I'm Not Fighting... I'm Living
Some things and words really resonate. And some really don’t. World blood cancer was in May and is a day I am fully on board with. Raising awareness is so important. So many think that leukaemia is only something children get. And that myeloma is skin cancer. And then you say chronic myeloid leukaemia and people just look at you. They have no idea what it is. Have never heard of it. They just don’t know. (To be fair, I had no idea about leukaemia or blood cancers until my diagnosis, but at that point it was the ‘C word’. Cancer was whispered in hushed tones. Sometimes in the press. That was 11 and a half years ago though).
A slowly increasing awareness
More people are beginning to say to me, "leukaemia, that’s a blood cancer right?" So the awareness is beginning to build. It’s beginning to feature in the general public’s mind, which is nice. It’s good. I get so fed up and angry that all the focus goes to breast cancer in this country. Like it needs more awareness. People assume that when I say I have cancer that I have breast. I’ve even been asked to go on the radio to talk about my experience with breast cancer.... *slams head into a wall*.
It’s not their fault. Chronic leukaemia isn’t sexy like breast cancer. No pictures of me bald with tubes coming out of me. That’s another thing that the press likes. I don’t tick that box. They are then not interested in my experience of living with cancer for the rest of my life. Because my life won’t be cut short by cancer. Well, it might. If I have a transplant. But that’s another post.
I’m also very on board with raising awareness for stem cell transplant lists and blood donating. These things are so important. And sort of go hand in hand with World Blood Cancer Awareness Day.
The way we describe cancer
What I’m not on board with is the language used by so many, mainly the press, around cancer. Fighting. Winning. Losing. Battling. Surviving. Urgh. Makes me want to punch people and be sick. I don’t associate or resonate with any of this.
My cancer was never going to kill me. It’s also never going to leave me. I’m not a ‘normal’ cancer patient. I don’t fight it or battle it to survive. And by the way, the treatment works or it doesn’t. The patient doesn’t lose or give up. Science fails. Research fails. Treatment fails. I live. That’s what I do. I focus on living. I say I’m living with cancer. Because that’s what I do. It’s there. It’s in my blood. I don’t fight it. I don’t hate it. I’m not angry at it. It just is what it is, and I basically spend very little time thinking about it and my treatment, I just get on with it the best way I can.
I don’t have a cancer journey. That’s another phrase I can’t stand. I have my life. A lot of it is cancer. But it’s not all of it.
What type of blood cancer are you or your loved one diagnosed with?