The other day an individual approached me and asked how I was. I said I was fine, but underneath really I am not fine because of the pain in my hip. The pain is now reaching down my left leg into my shin bone, but I am determined not to change my routine. She admired my tenacity to continue as normal rather than dwell on yet another health problem. My reply was I’m a Yorkshire woman with attitude my body is not going to rule me.
Then the subject was moved onto my mastectomy and cancer. She said on the outside you would not have known that I had gone through breast cancer. Part of me wanted to question what she had just said with, well what does breast cancer look like? Instead I looked at her direct with a very serious face. That’s because I am a false representation of breast cancer and its treatment. I have held onto to my smile on the outside leaving my tears and torment locked away from view, so how was this woman suppose to see the reality of this disease. This was my way of dealing with my particular cancer and each individual is different just like the treatment we all receive. I keep repeating to people, but I am not on the same treatment of course my behaviour and appearance is different. This to me is like a guilty noose around my neck. My truth and their truth is far from the reflection this individual wants to see.
Words come easy when you hit the emotional switch off button. We all want a positive to evolve from a negative situation. People often talk about the affects of guilt especially when you become a part of special community. That the door to cancer once opened will not remain closed.
But whilst individuals brave the storm and are willing to tell their experience of cancer then innocent observations should not be hidden. The freedom to express and the internet has given individuals a voice. This voice means if you type in the right words or ask the right questions you will find someone affected by cancer. These people reveal the raw truth of their journey with cancer. So my reflection of my journey is very different and I hope it remains that way. Minus the appointments my treatment now is about vanity and a sense of closure. So yes guilt, everyone feels guilt at some point on the BC convoy.