Why I don’t tell people I had cancer

0 Comments 01 November 2010

(Cross post from my Movember page

When you tell people, you get one of two reactions. Some people don’t seem that surprised because they, or their sister, or father, or aunty, or a friend had cancer and they’re ok now, or still suffer or they died. It seems as if every other person you talk to has been affected in some serious way by cancer. The other reaction you get, from the people unaffected, is a shocked response. Shocked because I look healthy, you’d never guess, I’m so young, etc. I never like leaving people with an awkward feeling and I really am one of the lucky ones.

Having chemo and radiotherapy, sitting in the oncologist waiting room, waiting for a CT scan, you met and talk to people in the same boat. When I see how they have suffered and how awful their consequences, it makes me feel like a tourist. Sometimes I tell someone I had cancer and they are very sympathetic. Cancer left me almost unscarred, so feel a little awkward with unwarranted sympathy.

I normally finish off with “well, look at the bright side.” I’m fitter and stronger now than I was at 21 and I take great care of my health. I’m scanned, prodded and poked every year too. Sometimes I might get a lump, or some symptom that’s perfectly normal and it brings every nightmare scenario I ever thought of back to life. But I enjoy my life with an excited childlike enthusiasm. I cherish the good and the bad because it is what keeps life from being boring.

I am alive.

Ian :-)

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