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For some reason, I feel compelled to write to you Cancer. An open letter to Cancer. I want to get a few things off my chest. Share my fears but also my positivity with you. I hope you forgive me not addressing you as “Dear Cancer”. You are many things, and I can think of many a number of things that you are, but “dear” is not one of them…..
We should probably start at the beginning. Walk you through the details that you may not remember Cancer. You infiltrate so many lives, how could you remember the details of mine? When my husband was in hospital for 3 weeks, 18 months ago, your name was never mentioned. You never entered our thoughts. His collapsed bowel and stomach was thought to be due to a burst appendix. We were never told that it could be you causing him to be balancing on the very thin edge of life at the time. You were not in our vision at all. When he came out of hospital, began recovering from the surgery and complications he had suffered, you can perhaps imagine our shock when we were called in to be told that it was you that had taken up residency in my husbands body. All grade 4 aggressiveness of you. I will give it to you, you totally took us by surprise and caught us out!
He had one hell of a fight on his hands against you. It took all he had to fight you. He was already weak from the surgery, complications and subsequent long recovery, but fight you he did. For six long months. You tore at his body, you messed with his mind, you made him at times, doubt his desire to carry on fighting you, but trust me when I say that those doubts were momentary. They only occurred in the rare weak moments when he hurt too much. When he felt too exhausted. But you underestimated him. He fought you hard and it is at this point Cancer, that I should tell you that you can never win against us. Never. You have so many victories, have beat so many people, but I need you to know that this is a battle you can not win, and I am going to tell you why.
But first… You changed my husband that year. You changed the man I have known for almost 30 years, into a man I wasnt sure of. For the first time ever there were sides of my husband that I did not recognise. Cancer, and your ole buddy Chemo, can do that to a person. You made him fight demons that only he could see. Twisted his mind, tested his soul. You made him hurt from the top of his head right down to his toes. You weakened him physically, something he has never before experienced. You made him question his own strength, his desire to fight. You made him terrified, but not for himself, never for himself, you made him terrified of causing us, his family, so much pain, so much hurt in our hearts. You made him feel guilty for the tears and heartache that he saw in us, his families eyes. You made his own eyes look so, so sad when he looked at our boys. I could see in them the rawness of his fear and desperate longing to stay with them. You broke all our hearts. You stole our happy for a year, and rocked the very foundation of our home.
You was able to do this Cancer, because my husband is our happy. He is the foundation of our home. The strength. The pillar that holds up and supports me, my sons. The beacon that lights up our home and path when darker times have hit in the past. He is our home. You made us have to pause life for a while, something that we have never done. You made us live with real, crippling fear. You made my sons have to shoulder what they took on as their responsibility when they found their Mum crying, saw their Dad hurting. They were just boys, trying to juggle all this as well as get through GCSE’s and College exams. I hate you so much for doing that. They were just boys.
Suddenly the impulsive side of our lives had to be pushed aside to accommodate the daily chemo, the days of sickness, the dark days, the weakness. We have always lived our life looking for adventure, exploring, living. We have always had a positive outlook on life, always knowing that we were lucky. Perhaps you thought us a little smug in our happiness? You took all of that from us that year.
But, I am a fair person, so I need to tell you what you also gave us. Balance things up a little. This will also help you understand why you can never win this particular battle! Cancer, when you gave us time to breathe after the first battle, the battle we thought we had won, you gave us a renewed lust and love of life. You made us appreciate what we have, made us truly understand and remember how bloody lucky we are. We have always chosen to live fully, with no regrets, but you made us run full pelt at life again. Made us grab every opportunity, accept every invitation, laugh with abandon every single day. You reminded us to love deeply, appreciate fully and to never, ever take anything for granted. We even climbed a mountain! Right after the battle with you, while my husband was still nursing the injuries from his war with you, we climbed the tallest mountain in the uk. How is that for a show of strength Cancer? You cemented in our minds what is important, and what really isn’t! That is what you gave us and I will afford you a small nod of credit for that.
Now, let me tell you why you cant be victorious in this battle with us Cancer. You cannot win because all of what I have mentioned, is ours to keep and nothing you do can take that from us. Some people don’t get a single day of what we have! Nik and I were incredibly lucky to find each other at a young age, just teenagers, so we have grown up together, built a wonderful life together, made and raised two beautiful sons together. We have travelled the world, sought and found adventure, experienced things we always dreamt of, made ourselves financially secure, and lived. Fully and fiercely we have lived. There is no coulda woulda shoulda with us, no regrets. We did it all!
So Cancer, you invading our lives 18 months ago, just made us make more memories. We visited Countries that we had longed to visit. We tried things we had wanted to try. We upped the anti and lived harder than ever! Yes, you stayed on the periphery of our vision, that tends to be your way. You like to keep all of those touched by you, fearful of your return. Its your calling card isn’t it, your modus operandi. You like us to never forget your visit. But every single day we got up and lived.
Well, we have now been visited by you a second time, and yep, you seem to want to make my husband battle again, harder than before. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that we are scared. That we don’t have to control our minds to prevent them from taking us to dark places. It would also be a lie to say that we don’t fear you. That I don’t wake up some nights feeling like someone is sitting on my chest, such is the panic. We do fear you. But fear can be channeled and moulded into a positive energy. An incredible strong and potent positive energy. Did you not know that Cancer? I learnt that ability a long time ago, so we have got that skill in the bag.
What you perhaps didn’t anticipate though is that this time round we are battle ready. We are not blindsided this time, we are ready, with more weapons in our arsenal, more strength in our heads and hearts and an army behind us! We are ready to battle you. Trust me when I say, my husband will fight you with every ounce of his being, he will push back as hard as you push, harder in fact. I promise you that. Oh and guess what Cancer, we have the added advantage of knowing, that whatever happens, You Cannot Win, because, we have already won! We have truly and fully lived and you can never, ever take that away from us. Our memories, our love we found so young, our shared adventures, our full to bursting hearts. They can never be lost. We have won.
See you on the battlefield,
Forever the victorious,
Kerry, Nik, Cally and Fin
I think it was Ernest Hemmingway that said “There is nothing to writing. You just sit at a typewrite and bleed“
Well, I have just bled
By nature, I am a pretty private person, but for some reason I wanted to write this. It just came out as I sat at my laptop. Not to depress anyone, I would never want to do that, but to hopefully give you an idea of where our head is at. We are very much still dancing in the rain, not hiding away inside. We have adjusted our sails for these latest choppy seas and plotted our new course. We are strong. We are planning our next adventures for after our navigation through this particular storm. Positivity runs through our heads and hearts.
We’ve got this xxx