Let’s talk about raising cancer Awareness*…
We’ve all seen the social media trends…post a no make up selfie to raise awareness for cancer…or perhaps pour iced water over yourself in a similar vein…and now, this week, people are posting black and white selfies…
…but are these ‘challenges’ really raising awareness? Are they letting people feel what it’s like to have a cancer diagnosis, to be told you are terminal, to go through cancer treatment and major surgery?…
Yes of course some of these trends have raised thousands of pounds for cancer charities 🙏🏻🌟 and that’s pretty amazing!!…but do we really think that everyone who completed these ‘challenges’ donated? And did everyone stop to think what it would feel like to go through this brutal disease? Was their awareness raised? Did it make them support people with cancer?…
Last week I ‘challenged’ myself to post a picture of myself in my underwear. Completely exposed. Why? Because I want to raise awareness of what the effects of cancer treatment looks like…scarred bodies, hair loss, weight loss…
In January 2016 I was diagnosed with stage four incurable ovarian cancer.
I can’t ever express the emotional pain of telling the people you love that you have a terminal illness.
Since then I’ve received 6 rounds of chemotherapy and underwent a major 11 hour+ operation in May.
- I’ve had a full hysterectomy.
- I’ve had my spleen removed meaning I have to take antibiotics for the rest of my life and am susceptible to overwhelming infection because the spleen provides your immune system.
- I’ve had my appendix removed.
- I’ve had my omentum removed.
- I’ve had part of my liver removed.
- I’ve had part of my diaphragm removed.
- I’ve had part of my pancreas removed.
- I’ve had part of my bowel removed meaning I now have a permanent colostomy bag (pictured) because the remaining part of my bowel now protrudes my abdomen.
- I am left with an 18 inch star plus many other smaller scars.
Chemotherapy took me to hell and back…
- The pain (physical and emotional) when your hair falls out.
- Lying on the bathroom floor in your own vomit.
- Sleeping on the bathroom floor too weak to move.
- Falling asleep at the bottom of your stairs, too tired to climb them.
- Collapsing from tiredness.
- Anxiety attacks.
- Emergency hospital admissions.
- Surgery induced infections.
- Severe weight loss.
The list goes on…
I have an uncertain future. Cancer will always be part of my life.
This is what cancer is.
This is what cancer treatment does.
This is ‘raising awareness’.
If you want to ‘support people with cancer’ then be with them, visit them in hospital, tell them you love them, ask what help they need, send them messages to let them know you are thinking about them…don’t post selfies that make them feel worse about themselves and their body image than they already do…
Love and light, Fi xxx
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*this post was inspired (with permission) by a beautiful soul and fellow warrior, Rebecca Wilkinson who posted something similar about her breast cancer 💖