Thursday, November 16, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
This week I would like to talk about cancer.
It can often be a subject that people shy away from, perhaps for fear that it can be caught, or if we talk about it, we are somehow inviting it in.
It is also a topic whispered about in quiet corners, sad eyes sharing news of a dear friend with a recent diagnosis. Sorrow for the other person, but relief that it is not you.
Well, just over four years ago, it was me.
In August 2017 I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Bowel Cancer and, fortunately, after an operation and six months of chemotherapy, I survived.
But cancer does not stop there, even after it has left your body, it is something you live with for the rest of your life.
Last week I had my annual PET scan and, as usual, the weeks leading up to it were an anxious haze where imagined symptoms kept popping into my head.
Luckily, on Tuesday this week my oncologist called to say I had been given the ‘all clear’.
Relief washed over me, and tears swelled in my eyes, it wasn’t me this time – phew.
And while I felt relief, I also felt survivor’s guilt wash over me.
I knew a woman the same age as me who received exactly the same diagnosis as me four years ago who is no longer with us today.
I know a local lady in her thirties who is just beginning her cancer journey, enduring chemo and the uncertainty of whether it will work, and my heart bleeds for her.
I also remember young Cody Gibbs who should have been celebrating his birthday this week.
All these stories are the reality of cancer, and it breaks my heart to see people going through such trauma and tragedy.
And while cancer still scares me every day, I think we all need to talk about it with hope in our hearts – for there are many more survivors these days than there have ever been before.
Quote of the Week: “Once you choose hope, anything’s possible” (Christopher Reeve)