Trust me, when you have cancer it’s not just your immune system and your physical health that’s damaged, it’s your mental state which takes a battering. Your emotions are just completely battered. Your spirit is knocked.
You change, you mature. I wouldn’t say you necessarily become harder or stronger, if anything I feel I’ve become a much more emotional person, and a person who’s not afraid to show their emotions.
There’s always this thing in the back of your head that someone will come back and tell me that the cancer has come back. So you’re much more aware of time and getting things done.
You just realise that you’ve been given your life back, and you realise just what a precious gift that life is.
Everything that I had ever planned to do. I planned to have children with my partner, and have a family and do all the things that everybody else has done and all of these things, all of my dreams and all my hopes just crashed down to the ground. And it was really just like being kicked in the teeth, but worse. You know being kicked in the teeth twenty times.
It took a long time to sink in that the cancer had gone. But it never really goes, that’s the whole point of a cancer journey. The cancer never really leaves you because all the experiences, the emotional experience, the pain the fear... all of that stays with you.
I thought to myself, now I’m expected to go back and be normal again. What does that word ‘normal’ mean, and what kind of support and help am I going to get, because so far, all through the cancer journey you have a lot of support and you have a lot of help from Macmillan, from your family, from doctors, from nurses. You have a lot of specialist help and then they tell you that you’re okay to go home, and you’re on your own, and that’s really hard.