Would you like to know something that boils my piss? It may sound trivial to you or you may think I’m being over sensitive, but as an official inhabitant of ‘CancerLand’ AND speaking for many others in my position that feel the same, that it really grips my tit that when I die, you will call me a loser.
I know! Aren’t you an awful person?!
You would never do that. Would you? But I can confirm muggles everywhere do it so often it’s become as common as wiping one’s arse. What kind of asshat calls a loved one that’s died a loser? And yet when someone dies from Cancer, the typical cliché that’s stapled onto their Facebook status is ‘They lost their battle with Cancer’.
Maybe I’m being hard on you because of course, I don’t really know what you’d say if you had to discuss a Cancer persons death. I’m chucking you in a box, aren’t I? With all the other sheep out there... in fact I was probably once in that box too.... in the corner eating a double decker and googling ‘Puss-Porn.’
I just can’t fathom this ‘losing a battle’ crap and why it seems synonymous with Cancer folk. Imagine breaking the news on Facebook that someone you love had died in a car accident? Would you write ‘I’m sorry to tell you Dave has died...he was hit by a bus whilst crossing the road...he lost his fight with the 359’. Poor Dave. He couldn’t bloody help it. I’m sure he didn’t just lie down and bleed to death at the side of the road, I bet he was desperate to keep breathing but he had no control. And not only has he died, you’re calling him a loser. Christ on a bike!
When you’re diagnosed with secondary cancer like me, (cancer that has spread to a distant sight from the original place) you are incurable and can spend the rest of your life knowing that whatever you do you will end up a loser. The writings on the wall. At some point you’ll die and not only is being dead a bit shit, you’re now also a loser. And it doesn’t matter how long you live for beyond that diagnosis. You are still a loser.
I catch infections quite often due to lower immunity from the drugs and rather than a bit of Savlon and plasters, I can wind up in hospital for a week on a rotation of intravenous anti-biotics and paracetamol without the energy to lift my head off the pillow accept to watch ‘Love Island.’ I will throw up, be prodded with needles and stuck in a ward with my fellow cancer patients munching on unidentifiable food, listening to people fill their commodes.
I remember a stay last year when I was in a ward with four others. The lady in the next bed appeared uncomfortable but lucid. In the morning her husband came into visit and later the Dr turned up. He pulled the curtain around them as if this magical cotton cloth had evolved itself to become sound proof, and he delivered the news. ‘Maud you’re not doing so well on these chemo tablets and therefore I think it’s time we withdrew them. That reduces the time to about 7 days. Have you given any thought to what you’d like to do? Would you like to go home?’ Wow. Home, I thought. Lucky Maud.
But Maud was being asked where she would like to die. She had a week left.
Now I don’t know Maud, but I know when you get to this point you’ve been through every drug available and there is nothing left to try. You’ve run out of options. Maud will have endured years of treatments, appointments, scans, injections, blood tests, vomiting, the shits, nights sweets, baldness, nosebleeds, dental issues, nail loss, sympathy stares, discrimination, loss of friends, emotional trauma, mobility issues and now she is going to die. And to top it all off, when she does die she will be branded a loser! Fucking hell!
Whilst enduring all the things that Cancer has to offer she could also have raised awareness, fundraised thousands for charity, inspired countless people, travelled the world, raised her grandkids, fought for drugs for others, reconnected with what’s important, taken time for herself, loved very deeply, spent more time with her friends, smiled constantly, reinvented her life and although she had Cancer and it caused her death she died a hero! Maybe not your hero, but her own or her families.
She is most defiantly not a loser. Just because you die it doesn’t mean you lost. It’s what you do in life that defines you, not your death. No one lives forever.
She didn’t lose her battle with Cancer, she chose to live her life the way she wanted, and she won. She won in her life. It may have been shorter than she would have chosen and she couldn’t control her death but if you find anyone that can... pass me their email.
So, I’m asking for me and maybe a few others, please don’t say we lost. Say whatever else you like but just not that. We go to hell and back, enduring years of being poisoned, burned and chopped up. Dealing with emotions about death, wondering how to say goodbye to people when the time comes and all other manner of horrors, but we still laugh our way through it and live our lives just like you. If that isn’t winning, I don’t know what is.
And if I find any of you writing the word ‘lost’ about me I’ll be so raging I’ll haunt you.
If I could have a wish it would be to live until 100 and beyond. But I can only live now. Just like you. We are no different. We all die.
If you outlive me... and you find yourself typing the words ‘lost’ into your phones when announcing my death.... stop and remember this blog and copy and paste the following:
‘Heidi’s goal was to live her life the way she chose. And she won.’