Due Date

It’s my due date.  I should have discovered by now if I had an early bird or whether my procrastination would be passed on. My mum passed her due date by two weeks and I had to be induced.  The need for forceps has remained with me to get anything done especially on time.  I imagined today I’d be waddling about probably still doing some really important preparations that should have been done months ago.  I’d be excited and terrified out of my mind.

Instead the only waddling I’m doing are because my jeans are too tight as I’m eating til I can no longer feel the hollowness of my stomach.   I don’t want to get out of bed.

Lying here with the bright light streaming in highlights the mess of clothes and paperwork I have no ability to deal with.  I can hear the faint soft yells of the children playing in the park outside.   Part of my brain can’t conceive of not having a child. It can’t seem to contort itself around the impossible and all that entails.   Thoughts will hit me with an unexpected fervor and out of order. I’ll never be a grandmother.

Another part of my brain has the mission of trying to make sense of it but can’t.  It’s like listening to a drunk person laying on the bathroom floor alternately sleeping and waking up to yell something important but when you ask ‘what do you mean?’ they fall back into a sleep coma.  Yesterday the drunk brain voice slurred “Your baby will never be in a terrible accident”,  “Wtf?”

Thats all it gives me, I’m supposed to make-do with knowing my child is safe from accidents, abuse, bullying, cancer, schizophrenia, alcoholism and a more awful prolonged death.  It’s not comforting or particularly useful but it’s all that part of my brain has for me.

Hail just pelted at my window followed closely by a bright blue.  There was probably a rainbow but I have no desire to see it, instead I scowl just as much at the sunny window as I did when it was dark and dreary.  There is a term for babies born after a miscarriage or still birth.  They are called rainbow babies.  It’s an acknowledgement of the loss, of the dark storm filled skies and at the same time an understanding of clouds parting and there being a beautiful cascade of colour and a gorgeous little baby at the end of it.    All the infertility forums are about acknowledging loss and to keep going “after all you never know”.  I don’t begrudge anyone their rainbow but its hard when I do know.  I will never have a surprise pregnancy.  Doing IVF again might get me pregnant it also might kill me.

I’ve stopped talking about this because when it gets to this point in a conversation I know the next question is ‘have you considered adoption?’ or “Why don’t you just adopt?”   It’s taken a while to upack those 4-5 words.  These phrases are meant to move me forward, to get me closer to that rainbow but they don’t.  They are meant to fix me, but it just reminds me how unfixable the situation is.  I feel like an awful person that I can’t put everyone else at ease with oh I hadn’t thought about that, its a brilliant idea I’ll get right on it.

There is a very good chance I wouldn’t be allowed to adopt, I’m over 40 and have a history of breast cancer and live with the odds it might come back.  Its fair enough that idf a child has already lost one set of parents you don’t want to knowingly put them in a situation where they are more likely to lose another one.  Only 2 percent of children adopted in the UK are babies so if, big if,  I was allowed to adopt it would be more likely to be an older child.  A lot of children have additional complex needs.  There are a lot of skills and talents needed in adopting a child who has been through so much.  That might be one thing but I have a sister with special needs and I can’t knowingly adopt someone who may need so much from me that it could take away from my ability to look after her.  I would have to undergo at least a year if not longer of social workers invading every part of our lives (rightfully so)to assess our ability to adopt a child and I’m not so sure I could deal with the fallout of being rejected.

I’ve heard adoption as being described as making a ‘claim’ of parenthood then proceeding from that point as that being the reality.  That is a wonderful and amazing gift to open your family.  I feel like a terrible person because I’m not sure my grief would go away,my fear is I would always feel like I’m looking after someone else’s child. Maybe that is my drunken-trying-to make-sense brain talking and trying to protect me because if I did desperately want to adopt it’s likely I couldn’t.

When I decided to do IVF last year it was the result of an epic search for optimism.  After everything I had been through I decided to have some faith and do what other people seem to do and just live my life without the what if’s holding me back.  I believed so hard.   The belief, faith and hope I had is decimated.   Rainbows no longer hold magic but are simply fractured prisms of light.

On this day and every day I grieve my little one’s life untravelled.  On this day I miss who I would have been as their mum and the journey we would have walked together.

Today is the only due date I ever had or will ever have.   I don’t want to come out from these covers but knowing I have to work acts like forceps dragging me out into the world, a world no part of my brain can make sense of.

