I love writing and am on a mission to help cancer patients recover from the emotional impact a diagnosis and treatment of cancer can have. I will be writing about cancer which has not spread to other parts of the body.
To be able to recover from cancer probably a good place to start is to look at what happened so that is where I will begin at the very beginning when one microscopic cell invisible to the human eye somewhere in our bodies doesn’t follow the instructions and do what it is supposed to do, it doesn’t stop growing. That is a highly simplified version of events which can take place over many years until we experience a symptom of cancer or cancer is detected through a screening programme.
So who gets cancer? Well just about anyone, young or old, male or female, rich and poor. Cancer crosses countries, cultures, religions, socio economical groups, genders and generations. Anyone can get cancer and that’s what makes cancer a bit scary and to make it a bit more scary anyone at any time in their life can get cancer.
Currently half of the UK population will receive a diagnosis of cancer at some point in their lives and each day about 1,000 people in the UK will be diagnosis of cancer. Around the globe about 39,000 people a day diagnosed with cancer. There are about 200 different types of cancer and each will be graded and categorised by the size and site of its’ location.
For most people there will be an impact from the diagnosis. For some this will be minimal, for some this will be massive. Each diagnosis will be as unique as the individual it affects. Life may become starkly separated between before and after cancer because in that moment everything changes. Nothing can be quite the same again.
Life cannot go back to the seemingly care free days before cancer when our greatest worries were the availability of organic ham and will there be a parking space at Waitrose. Now worries are focused on treatment, side effects, the risk of reoccurrence, statistics and the latest drugs funding.
There will probably be the impact of the physical treatment, changes to plans and disruption to work and our families and friends, our hobbies and interests. We may experience physical side effects of treatment. We may experience intense feelings and difficult thoughts as our lives change and we are cut off from what makes us, what we enjoyed, what we achieved and what we chose. The invisible impact of one tiny cell.
Cancer does not follow a set path of treatment or recovery and maybe very different from other illnesses we have had and recovered from. Cancer is a bit of an unknown and unpredictable entity and it kind of does its own thing silently and behind the scenes of our lives and this adds to the impact cancer has. Not much of our previous life experience can be applied to a diagnosis of cancer and this can leave us feeling powerless and out of control.
To date I have had three diagnosis of cancer, each devastating, each different, each difficult. Each starting with one tiny cell which didn’t stop growing.
Phew I made it!