Many cancer patients don’t like to use battle talk to describe our journey. To them, we’re not fighters or survivors. That would mean admitting that we’re at war with our own bodies, which in itself is a bit of a mind fuck.
I’ve struggled with this reasoning. Yes, we need to work with our bodies to heal but I find it relatively easy to isolate my cancer cells from the rest of me. They’re foreign invaders, black-hooded insurgents, unwanted terrorists on a mission to destroy my body in the cruelest possible way. I, for one, went to war with my cancer last year and I emerged with ugly scars, a damaged liver and PTSD. I’ve also said my farewells to a fair few fallen comrades along the way.
The cancer community is reeling from the loss of one of our brightest stars this week. I don’t claim to have known Amy (@amerz) well. We were just two bowel cancer patients from the same part of the world who shared a chemo ward on occasion. The first time we spoke I apologised for not joining her on her latest charity walk – I had to take J to her ballet class. I turned it into a joke by saying I’d wear a tutu next time. We had a laugh about that. She was bright, funny, unfailingly positive and I took my strength to write about my treatment from her.
Amy’s legacy is to keep raising awareness of bowel cancer and to shorten those delays in diagnosis, something that proved so devastating for her. And to give blood. Something my husband is planning to do on our behalf as soon as we return to the UK. Please join him. Please shout about bowel cancer awareness too. Let’s carry on where this amazing brilliant woman left off.