This is not the blog post I thought I would write when I opened my eyes this morning but, it’s time. Something has been brewing within for months now and it’s been hard to put my finger on what it is. It hasn’t felt bad or scary or even negative. It’s felt like a shift.
Change. It’s a good thing right?
Recently I turned 45, and I felt all the feels at turning another year older. When I was 41 I didn’t think I’d enjoy cake with candles ever again because I had cancer. It’s a shocking and overwhelming thing to receive a cancer diagnosis, an invasive cancer that had doctors giving me a number of 36% survival rates.
It wasn’t only the cancer that invaded my body but also surgeons as they carved me up, drugs pumped through my veins, burns from radiotherapy and thoughts. Swirling, overwhelming, jumbled thoughts of mortality.
There were two things I didn’t want to be when I was given that diagnosis, I didn’t want to be dead or messed up. So, I did all the things the doctors suggested, subjecting my body and my family to sooo much pain and ugly to save my life. I also ‘fell’ into writing.
Writing saved me, saved my sanity. It allowed me to work through the mess of cancer and mortality, allowed me to grow and gave me purpose.
Oh, there’s some people who wish I didn’t air my thoughts. There’s family and other bloggers who have all had their say, some behind closed doors (yes it all gets back to me), wishing I would shut the fuck up about cancer. But, it was MY path, MY body, MY life that was being threatened and I needed to write for ME. Read it or don’t but stop fucking judging me without actually knowing me.
And then, it became bigger than me.
People from around the world contact me daily, letting me know how I gave them strength, I helped them get through their shitty day and their shitty cancer experience.
Families of people with cancer write to me thanking me for opening up, thanking me for giving them the information they crave, thanking me for giving them the tips to be able to help their loved ones.
Nurses and doctors write thanking me for giving them perspective from the patient, they promise to approach their job differently, with more compassion and to be less hurried and impersonal.
Women write to tell me I saved their life. Saved their ACTUAL life! They read my blog post, took notice of the picture I posted on Facebook and went for a mammogram. A mammogram that just wasn’t on their radar but a mammogram that discovered cancer and then plunged them into the same overwhelming and crazy cancer ride I had been on. A mammogram that saved their life.
So, just how could I stop writing about cancer?
I balanced it with styling and positive body image writing…I’m so bloody passionate about positive body image and love fashion so it was a happy balance. For a while. Lately though things have changed, there’s been a shift.
I’ve been making space.
This time of year and throughout the month of October I receive tonnes of invites to attend or speak at cancer morning teas, in the past I’ve accepted. This year though the invites paralysed me. I couldn’t.
The space that was slowly being created included saying ‘no’.
I ‘had’ cancer. I’m ready to create space and move forward. Sure, cancer will always be a part of me until the day I actually die but I’m currently living and I just don’t need to live and breathe cancer any more.
I’m more than happy and proud to be an ambassador for The Hospital Research Foundation and will continue to be involved but I don’t need to say ‘yes’ to everything or everyone. I don’t feel the need to write about cancer all the time.
This is a good thing right?
I don’t feel like I’m turning my back on cancer, naturally I will write and talk about it but just not as much.
I had cancer. I’m not cancer. Cancer happened to me but I’m ok now. I’m doing well and I hope that no matter what has ‘happened’ to you that you are doing well too. It takes time though, there’s a process.
I’m healing and this shift, well this shift feels right. It feels good and healthy and right. My body feels different too, there’s less pain. It’s like I released something from within and with that went some pain, like me holding on so tightly was actually causing me to also hold onto physical pain.
I’m not sure if this is ‘normal’? I wonder if all cancer patients reach this point? Maybe sooner, perhaps later or possibly never?
I’ve made space. I haven’t left cancer behind but the space feels good and it feels right.
Life is good.
Til next time,