I decided to include this section to give you an idea of how hard it is to share a diagnosis with family. It is so painful to watch your loved ones receive your bad news. Please, if you ever find yourself in this situation ask for support.
It was without a shadow of a doubt the hardest part of my journey to date.
From the start I had no intention of telling anyone about my diagnosis until I had the full results, completed my research and decided on the road I would take.
I was persuaded rightly or wrongly by the staff at the hospital that my children must be told.
On reflection, I may have waited. Looking back, I caused a lot of unnecessary pain.
I returned to London on Saturday the 3rd of September 2016 with my sister Barbara to tell my children and son-in-law my news. It was emotional, very emotional.
It almost felt as if I was telling them I was dying and had come to say goodbye.
We were all devastated.
Recalling the memory over 30 months on still makes me emotional, I was riddled with guilt. Just to look at my children and grandchild that weekend made me feel sad, guilty and for the first time in my life out of control of my situation.
The reason I want to mention this part of my journey is to acknowledge my sister, Barbara. I have a great need to say a huge thank you to her publicly. She was and always has been there for me when I need her.
She made an awful journey bearable and if I ever needed support, this was the time. She was there for me 100%. Thank you from the bottom of my heart Barbara. I will never, ever forget what you did that weekend. You may never know how truly grateful I was and will always be.
I also have to thank my children and son-in-law for that weekend, you made a very difficult time easier. Limoz, my favorite son-in-law even gave me a trendy short hair cut in preparation for my treatment.
I think it is fair to say this demonstrates that I was still open to conventional treatment at that time.
On a much lighter note if only everyone reacted like my sister Marian when I gave her the news. Her reaction still makes me laugh out loud. There she was in her utility room, muddling through dirty washing when I arrived and said: “sit down Marian I have something to tell you”. “No”, she said, “just tell me”.
“Okay,” I said, “I have been diagnosed with cancer”. There I was waiting for the tears and she says” oh thank God it was you. Someone had to get it and out of all of us, you will be grand. I would fall to pieces”.
For her faith in me, I will always be grateful. Everyone needs a Marian to keep it real.
So, Marian and Barbara were commissioned to tell my siblings only. They were under strict instructions to tell no one else. I personally didn’t care who knew but it was important to me to keep this news away from my elderly parents. They really did not need to know, until I knew what could happen.
No news is good news.
Over 2 years on and my parents now know. It became apparent that if I didn’t tell them, someone else would. I told them the diagnosis, my decision and what I had been doing and as far as they are concerned, I have cured myself and that is the way we leave it. To be honest after the first initial shock and a month of watching me like a hawk we never talk about it.
As a person who has a cancer diagnosis, I can say my experience of telling people my diagnosis has made me realise how fearful everyone is around the word cancer.
Fear does not help, what helps is to remain positive, do some research and make your own decisions with medical advice and a lot of research. If the news of a diagnosis of cancer is too much to bear get yourself a cancer buddy and ask them to research for you.
I would also like to thank all those great people out there who do not make me feel diseased when they hear my news. Thank you, especially all of you who joke with me. Laughter is medicine at its best. This journey is not easy and for anyone contemplating it, believe me it is lonely.
A special thanks must go to my children, my partner and my son-in -law. My children for being the best and my partner for putting up with me.
To Pippa, who is a pure lady, my greatest critique and advisor, who conceals her emotions and fears like a professional.
To Finnbar, who jokes with me totally inappropriately but is secretly concerned.
To Limoz, who is terrified of death and cannot speak about it. Your practical offers of help and support do not go unnoticed.
To John, who shows no emotion but supports me with all my decisions and who never gives up believing in me. Your support has been amazing and although I am not the most sentimental person in the world, I know, you know you are always appreciated.
I love you all.
Now since I have given you all an insight into a piece of my heart can you please sign and share, share and share again. My posts on FB only get a 3-hour window of opportunity every time I post them. Trust me this petition is not for me it is for the children and grandchildren of the world.
This blog contains my opinions, my journey and some of my research details. It is not in any way a substitute for the readers own medical advisor. I am not a medical Doctor. I disclaim all responsibility for injury, damage or loss to anyone that reads this and follows any or similar protocols mentioned.