Today is the day we earmark for raising awareness of cancer. Everyone knows it, and everyone knows someone who has had it (or had the misfortune of having it themselves) regardless of sex, race, gender or social class. For 30+ years my mum has gone to work every day without fail and worked tirelessly to treat and comfort people with prostate, gynae and oesophagus cancers. Until last November, whilst I knew she was hard working and committed to her patients, I never quite understood or appreciated how much amazing work she did day in day out.
Two months ago I was told that my suspected appendicitis was in fact a cancerous tumour. At first I didn’t quite understand what that meant for the future or what would be done now, so of course I went straight to my mum for help. After coming to terms with the news that I had cancer and I would need surgery to remove a third of my colon (to make sure there WERE no cancerous cells left in my intestines), I felt relatively okay with what was happening. In my mind I could either get upset about something out of my control and subsequently end up not living my normal life, or I could get on with it and just look forward to the day I was fully recovered. I understand it isn’t that easy for a lot of people, but for me I was able to keep a relatively sound mind about it.
I could pretend this was because I was some tough macho man who didn’t let anything get under my skin but of course that wouldn’t be true. I have my mum to thank for this calm mind set. It wasn’t just that she seemed to do all the worrying for me, but every step of the way she was there, all the while still doing the same for all of her patients. If you have ever had surgery you probably know that surgeons are usually not the best communicators, but through any worry I had or anything I didn’t understand she was there for me. Even after the surgery she found time to visit me after work and kept me company until she had to leave.
During recovery I had homemade soup and cups of tea on tap as well as constant surveillance of my pain levels and medication. I am back to university after only 3 weeks – half the time of recovery people usually have for my surgery. All of that, and so much more is down to my mum. So this World Cancer Day I’d like to say thank you to my wonder woman mum for everything she does and continues to do, not just for me, but for the thousands of people she has helped over the past three decades. Providing caring, compassionate and lifesaving treatment at the same time. I am so to call her my mum.