Many people find the word c**t hugely offensive don’t they? So much so I don’t really want to write it without the asterisk so’s not to upset anyone. Why? Alright – it’s a bit crude. I wouldn’t like to be called it. But it doesn’t really mean anything does it? Not really, really mean any thing.
Cancer: Now there is a far more offensive C word. One that has infiltrated my family and thoughts for some time now. One that carries phenomenal meaning.
A frightening word. A hateful disease. A word that doesn’t have to mean a death sentence – but in my experience of it, it always has. A word that will smash your world to pieces at it’s very utterance, however things may turn out in the end.
Mum used to talk about her “battle” with the C word. Using the word “battle” never sat well with me. A “battle” implies a potentially worthy opponent. A nobility even. Swords clashing, mighty tussles, chins held high and weapons aloft. Thoughts strong and suffering short.
“Battle” gives cancer too much credibility.
Cancer sneaks. It is a snivelling cowardly wretch of a disease that has reduced the people I love most in this world to weak, milky-eyed skeletons, and I loath it.
As I type this, a beautiful woman I love with all my heart lies dying. My Mum’s little sister, whom I ran away to live with on a weekly basis as a child because I adored her so much. Who never had children of her own – but who is, to me, like a second Mum, big sister, and best friend all rolled into one.
Who used to make paper frogs and paint my nails with me as a child. Who nursed me through broken hearts and first hangovers as a teen. Who all my male friends fancied the pants off. Who I desperately wanted to be just like for as long as I can remember. Who patiently listened to me weep and wail on the phone over another failed relationship when I had no idea she was in hospital waiting for a mastectomy.
Who is not even 50 years old yet.
I feel so angry with cancer I can barely bring myself to type the word. How dare it. HOW DARE IT TAKE THESE PEOPLE AWAY FROM ME?
I have been advised by her carers that I should enquire about tests to see if I am likely to develop the c word myself.
This terrifies me. Even the slightest thought that the C word may put my Grace through what it has put me through churns me up in a way I find impossible to describe. It has already robbed her of two women that she should grow up knowing. That should – but for this vile disease – be a full and active part of her life.
I would rather be called a c**t a million times over than hear the other C word pass a doctors lips.
I know this is all deeply negative, and I am sorry. I know that cancer can be beaten, and that people go on to live long, fulfilled lives. I know we have to stay as strong and positive as we can when dealing with illness.
I hope with all my heart I have not upset anyone with this extremely personal post. I simply feel like my heart is breaking all over again, and I needed to write. That is all.