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Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Opening Up

This post wasn't supposed to be part of my scheduled programming for this week. In fact, I sat down intending to write something completely different but a few things have happened over the past few weeks regarding this topic that have actually really upset me and I feel like I just need to let it all out.


Okay. So, if you follow me on Twitter then you might know that my Dad used to have throat cancer. Or more specifically, cancer of the larynx which is his voice box. He was diagnosed when I was 16 (? I'm not completely sure) after having the most horrific cough for a couple of months. I didn't realise at the time but I know now that he had a feeling something was wrong and that's why he didn't go to the doctors, because he was scared. By the time that he went to the doctor and was put through to the hospital, a tumour had grown in his throat. I remember being there that day when he had to have this camera threaded through his nose into his throat and it was honestly the most terrifying moment of my entire life. He was panicking so much about it and I was frozen with fear, I just sat there and tried not to cry and I didn't do anything to help or reassure him. I still regret this hugely, I can't even think about it without wanting to cry. Anyway, that day we were told that there was a pretty strong possibility that the tumour was cancerous and so he had to be booked in for a biopsy a few weeks later. He had to go under general anaesthetic for this procedure, so I made myself busy until he was awake, then I hopped on a bus with my friend Kelsey and we went straight up to see him. This was the day that we were told that he had cancer.
 
I can still remember the exact moment that they told us. My dad was sat on the bed in his hideous hospital gown and there was only one chair in the room so Kelsey was sat down and I was sat on her knee and they spoke the words "we think it's cancer" and I can just remember every single emotion in my body dying. Kelsey grabbed my arm tight and I could kind of feel it but at the same time I was just thinking "they just told me my dad has cancer" and my entire body was just like white noise, nothing registered. Nothing made sense.
 
The next few months were a blur of hospital appointments, radiotherapy sessions and a ton of medication. He was rushed into hospital quite regularly from where he literally couldn't breathe. At one point he was admitted for six weeks (my entire summer) and I spent almost every day hanging out at the hospital with him. I was also dealing with something else pretty massive that summer, as well as preparing to go back to college which was a huge thing for me and my anxiety, so all in all I genuinely don't know how I survived. I was kind of running on adrenaline and numbness for most of that year, to be honest. But then every now and then when I'd be led in bed it would suddenly hit me that my dad might be dying. It was in those moments that I kind of wished the numbness would come back.
 
Fast forward to now and my dad is kind of okay. The radiotherapy that killed his cancer essentially destroyed his throat, though, and he still finds it very hard to breathe and eat and drink. We can't go out shopping together for long and he can't play football with my brother and he can't change his bed because he gets so out of breath. The other day he met me in Waterstones in town and he had to walk up a hill to get there and just the way he was breathing petrified me. I was so worried we'd end up taking a trip to the hospital. Thankfully an emergency hospital admission hasn't happened for a while, but there's always that thought in the back of my head saying "it's going to happen soon, but when?"
 
I am incredibly, incredibly grateful to have had a parent diagnosed with cancer who has thankfully been able to stay with me. I know that some other people aren't granted that. And sometimes I feel like my story isn't enough. Like, some other people have it worse, you know? So I shouldn't be allowed to feel scared or sad. But the truth is (and I'm gonna quote my favourite book here) "even if somebody has it much worse, that doesn't really change the fact that you have what you have." And I don't want my dad to die. How am I supposed to live in a world where he doesn't exist? It just doesn't make sense to me. I am forever terrified that cancer is going to change it's mind and come back and take him away from me. Or, at least, take his voice. Which is apparently the next step regarding his treatment if things get bad again. So I really don't know when the last time I hear him say "happy birthday" to me will be. I don't know if I'll ever hear him say the name of his own grandchild (when he has one - I'm only 20!). Cancer never really goes away, even when the tumours do. It stays and haunts you.
 
I'm not writing this post because I want sympathy or because I want the 'attention'. I don't want you guys to feel sorry for me. I just want you to know that this is my life. I think we know each other well enough now, right?! I've tried to write this before but it never wrote right, and I wasn't sure about posting it. But now feels right to me.
 
Well, it's now 10.33am and I'm crying my eyes out. Great start to the morning, eh? I think I'm going to go and have a Lush bath and cuddle Luna and probably ring my dad and tell him how much I love him. And I promise my next post wont be this sad haha!
 
I hope you all have a lovely day. xx
 
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If you're in need of support regarding your own or someone else's battle with cancer, you could check out the Macmillan website or phone them on 0808 808 00 00.

5 comments:

  1. You are completely, 100% allowed to feel scared and sad about this lovely. It must be heartbreaking watching your dad go through this. I'm so happy to read his treatment worked though. You're so brave to write about your experiences, I'm sure it will help those going through a similar time. Hope you're having a better day today xx

    Roxie | The Beautiful Bluebird

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  2. Hope you're okay Lauren. My Gran was diagnosed with terminal cancer almost a year ago and it really is the worst thing in the world to see someone you love hurting; your feelings are more than valid.

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  3. Aww wish I could give you a massive hug xx Thankfully I've never lost anyone to cancer but my Aunt too had cancer and survived but I still get scared that the cancer will come back again. It's great that you've opened up about this, cancer is horrible to talk about but affects and hurts so many people x

    vvnightingale.com

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  4. I think your feelings are completely justified and probably felt by a lot of people in similar positions. I can't imagine how hard it must be to watch your dad go through this, but I'm so pleased that the treatment worked.
    Cancer is a horrible thing, I've lost family to it, and it should definitely be talked about more. xx

    Bethan Likes

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  5. Hi lovely, I'm new to your blog and am just nosing through all of your posts, I hope you don't mind.

    After reading this it brings back memories of when I got told my mum had cancer. It was such a horrible moment....all I can really remember from it was that a Robbie Williams song was playing in the waiting room (as if that wasn't bad enough!)

    We didn't know at the time but my mum's breast cancer was at stage 3 already before diagnosis. Then about a week later (July 2014) we got told it had spread to her liver....meaning it was stage 4 and incurable. The doctor never told us that it was terminal, they just said that they couldn't 'cure' it but could treat it. Like yourself, I went through all of the hospital appointments, the long days of chemotherapy and the worry and stress that came with every waking moment....it honestly is one of THE worst things to experience in the world. I lost my mum on 28th December that year, only 6 months after she got diagnosed.

    The way that you feel / felt then is completely justified. No one will ever understand or know what your feelings are / were. Not even someone that's been through it because everyone deals with it differently. So do not feel any guilt for that.

    All I can really say to you is to appreciate every moment with your loved ones, as I say to everyone. Your dad is one brave man and even though I do not know him, I'm happy that he's beaten cancers arse!

    Laura x | http://pale-girl-reviews.blogspot.com

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