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Tidal Waves and Friendship

I was recently asked if it was hard to be around my best friend and her, gorgeous, baby.
I met Karma when we were six.  I remarked how I had the same shorts- 70’s green with a blue rim – as her four year old brother,  then we both agreed we had similar noses.  Our friendship was sealed.
When we were 28 I was living in America, she in Italy, but we were both home for Christmas and taking one of our customary walks talking about the whole world.  The subject of babies came up.  Karma asked with the tone of a statement,  ‘but you’ll come home to England for that won’t you?’  My face must have looked quizzical – at that point babies never crossed my mind and I couldn’t imagine returning to London willingly  – Karma continued, “I just always saw a picture of us walking with our baby’s in pushchairs in Chiswick’.  I laughed lightly and switched the conversation back to our various relationship dramas.  There would be lots of time to think about that.
Through all the turbulence of cancer, the heartbreak of losing my mum and having to start my life all over again there was a tiny, at times, minute, bead of hope.  Often it dimmed and I couldn’t see it but I knew it was there.  Not only was I living back in London, I was back in Chiswick.  Karma was also back in London after almost a decade in Italy.  I started to wonder if what she had said that cold day on Hampstead Heath was actually some kind of prophesy.
The idea that Karma had glimpsed the future solidified when my bead of hope turned into 14 positive pregnancy tests.  I was four weeks pregnant and Karma was eight months.  We met for brunch at an American style restaurant and took a long walk down by the Thames.  We talked, like we had talked about everything in the thirty three years of our friendship, with topics flying around and bouncing back.  It was all falling into place.  I was nauseous and she was facing the birth but although in different stages, we were there, together.   Our babies would be both be small enough at the same time to push in strollers in the park.  Our children could possibly be the same year of school, just like we were.  Since I knew I couldn’t give my child a sibling this was the next best thing.
When I first met Karma’s beautiful,perfect, little baby I held him and stared in wonder.  It was the closest feeling I will ever have to being an auntie.  Karma was wonderful and considerate of how I might be feeling and I was able to share in her glow of happiness.  I cuddled her miracle knowing mine had died.  I held little Kiyo in my arms while still carrying my baby inside me.
My body didn’t know or didn’t accept that my baby had died and so it ‘missed’the signs I had miscarried.  Instead of naturally expelling the pregnancy, the sac kept growing and the baby stayed put for an additional two and a half months.  I waited till 17 weeks to see if I could miscarry naturally.   I took Misoprostal pills to encourage it to happen, naturopathic remedies, rested, exercised, drank, went to yoga workshops, and acupuncture but in the end, to avoid a potentially risky infection, I had to have surgery.  I couldn’t help feeling I had failed at being a mother and then failed again by not being able to miscarrying properly.  Another part of me would, if I’d been able, have carried my little boy or girl forever.
My grief swelled up like a tidal wave racing towards me on the beach and just when it was at its highest point about to cascade down sweeping me and a the whole village out to sea, it froze.  I could see it suspended above me but remained dry beneath.  This respite gave me the opportunity to be there for other people who needed me, as well as space for my heart to break for others.  My bright, funny and beautiful friend, Ola, passed away on November 22nd 2015 aged just 34. Cancer of an unknown primary ended her life far, far too soon.  Karma’s mum, Helen, passed away from Motor Neurone Disease on December 19th.  Helen shaped my childhood and life in countless ways. It was her introducing me to Spare Rib magazine which was behind the reason I became Ms at age 10.  I proudly wrote my feminist title on my library card and never looked back.  Karma and her family were extraordinary in the love and care they gave Helen.
When I answered the question about it being hard to be around Karma’s baby I was glad to be able to say that my love and connection for Karma has shielded our friendship.  I’m constantly reminded how short life can be and how precious love is.  I would hate to have my not being able to be a mother come between us so I’m determined to find a way through.
But when I read online that Anne Hathaway was pregnant I lost my mind and yelled ‘fuck you’ at my computer.  The anger that flushed through me was a reminder that feelings aren’t always under my control.  By the way I have no particular interest in Anne Hathaway, although I did enjoy her Wrecking ball on Lip Sync Battles.  This hasn’t been an isolated incident when  Huffington post reported Ice-T’s wife, Coco was pregnant I scared a confused Lauren by yelling, “Oh you have to be fucking kidding me”.
I’m still under the suspended tidal wave and wonder if my due date is the day it comes crashing down or if this grief is the type that looms over everything for a lifetime. While I figure that out I’m so appreciative of my love for Kiyo’s smile.  Even though the world has once again torn at the seams of what was supposed to be, I desperately want to find a way to be happy.  I just hope I never meet Anne Hathaway.il_340x270.843543920_izp1
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You

There was a time I didn’t think about you much. In my 20’s I would have scrunched up my face and recoiled at the prospect of being a mum. I wanted to go out all night drinking not stay at home feeding. Talking about babies was boring to me. I felt sorry for women who seemed to be able to do nothing else.

