want!  Bless you dear and all you have to face.  I can see from your writing, you can do it! ~Kim

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