My first tattoo. Got it in 2008, five years after surviving cancer. I drew this design up myself, and the tattoo artist commented it was Continue Reading
Today, a friend asked me: “Name something you did today with all your heart.” It was an easy question to answer. Today I wrote some Continue Reading
Yesterday, as I was editing my blog on my 2011 Bucket List, I was looking at the photos I have on file of when I had cancer. I haven’t got many scanned in, just a few, but in the next few weeks I think I might dig some more out.
I thought perhaps you might like to see some of them.
Today, my doctor ordered me some blood tests, which he knows is one way to make me feel very much better already. I am very blessed to have a GP who is understanding of both my real and very colourful medical history, and my penchant for illness-related anxiety. He knows if I get any inkling whatsoever something could be cancer, I’ll be there in his office in a jiffy, and thus, there I was this morning. But he’s patient, and very firm with me. I’ll get my blood tests, but probably not much else unless something is really wrong. He’s told me more than once to get on my bike when I’ve asked for CT’s, biopsies and a radioactive iodine scan. Besides, if I have one more scan, I’ll probably be responsible for my own leukaemia.
In July 2003, I was diagnosed with aggressive Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. At stage 3B (there are only 4 stages, and B means it had begun spreading around my body) the tumour in my chest was as big as a saucer. My treatment consisted of three months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiotherapy. During this time, we had the wonderful opportunity to be supported by a church community who cooked my family hot meals most evenings and provided nothing less than amazing support.
However, there were times when I wondered what belief systems people limp around with, and about what was being preached in churches and printed in books about sickness and supportive care. For the information of those wishing to be a support to those with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses, I offer the following. This list will be based on actual statements which were made to me either whilst I had cancer or in the months following my successful treatment.
This October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, all I ask of you is just two things: 1) That you may remember not every person diagnosed with breast cancer is female, and 2) That not every woman diagnosed with cancer has breast cancer. I actually hope to increase awareness that increasing awareness of cancer is only one side of the story. The other side is the responsibility we all have to become aware of the scope and effect all kinds of cancer have on a diagnosed person’s family and friends, on the community and on our society as a whole. Now that’s what I call cancer awareness.