29 Apr The silence of cancer
Cancer silences and isolates, this is why I have so much to say.
I am fortunate to have a wonderful support network of family and friends who all take their time to make sure that we are loved and supported. I have people to laugh, cry and just be with. Yet, cancer can silence. At times, cancer is all-consuming, it affects every waking moment whether we like it or not, but I don’t really want to talk about it with friends and family.
In fact, when I am with family or friends it is the last thing I want to talk about. Instead, I want to talk about life. Life is wonderful, people are wonderful and that’s want I want to talk about. I want to hear about everyone’s lives, their jobs, their school, their friends, their ups and their downs. I want to laugh, joke and smile at the absurdity of life and everyday dilemmas. It’s difficult though, as all I have churning in my head is blood counts, medication, the next treatment schedule and whilst I try really hard to engage in conversations I often feel myself fading into the bubble of cancer.
It is getting easier though because of writing. I clearly need to talk about it but the conventional form is not for me at the moment. Talking about it in a normal sense, would mean having to consider my feelings and emotions randomly. There is no real way to predict which emotions may come to play during a conversation about my child’s cancer, this is the danger of conventional conversation. It leaves me quite vulnerable and exposed to feel something that I had no idea was coming. When my nerves are already quite frayed and tensions abnormally high this is a calamity waiting to happen.
With writing it is different. I can dictate where I go and what to explore at my own pace. The feelings and emotions that arise are almost predictable as I am in complete control of the conversational journey. Every piece I write touches on a new raw emotion but it is for me to take it at the speed I want to. I can tickle the subject matter to get a little taste of how I feel or delve right in; it is truly liberating.
It is like each piece I write, releases a tiny bit more space in my mind for life rather than cancer. To realise this has been a relief. The writing has clearly become an important aspect of accepting where we are, what has happened to this point and where we are going. It means that I am at the stage where I am able to contemplate more than the diagnostics of cancer but also our life. My mind is aching for a bigger picture beyond leukaemia.
The silence of cancer is slowly ebbing away.