At 30 I heard a distinct ‘tick’ of my biological clock. It happened while cuddling with an adorable six month old during a baby sitting job. For the next five years I plotted, planned, freaked out, and eventually became obsessed with having a child. I knew time was slipping through my fingers so I finally drew a line in the sand and set a date to start trying. Since I wanted a summer baby September seemed like the perfect month. Just three months before the start date I was diagnosed with a hormone positive breast cancer.

I risked feeding my cancer by injecting hormones everyday in order to harvest eggs. I felt the tumor get bigger.  I found a baby donor daddy and all nine of my eggs became embryos. Thats when you became you. From an idea you became an entity albeit one on ice in Pasadena but you were here.

It would have been easier for me to not want to have you. I was told it was too risky for me to carry you, I worried I didn’t have enough to offer and ultimately I was scared I might die before you got to adulthood. However much I tried to not want you, I did, desperately.

In a huge act of optimism I realized I needed to live like I was living. So I decided to start the other half of the IVF process and get pregnant.

I battled with UK laws for over six months for you to be allowed to enter England. After winning I took thousand of hormones in the form of pills, patches and suppositories. I spent thousands of dollars followed by thousands of pounds to get to this point.  On transfer day I saw you as a distinct clump of cells on the screen before they put you into my womb. I whispered in my head, I love you already.

I knew the odds weren’t in my favor but I knew deep inside that I was meant to have you and when I saw the first negative pregnancy test I couldn’t believe it. I knew it was wrong. I took another and it was negative and I couldn’t accept what I was seeing. I had seen you on the swings, I was saving old clothes that you might want to dress up in, I knew I would hug you. Lauren and I have talked and sometimes pre argued about almost every aspect of childrearing, you have been in our lives for years, you had to arrive.

The next day I got a Big Fat Positive result! I pulled the test from the day before out of the trash and it too was positive.

Twelve more positive tests followed and nausea set in. My breasts felt like I was carrying a dumbbells. I started craving garlic bread with rosemary and grapefruit. Not together though, that would have been really weird. Everything finally fell into place at the end of ten long years. Against all the odds you were here, making me puke and I loved it.

Today I went for my scan and you have doubled in size from last week and I saw your heart beat.

Within seconds of looking at the blurry ultrasound images I could see that although I get to hold you now I will never get to comfort you after a nightmare or place a cold cloth over your brows during a fever or kiss a bump to make it better. The doctor confirmed that even though you are trying your hardest you will not make it into our world.

I had a life with you planned out, with lots of room for you to also be your own person, I didn’t want to be that type of mum. I can’t wrap my head around never buying your school uniform or staying up at night pondering if I am posting too many pictures of you on Facebook or worrying about you posting pictures on a site I’m not cool enough to even know about. I can’t believe I’ll never get to hold your hand as we splash through puddles and it seems out of the realms of possibility that I will never be able to tell you to go tidy your room (while secretly understanding why you don’t want to do it because I hate cleaning mine). Although I haven’t met you I feel like I know you and I don’t know how to say goodbye.

I’m heartbroken your journey has been and will be too hard and too short.

As I stroke my slightly rounded stomach I know for right now you are still alive, still with me and I love you.

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Back to the Future

I was at work chit chatting with a young yoga instructor when she asked how old I was. “Thirty Five” the voice in my head said firmly. The voice was wrong, but it had said it so confidently I was taken off guard. I stumbled and hoped it wouldn’t look like I was being all weird about my age. Then I summoned the same confident voice to say out loud the words “thirty nine”. Although I had said the truth it felt like I lied. Plus I am totally weird about my age.

I was diagnosed at 35. Although I have kept living, my life, my beautiful, chaotic, free, silly, innocent life stopped. A part of me remains suspended in time. The passionate girl and the life I knew so well froze the day before I went for that first check up.

The last four years have had their own separate space time continuum. Instead of living, in the way I used to I’ve stoically existed. The last forty seven months have felt like a hundred years of sadness. In this warped universe I am 65, the removal of my ovaries has aged me and my reproductive system is slammed shut. Life has tipped from looking forward hoping for a brighter and better tomorrow to knowing the best is behind me, everything goes downhill from here and if I’m lucky I have old age to look forward to.

