Patricia Brown Clinic

'LIFE' Blog

'LIFE' Blog

A Survivor, Not A Victim

Posted on May 31, 2016 at 12:55 AM

When it comes to having cancer, this is the time when you do not want to become absorbed in yourself or you will find you get swallowed up in the negative thoughts, and once you go there, its hard to get away from it. It is easy to say it, but I can speak from experience, no matter how hard, try not to go on that downward spiral, going there can be easy, climbing out of it, not easy. You may find that if you go there, you are stuck in that emotional black hole for a long time. I'm sure there could of been dark thoughts in my mind somewhere, but I didn't entertain them, just didn't go there, plain and simple. I could repeat this over and over again, but just take things for what they are, not what could of happened. I put off going to the doctors, the mass in my chest, had it got any bigger would of been pressing on the two major blood vessels and most likely would of caused me big problems. I could dwell on what if I hadn't of gone, what if I'd left it longer, what would of happened? Well I suppose in all honestly, a good chance is that I now could of been 6ft under or close to it. But that really doesn't matter, all that matters is that, that wasn't the case and I am here. Yes lesson learnt, but I'm here, living life so I aren't going to dwell on the fact things could of been different. I could dwell on what if it hadn't of been a complete remission? But it was, so 'what if' doesn't matter. So please, don't fall into this trap! All that matters is the reality, deal with what you have to deal with, not what might of been. Try not to feel sorry for yourself, yes having cancer it isn't fair, it's not right but if you take all the emotion away, it is simply a disease, that anyone of us could have at anytime. So who are you going to be angry at? Your cell's messed up, did something they shouldn't, but that's all. You could tear yourself up been angry, thinking why me, why me? But harsh truth, its life and it isn't fair at times for lots of reasons, some people go through life easily and carefree, even if they may not be the nicest of people. Some people are truly good, honest people through and through yet seem to have the worst thrown at them. We could be debating the fairness of this forever and there is no answer to it.

All you have to decide is do you want to be a survivor or a victim. I don't just mean in the sense of if you beat your cancer or not, you can beat cancer but still be a victim to it, if you let it define you. If you wallow in the why me, how unfair it is, hate the world for it and feel sorry for yourself, you are only harming yourself and you are letting cancer win. Unfortunately people like this, may beat the physical disease but cancer will still have won because they cannot move past it, they let it haunt them forever, it is their battle scar to carry for life, everyone knows about it and knows how awful it was, they are their own victim to cancer. Choose to be a survivor, not just to the physical disease but refuse to be cancer's victim. Don't let it haunt your life, be your battle scar. Let it be the thing that doesn't define you, it will always be a part of you but you aren't just a person with cancer or someone who had cancer, you are you. Don't let it weaken you, let it be the experience in life that made you stronger. You may not find it easy all the time, sometimes you might have to work at it, but you do have to help yourself when it comes to dealing with it. The professionals will handle the disease, but your emotional well being is down to you. You aren't weak if you cry or if you have a bad day, this is natural. But what is important is to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and find your inner fight again.

I despise the term cancer victim. I believe you are only a victim if you let yourself become one. I am proud to say I'm a cancer survivor, yes my disease was packed off into remission, but I'm a survivor because I didn't let cancer rule me or make me a weaker person, it made me stronger. I rose high above the ugly thing that is cancer. Cancer as much as it is a disease, as humans it effects us on a deeply emotional level. The fact it can take people's lives, take children from parents, parents from children, part couples way too soon. That is awful and we cannot help but feel a deep anger at this. This is again where you have to be in constant thanks if you aren't facing this outcome, another reason why I believe if the odds are stacked in your favour to survive you shouldn't be wallowing in self pity. Those who are faced with the worst outcome, often live a more full life than some of those who have been given their life back. If you read any of the stories, last words or blog posts of terminal cancer patients it seems in general they don't want to be defined by cancer or be seen as a victim. Cancer is portrayed so negatively as in its such a awful, scary, lonely place. Yet these amazing people use their last months to do something positive out of the most negative situation. They raise awareness through their story, raise money to help save lives of the future and really want it to be known that there is more to them than just cancer. They don't seem to spend the time they have left wanting you to feel sorry for them. I read an article in YOU magazine one Sunday, where a boy with terminal cancer had been writing a blog and he wrote about death. Max Edwards was just 16 when he died. One quote "Being told you are going to die is a shock... but I was largely over it in a week" as I read Max's article, as he talked so openly, so dignified about death, I found myself constantly reminding myself that he was only 16. All boys should be thinking at that age are GCSE's, hobbies they like and probably discovering the fun of the attention of girls, not cancer, certainly not death and knowing it would happen soon. This particular piece he wrote did concentrate on the fact he was dying, but amazingly, what shone through the most, was that he was living. He spoke about doing AS-level history, learning to play a blues harmonica, write songs and compose music on his computer, as well as his weekly blog. He also spoke about the normality of life, that even though you are faced with terminal cancer the everyday routine of a cup of tea and a shower still happen, and life finds some normality in the strangest of circumstances.

Max died in March 2016 at only 16 years old. For me, March 2016 was the month of my 27th birthday and also when I got told my cancer was in complete remission. I had a look at Max's blog and saw that he died on the 26th March, the day I went away for the weekend to celebrate the end of my cancer experience. You can see the stark difference between me and the boy I read about, that in the same month that Max lost his young life to cancer, I got my life back from cancer. I never felt sorry for myself, or chose to indulge in what an awful situation I was in, but if I had of done I think I would of felt pretty s**t about myself after reading Max's words. Because what right would I of had? Yes, it wasn't always easy, some things were tough but I was in the fortunate position that my cancer could be beaten, yes I'd gone through it, but I had come through it. I will go on to have a life, cancer will be in my past, Max didn't have that option like so many others like him. So if you are at time when you feel down, or feel sorry for yourself just remember if you have the chance to live your life after cancer, be hugely grateful for this and most importantly live it to the full. I'm sure those, like Max, would of given anything, gone through anything, to be able put cancer in their past and carry on with life. We owe it to them. At the end of his article, Max spoke about how it wasn't "all about him" and that he is "nothing more than a dot on this planet", this maybe the case, maybe Max was just a dot, but a very special dot. A dot that all us other dots can learn a lot from.



The Anonymous Revolutionary: A Collection of Communist Writings by Max Edwards published in hardback by Short Books £14.99

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