The C Word

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.



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18 responses to “The C Word

  1. Morag Mackenzie

    All our love and thoughts go with you and your family. Very thoughtful endearing words Minty, she would be very proud xxx

  2. Aw Minty so sorry to hear that. As you know I worked with Helen for a few years at the pub and we got on so well. I liked nipping down to hers for some ‘shoes’ (I am sure you understand that!!).

    Yes cancer is a cruel disease, I watched my father-in-law change from a strong land worker to a weak skeleton (he was a lovely man and Ali has lost an amazing Grandad). A few weeks prior to that I lost a good friend to cancer.

    I feel your pain and sending you big hugs.

    Lots of love, Kate x

  3. I’ve been trying to comment on this but my phone wouldn’t let me. Just wanted to say that you do NOT need to apologise at all. You needed to write this and I’m glad you did. Please don’t forget where I am, ANY time you need anything, even if to have Grace for a couple of hours or whatever. We’re all here for you xxxxxxxxx

  4. my heart is breaking for you Minty……..a beautifully written post (as always) and very poignant. I have to see the white rose center once a year for examination due to maternal breast cancer, it’s not nice, but it’s doing something, not waiting. You shouldn’t be dealing with this, you’re right. But nothing I, or anyone else can say will ever change it. I send you my warmest hugs, and deepest sympathies……… there be light at the end of the tunnel for you xxxxxx

  5. michaela britton

    No need to apologise. It is your blog and you write about how you feel. Just the word’ cancer’ sends shudders down my spine

  6. vivien

    The little bridesmaid who pattered up the aisle beside me on her sister’s big day! I can’t believe how sad this is for you all. xx

  7. Keri

    As I said to you last night Minty, I can only imagine how you feel, despite how close I’ve got to Helen lately. She has been like a second ,mum to me also, and in many ways has been a better parent to me than my parents. It has been and still is so hard to see her this way. Oh god Minty, it is so horrible 😥 and knowing that when I see her tonight she will be even more a shell of the person we love is just unbearable. I am always here Minty. Love to you, Gibby, and Stu, from me and mine. xxx

  8. Oh Minty I am so so so sorry to read this post but don’t you go apologising for it. You need to get it out. I felt so much better for blogging about the C word a fair while back and how it’s ripped through my family and friends. It’s the one thing that terrifies me so much. I really can’t believe that this has happened to your lovely aunty. C****r is such an evil cunt!
    Big massive hugs to you lovely lady xx
    p.s. Sorry for using the other c word on your blog but yes, it’s far less offensive.

  9. I follow your blog as I think you are a great writer, this really moved me, please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you Zx

  10. Cancer is not a word that’s said very often in our house. My MIL lost her brother just before my Husband was born and he grew up hearing about cancer and it’s awful effects, leading eventually to a sometimes crippling case of health anxiety. Fast-forward 30 years and Tony lost his other uncle to stomach cancer, my Mum lost one of her best friends to breast cancer and I lost my stepmum to a particularly aggressive case melanoma in the space of just over a year. It’s all around us but we do our best to to mention it around Sausage as we don’t want her to develop the same anxieties as her Dad had at her age. I wrote a post a while ago called ‘Cancer is a Cunt’, I’ll leave the link if you want to read it, but in the meantime I just wanted you to know that I know how you feel and I’d rather be called a cunt any day of the week than hear that vile other c-word ever again. Lots of love to you and your family xxxx


  11. You dare apologise. Blog it all, get it out, keep dng it, don’t harbour anything…you are in my thoughts and prayers xxxxx

  12. Pingback: Cancer Research – Reading List | waterbirthplease

  13. what an emotional piece – i’ve come back to read it following you more recent posts – my heart is with you

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