Not only are there two sub realities where I feel too young and too old but my literal age also has the same polarity. Right now the NHS deems me young enough at 39 to help me get pregnant but in a few short weeks when I turn 40 I will officially be too old. The time paradoxes are mounting up. I need a DeLorean and Michael J Fox. As a side note I’ve always needed Michael J Fox.

Just like in the movie I’m going to the past to get back to the future. My mode of time travel will be hormones. My 65 year old self is fading as I take little pills that remind me what it feels like to be flirty and hopeful. The hormones are undoing the years of post-menopausal damage to my body. The goal is to retrieve a part of me frozen before my treatment, before I lost my mum, before my world fell apart. A part of me created when I still remembered who I was and dared to hope for better. That part of me who may be the beginning of a whole new person are my nine frozen embryos. Little cells suspended in time who represent everything that is optimistic and hopeful for the future.

One embryo will be placed in me a week before I turn 40.

After all the time traveling I hope to land in the present and with a future plan to say to my little one….

Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

Back to The Future

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Losing my Words

In a bright treatment room my student was in a Warrior II yoga pose and heard me say “Turn your palm up and lift your…” followed by silence.

My voice faltered as I felt the hot sting of not remembering my next word. I took a breath and stared at the appendage that extended from my shoulder to my wrist. A mental fog had rolled in and settled between me and the piece of my body that owned an elbow. I tried to resist straining into the obscuring mental gauze, scared it might envelope me completely and I wouldn’t be able to find my way out.

I steadied myself as I tried to recount what I did know. I looked at my skin intently as if the clue to the name could be found in my freckles. The blurring became less opaque and I could see the evasive word had three letters then just as quickly everything dimmed as the vagueness rolled back and I couldn’t be sure.

“Go around” my inner voice yelled. It was doing it’s best to be a light house intermittently sending guidance out through the mist. I started naming all the words I could remember of things in front of me and suddenly I saw an alternate route to avoid the craggy vocabulary cliffs.

I kept my voice steady as if I had meant to take my time with the next direction. I slowly said “hand” before continuing on “up towards the ceiling to reverse your warrior”.

It wasn’t perfect, I had just said palm and hand wasn’t the word I wanted. I did know it was infinitely better than looking vacant with my mouth opening and closing.

Having been a performer, hosting shows in front of live audiences and improv-ing I’d encountered the loss of a word before. In those days it was actually thrilling to not know what would happen next. It meant I was in the moment and where I verbally landed was a fun surprise. I knew if I just opened my mouth and began talking something always came out, usually better than what I mentally planned.

I used to be a queen of half introductions. The terror of forgetting a name meant I would only go through the fear for one party, even if I’d known them both for years. I would just hope they were outgoing enough to take it from there. That way I halved my odds of getting it wrong. At that point in my life I lived in LA where things were less formal and I don’t think anyone really noticed.

I used to forget and loose things all the time right up until I was 29. The first time my credit card expired as opposed to being lost I celebrated, feeling like I was actually getting this adulthood thing.

I’ve never been able to remember anyone’s birthdays I met after the age of 10. This includes my boyfriends and girlfriends.

Although not perfect for details my memory held more stories, random facts and words than I even knew I knew. It was something I actually liked about myself. I loved being able to talk to people in most kinds of situations, I was good at small talk, had a couple of ice-breaking embarrassing stories (but only 2 jokes and one can only be told at Christmas time) and relied on that ability for my work.

During chemotherapy is when that changed.

I was not able to remember simple words like tomato, water, bun or shop. My oncologist told me it was something to do with the menopause because the ability to find naming words can be affected by hormones. I was also experiencing the fogginess that is otherwise known as chemo brain. What I didn’t expect is that three years since the end of active treatment it hasn’t gone away nor did I know how deeply it would affect me.

“Come on spit it out” said a slightly frustrated neighbour as I stammered because I couldn’t remember the word ‘car’. Playful and goofy laughter from friends asking ‘do you mean couch?’ This was in response to my ‘going around’ and saying “you know the thing we sit on in living room”. A raised eyebrow of superiority from my girlfriend when in the middle of an argument I falter in my response because I can’t say ‘towel’ and nothing else will come out. The panic of looking like an airhead in front of my bosses as I trip over the word ‘head’ when I’ve passed exams in anatomy.

