Blog 5- Appearances can be deceiving.
I didn’t get that blog to you last weekend as promised due to serious exam cramming! Yes after totally ingnoring doctors advice, I am sitting 2 AS levels this week. This one isnt on the planned topic either, but IS something for everyone to think about.
Very sadly, as I guess all of you reading this will know, Stephen Sutton- the ‘setter upper’ of ‘Stephen’s Story’ passed away, after a battle with colorectal cancer. Its incredbly sad, especially for anyone who knew him, or who are going through a similar situation themself. After all I can’t imagine how much more scared, and emotional I would have been had I still been on treatment, or still had cancer. It’s one think to know the facts regarding teenage cancer mortality and prognosis, but another to see someone who was so socially active, and present in society die. Afterall, though I cannot know how ill and suffering he was, he still managed a massive achievement- raising over £3,000,000 for Teenage Cancer trust and shedding light on an invaluble but relatively unknown charity. Incredible.
It’s this thought that has led me onto the topic for the bulk of the blog today- to perception of people with cancer’s appearance. It was well documented in the media that after Stephen made a short recovery in April, some trolls tried to demand money back, tried to claim he was a fraud, because he hadn’t died, and because in short he didn’t look like a cancer patient. It just makes me think about how, as someone who has recently had cancer am perceived, as well as how you don’t have to look pale or sickly to have cancer, diagnosed or not.
Here I have cancer. I have hair, I was in London, so was obviously well enough to travel on a coach. By the wednesday of that week I had had a CT scan, by the Friday after that I was a diagnosed cancer patient.
In THIS photo I don’t have cancer. Bit of a difference right, taken the day I had my PET scan.
It’s looking like this I get treated differently- DO people expect you to be bald, sickly, pale……?? YES!
Now, I would expect everyone to say that the second picture of me was one after having chemo. But would anyone have hedged a bet at saying that same picture, the one with a headscarf, tired and pale was the cancer free one?
I don’t really know where I am trying to go with this, really. All I am thinking is partially that the only people who have been in the media, representing young people’s cancer are Stephen Sutton, and Kris Hallenga, who is also unfortuantely terminal.
I just think that:
1. It’s terrifying for teens on treatment to see the only prominent cancer sufferers to have died or be terminal.
2. What message is it spreadng to the more ignorant of us- is the media reenforcing that lie that so many believe which is if you get cancer you will die?
Role models, media and death aside, the point of the pictures is to say that if you look like me, abit battered and nowhere near as gorgeous (haha) as befor, it means the chemo is working, yeah!?
Ok slighly crazy rambling over, if you can get some sense from all of that I’ll be more than a tinge amazed, gotta be said!
OTHER NEWS FOR THIS WEEK
I HAVE BEEN IN REMISSION FOR ONE MONTH TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!
I did an interview with wales online! Will let you all know when it’s out.
My Mum signed up to the stem cell register with www.deletebloodcancer.org.uk !!!!!! AMAZING right?!?! I am so proud of her, and I hope she is the first of many to join the register linked with remissionpossible. It’s undeniable how being on that register SAVES LIVES. To see the impact it could make, check out the #shake4mike. (if remissionpossible pesuades you to join up, or if you need some more reasons why you should, contact us!!)
Just need to get these exams done now so I can crack on with RemissionPossible!
If anyone knows anyone who could help with printing leaflets, t shirts or raising awareness point them in this direction.
Anyways have a lovely weekend- keep smiling !