Being Diagnosed With Cancer

This July I was diagnosed with cancer.

My immediate reaction I have to say was complete panic. I assumed that I was going to die, something that was reinforced by the fact that two years ago my sister Laura did die of cancer. Watching her go through that was terribly hard, and facing up to the fact that it might be my fate was immensely difficult.

The I realised that actually there is a good chance that I may not die of this disease at all. My cancer seems to be much less advanced than hers, and is certainly treatable. The unexpected thing once I got over the shock is that life just goes on. At the moment I am being treated with a hormone treatment that seems to be remarkably effective at shrinking my tumour. I don’t actually feel ill at all.

Eventually of course I will need surgery and other treatment to actually remove the rest of the tumour, something I am not looking forward to – I don’t suppose anyone does.

One of the hardest things for me has been actually telling my friends that I have cancer. Does one just announce it, like other life events such as new jobs, weddings etc? It would just seem too wierd. Plus at the time I simply could not bear the inevitable sympathy.

So instead I have adopted the strategy of just telling people if they ask how I am doing, plus those people I have to tell for practical reasons. Now I am putting it in this blog post partly as a way of avoiding having to tell more people directly.

Perhaps there should be a special card for the occasion, a cancer card, saying something like ‘I have cancer. Please don’t feel sorry for me. But feel free to ask any questions’.

It is true that having cancer these days is not a death sentence. But don’t let anyone tell you it is not a big deal. I have been used to measuring my future in decades, now I am forced to face up to the possibility that it may be measured in years or even months. That is a big thing.

8 thoughts on “Being Diagnosed With Cancer

  1. Oh my god Fiona I feel for you. I know so little about cancer but know that, despite her initial prognosis, my friend when diagnosed, with much positive support, and good healthcare, is thankfully still here and just winning over things. Keep positive, keep healthy and keep friends around you, you’ll be surprised how,many there are! Here if you need me. Chris.

    • Thanks very much for the kind thoughts Chris. I think that the prognosis is reasonably optimistic, most of the time I do manage to stay positive. I actually don’t feel ill most of the time. I am certainly planning to carry on with life – and music – as much as possible.

  2. Sending hugs! But you’re right – what does one say. I hope the treatment isnt too dreadful. We are here for you too. Keep in touch and think positive !

  3. Fiona, Your Photographs are beautiful!!
    I have just found you on the Buskers site – I’m part of the organising committee for The Ilminster Midsummer experience – a 4 day festival that is now it its 6th year. We are looking for good musicians who would like to come & play (busk) in Ilminster town during the festival in June. Would this be of interest to you?
    I hope this finds you well & in good spirits. With best wishes – Steve Maylor

    • Hello, Steve thanks for your comments. Unfortunately I am just not well enough for busking at the moment. Also these days I don’t perform much, preferring to concentrate on composition (although that might change in future).
      I am sure that there are musicians who might be interested, you are welcome to post a message on the Bath buskers site. You need to be aware though that many good buskers are professionals and do expect to be compensated for their time, if you would be willing to pay some expenses at least you would be much more likely to get a response.

    • Hello Frances, it’s really nice to hear from you. I am doing OK, life has just been rather a struggle recently due to my treatment, so I have not been posting on my blog. But I am optimistic about the future.

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