I’ve tried to explain but get shut down with the well meaning phrase “yeah but I forget stuff too”. I remember what it felt like to forget things in my previous life but this feels different. I still have the normal sensation of something being on the tip of my tongue or knowing I should remember what I ate at a restaurant the last time I went there. The barrier of confusion with the chemo/menopause-induced memory loss is something else.

When the fog comes and for a while afterwards I’m unsure and it’s meant a massive drop in my confidence both in my personal and my professional life. I’d defined myself by my ability to connect with people by talking and I thought my brain reflected my intellect. I’ve lost more to cancer than just a few words, I’ve lost my mum, my friends, my ovaries and my sense of safety and it feels like I should take this on the chin, get over it, forgetting isn’t the end of the world, I am still alive.

Yet these moments of fog (that I have decided to rename MoFo) chip away who I am, who I thought I was. They change my sense of ability and worth, they leave me feeling small.

I’m over covering up and shrinking away from challenges due to my momentary lapses of mental acuity. I’m over withering up my personality. If I have to be out at sea with fog, sailing around rocks which threaten to sink my boat and drown my confidence, then I’m going to need a bigger boat.

I’ve decided that instead of letting potential humiliation rule me I’m going to speak more. I started a podcast, I’ll keep meeting new people and talking to neighbors and most importantly hold my head up high when I forget a word for the rectangular thing in the entrance with the push sign. In an argument over towels I will devise a time out sign for MoFo (moment of fog). I will try not let my self worth be defined by lost words especially those under five letters.

Later in my yoga therapy session I told my student to lift her arm.

ARM

Mofogging ARM

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Something Dreamy This Way Comes

In my first dream of 2015 Obama popped over to my house and asked me if I wanted to go to the gym with him. I told him he would have to wait in the living room because Alyssa Milano was coming over. When she arrived the two of us hung out in my bedroom. She flirtily curled up on my lap while I played with her hair.

I’m not a lover of gym’s so it would probably take a first world leader to get me back into one. I’m in the midst of watching all 8 seasons of the witchy drama, Charmed, so I spend too much time curled up on my bed with Alyssa Milano in my real life.

As I crawled back into bed at 8pm on New Year’s Day to watch more Charmed, I realized there might be a little more to this dream. On the one hand I feel the pull to be active, get out there, seize the day, live my life, be a leader and change the world. On the other hand I, more than not, am lured into just hanging out on or in my bed. It is comfortable, maybe I will read or learn nine life hacks online that will change me and maybe if I rest enough I will, at some point, have enough energy for my life.

I still feel physically, emotionally, psychically and energetically depleted. Life and responsibility easily overwhelm me. There are so many interconnected reasons for this. My lack of ovaries make my body and mind feel I’m in my 60’s instead of under 40. I am under 40 for six more months so I am planning to use that phrase a lot while I can. Alternatively the loss of energy could be linked to the lack of sunlight, not enough good kale in the UK or depression.

I marvel at other people’s stamina as they work long hours, hang out late, buy houses, plan holidays 18 months in advance, have an interesting hobby and remember to write thank you cards. I have active work and am an avid daily walker but I feel I’ve such a small reserve that when the floor needs to be swept, an email to responded to and the dishwasher unloaded it sparks anxiety.

As I lay there thinking about everyone else’s New Years resolutions to run marathons I realize I find it hard to plan ahead because I don’t have a reliable income of energy.  Normally rest produces a regrouping but I never wake up feeling refreshed and ready. Often energy begets more energy but even when I walk seven miles, clean my house and hit up a power yoga class I still could, at any moment, lay down.

I hear the insistent beeping of the washing machine and get up to turn on the dryer so the wet clothes aren’t hanging around.  I dutifully pull myself away from the witches on the screen.  Instead of energy, I have will.  It pushes me to get out of bed but when it weakens I crawl back in.  Will is a judgmental task master.  It gets the job done but takes away the joy.

If I were a witch and able to cast a spell (for personal gain) I would want my life filled with enthusiastic joyous energy.  A life where I wouldn’t be able to wait to get up.  A life where I would fall into bed at night delighted to have gotten so much done, enjoying my rest since it brings me more energy for the next day.

I google witchcraft, Wicca and spells.

I want a break from forcing, coaxing and pushing.  I will myself to eat right, exercise, do things to make the world a little better, have social time, bop around to music as I get dressed and go to work.  My will is strong.  It has been enough to get me to where I am but I wan’t ease.  I want magic.  After having cancer I’m supposed to be out there living, really living.

The episode comes to an end and it’s time to wrap up the day.  I push pillows around and close my eyes to make a wish that tonight is the night and 2015 is the year I sleep deeply and jump out of bed.

