All my life people have told me how “strong” I am or “mature for my age”. What I never told them is I didn’t have a choice because sometimes you have to step up and look after others. Age is just a number. You can see a 60 year old man fall apart in seconds because his wife died of Cancer but his Sister who’s only 20 be there to support him. Age doesn’t define your abilities or responsibilities. We choose to deal with life in our own way. For me I decided to not take it lying down and support the others in my life because at the end of the day someone has to.
To be honest I don’t even remember finding out my mum had Cancer I just remember it being through my time in junior school so I would guess roughly from the age of 8. Yes it was hard and yes I struggled with it. I still do. No person should have to see their loved ones suffer in the way I saw my mum suffer. No one should have to see the pain on their face and then not be able to do anything to help. It’s like having someone slowly stab you straight through your heart and even when you’re begging for mercy they just carry on.
At 16 now I look back at the time I’ve spent worrying, panicking and fearing for and about mum. If I added it up it would probably be at least 2 hours a day. That’s 2922 days spent worrying. 8 years of my life. Half of my life. Is that fair?
I do believe Cancer is one of the worst diseases someone can have mainly because there is no cure, no security, no energy left during it. In 2012 161,823 people died from Cancer.
"Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." -Chinese Proverb
I will always value how my parents tired to make my life as normal as and enriched as possible through out my school years. They never wanted me to feel excluded because of mums disease. I really value that. This also taught me something. You want to know how Cancer wins ? when it beats the human race? When we let it take over our lives and control us. When we decide we can’t do something because Cancer wont let us. My mum stood up to Cancer in the best way she fought back and did everything she could to take part in all events, special moments and key apsects of my life. That’s why shes my role model. No one should ever be limited by their disease as it should never define who you are and your capabilitlies. "The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." Albert Einstein
Im not saying that this means doctors appointments or important things like that should be missed as it is always important to improve and get better. But its also important to take every moment and treasure it and make the most of the time you have. You can still enjoy your life even with Cancer around.
Even if your not the person with the Cancer but the carer or loved one it is important to remember that they would want you to have fun as well and enjoy your life. This can become harder under the pressure of constant exams, school and work. To some people it gives them something else to focus on and they find this helpful but too others like me the just find it more presssure on top of everything else. This is why its so important to find an outlet, whether this be: Sport, Drama , Maths, a Youth group. You need to have something outside of the pressures. For me I found Science. I was given a position of responsibility in Science at school and I worked hard to make the most out of it. I did everything possible to push the position to its optimum and achieveing this at the end of the year gave me the confidence boost I needed.
In the beginning I had always found Science a challenge and difficult to understand particularly in year 8 where it all just seemed like the teachers were talking to me in Greek.I still remember being convinced neutrons were a form of French desert (just by the way they aren’t they are in the nucleus of an atom). Although I found it hard however it sparked interest in me. I spent my days after school re- reading the notes from the lessons, practicing extra questions and reading through the text books. Eventually it all clicked. My grades improved and lessons became more and more enjoyable as I began to understand more of the ciriculum. Now I’m not saying you need to spend every waking moment working; as you may have worked out by now I’m a bit of workaholic. You just need to find something outside of the home pressures to focus on and let yourself relax.
Now some of you may be saying: “who does she think she is dictating our lives and what we should do?” If you are thinking this however, 1. Slightly rude and a article can be skipped if not enjoyed… 2. These are tips I wish I had known earlier when dealing with my mum having Cancer.
Cancer can seem like the end of the world especially when it gets worse and things seem to get tougher. It is important to keep an open and positive mindset and take each day a step at a time other wise you can miss the most special and happy moments.
Also something else very important is to talk to someone, now this can be hard and some people try councilling or talking to a friend and hate it. However, for a lot of people it really works. I’m lucky I’ve been to a really supportive school where the teachers always supported me and were there if I ever needed to talk to them. Talking can help as bottleing up every emotion can sometimes make it all build up and explode out at a moment you don’t want (for instance crying at Frozen and everyone just thinking your weirdly attached to a Snowman called Olaf).
In the words of Tim Hansel : “Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. We cannot avoid pain but we can avoid joy”. It is important to find the joy outside of the pain Cancer brings.
People can tend to forget there is a world outside there own little bubble , a person fighting a battle, a person supporting a loved one but most of all a person struggling. There is so much we can do to help: raise money, volunteer and be a support system to those who need us. If we constantly wait around for someone to make an improvement or discover soemthing to fight diseases like Cancer instead of making it happen it never will happen.
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" Gandhi
Ghandi is right, actions have always spoken louder than words and if making a difference is whats needed in this world you can be the one to start the revolution. See the problem, be the change and fight Cancer.