Somehow another week has passed and it’s Sunday. I’ve been thinking all week what I should write about; last week I just sat down and the words came but this week it’s just not been happening. But I think maybe I’ve just been lacking inspiration.
Which is funny, because inspiration is actually one of the topics I’ve been musing about. I’ve been called an “inspiration” by quite a few people and I know that many other cancer patients are endorsed with the same term. But what makes people call us that? What have we done to earn that admiration?
And at what point does someone undergoing treatment for cancer become an “inspiration”? I can assure you that we’re not trying to be inspiring in our hospital beds, chemo sluggishly crawling into our veins and sick bowls by our feet; we’re just trying to survive. Is that so inspiring? When a doctor tells you that you have an illness that can only be cured through using cytotoxic drugs, I’m sure most if not all of you would chose to survive. Humans are very predictable creatures; we look out for ourselves first.
Back to my question: Is it the point when you lose your hair? But not everyone loses their hair. And is hair such a massive loss anyway? Suffers of alopecia will probably laugh at you over such an attachment to hair. I’ve lost my hair three times now; the only annoying part has been regrowing it through the awkward stages just to lose it again. Some people see their hair as part of their identity – I do understand that for them, to lose their hair is to lose who they are. Well, I’m going to be frank here: no one who goes through cancer treatment comes out the same as how they started. So you get the chance to reinvent a new you for free.
Or is it when you have your first chemo? Innocuous bags of clear fluid hanging off the drip stand, ready to kill off what ails ya and all the rest too. Since it’s the first chemo, you’ve probably got a cannula in – they’ll get a line in later, whether it be a Picc or a Hickman, before they kill off the rest of your veins. You sit there and watch this drug (that frankly looks like saline) invade your body and wonder what it’s going to do to you, what parts of you it will destroy. There is nothing you can do either way but sit there and be treated. You do nothing in this process but buzz the nurse when the chemo’s finished.
I like being called nice things as much as the next person; this whole blog post isn’t aimed as an attack on being called can inspiration. I’m just trying to understand what part of being treated for cancer is inspiring – as far as I can see, anyone would make the same choices in the same situation. Treatment didn’t involve any massive effort on my part, just sitting there and waiting for whatever drug to finish entering my body. Anyone could do that.
But then I thought about my inspirations. Some of you may have heard about the event down at the Lighthouse in Poole on Saturday; it was on BBC South Today! The event was to launch A Vision for Vincent’s charity single, One Day at a Time, and it was honestly such an inspiring place to be. So many people committed to this song, despite all the struggles that they had faced trying to bring it to life (I would list them but I’d probably forget someone and feel awful). But I will mention Tanya and Carl Appleby, who have raised £30,000 in the year since their lovely son Vinnie died last January and have still had time to produce this masterpiece – both of you are absolute inspirations and some of the strongest people I know.
And another person who inspires me is my mum. She’s only little but I think she has one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever met. I am honestly floored by her capacity to care; there have been bad days, but she’s never let them stay as bad days. She’s taken on the role as my primary carer without any complaints and she’s done a stellar job. I don’t actually think I can write any more sentences to express how much she means to me, just know it’s a lot. And my dad too, both of them are stand up guys.
Sorry, kind of went of on a tangent there. But I just want to ask the question again: what is it about cancer patients that is so inspiring? Not saying that cancer patients aren’t inspiring, it’s just hard to see from the other side of the looking glass.
(P.S. apologies if this post doesn’t really make sense or isn’t as good as last week’s – I’ve started to get a lot more tired lately and I’m a bit more away with the fairies so bear with me!)
(P.P.S. check out Vinnie’s song and if you have the ability, please download on iTunes. Here’s the link to the YouTube video: here. I don’t have a link to the iTunes page but I’m sure you can find it!)