If that doesn’t work I may have to dream conjure Barack and Alyssa again to do a power of three spell.

 

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The Blame Game Part 3

Far from becoming a feisty post-cancer patient, I’ve shrunk. I’ve become more careful about what I say, who I say it to and how I’m perceived.  The girl I used to be, who talked about her relationships on TV, wrote and performed true, often embarrassing, stories on stage, disappeared.

One of the reasons for this shrinkage is having to deal with blame-inducing comments.

Over the phone a friend declared , “Our church doesn’t believe in genetic cancers just ways of thinking that get passed down through generations”.

With a well-meaning head cock to the side another cooed “Well, you didn’t like your job”

A yogi declared “Emotional scars of the past turn into sickness and cancer, I’m weeding mine out to stop me from getting ill”

A colleague announced “Must have happened for a reason”

“You are given what you can handle,” from a religious person.

“Stress causes cancer” such a commonly held belief it is almost just a given

Over dinner with friends, “My friend survived cancer and they never complained”.

Upon hearing of my cancer a woman at work had to “clean” her energies.

“You just have to be positive” said all the time, by lots of people.

“Be positive and everything will be ok”.

“It’s all about being positive”.

I used to be a social butterfly.  I could be found at an event happily flitting around meeting new people or having 7 hour long conversation with a friend.  After cancer I withdrew. I didn’t have the strength to deal with the insidious judging, it was too much to navigate when to just let it go and when to speak up. When someone meant something by it and when they didn’t.  When to say something, not for myself, but for the next person who has cancer.

Once I’ve been ‘positived’ in conversation it is very hard to be anything but smiles and gratefulness to be alive.  I listen, in detail, to their expression of complicated feelings about break ups, work and finances.  I’m only allowed the space to be a happy slice of a person. If I speak up, I risk being seen as ‘negative’ and in my situation, that means I deserve to die.

I’ve become selective in giving out information. Ordinary things like saying ‘I slept in late’ can be scrutinized.  Why wasn’t I up at dawn seizing the day like a good cancer survivor living each day as if it’s her last?  If I was sleeping a lot it may also my imply I’m lazy, they all know from the ads on TV you have to be a good ‘fighter’. I now keep a lot of information to myself.

Writing about mum and I having a complicated relationship is risky.  I’m aware some people will read about it, nod to themselves and think, ‘there’s the reason they both got cancer.’

Exposing I was scared and shaking in part 1 means that if I get cancer again, I’ve given the ammunition to some people to say, well there’s proof she wasn’t positive enough. I know others reading about the nurse will have agreed whole-heartedly with her.

To some degree I understand the magical thinking that goes with these responses.  Before I was diagnosed, cancer was something that happened to other people.  Sick people.  In the irrational part of my brain I imagined they were somehow primed for being sick, as if, like aging, they knew it was coming and/ or they were strong enough to deal with it. I drove by hospitals without a second thought to what was going on inside.  On the night of my diagnosis I threw a drinks and positivity party.  I knew very little about cancer but I knew I needed to be positive.

It makes sense to think a person with cancer didn’t eat right, think right, live their life right because that helps create an illusion of safety.  It is a way of creating separation from someone with cancer then it is easier sympathize, without challenging the healthy person’s ideas about mortality.  It also calms their fears to know if they do get cancer, they are armed with the comfort of telling themselves they would change their diet, ‘fight’ and make it through.

Whether it be religion, media, or complementary medicine propagating the belief that cancer is within our control, the implication is that if you get it, you did something wrong.  If you get cancer and it starts to take your life you are not fighting hard enough.  The saddest part of this is that some people with cancer grew up with the same influences.

This turns blame into shame.

It is hard enough to be sick without having to feel ashamed of it.

Despite it being illogical, I do feel guilt.   I blame myself for being diagnosed first and bring cancer in to our lives.  I’m terrified it was my fault my mum died.  I watched Meet Joe Black ( a film where a man makes a deal with death to extend his life) and had a full break-down thinking that maybe mum had traded her life for mine.  In the moment it completely explained why she was so angry towards me towards the end.  I feel guilt for getting sick and survivors guilt for still being here.

I have my own internal fleet of positivity thought-police.

An oppressive regime does not just work on the outside, it sets up shop in our heads and squeezes us from the inside too.

Lets change this.

When someone dies of cancer, they did not lose, they did not succumb, they did not give in.  They died from a brutal disease shutting down their vital organs.

Isn’t it time we stopped the blame game?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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