Kate G
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Diary of a "Fake" Cancer Patient – You’ll never have a cold again

Kate G
Posted by
29 Apr 2014

As a watch & wait patient whose cancer started in my lymph nodes, it feels quite surreal that it isn’t being treated when I read about other patients whose cancer has spread to their lymph nodes & that that is deemed very serious. It’s at times like this that I have to take a great big reality check and remind myself that there is a very good reason that I’m not being treated and that’s quite simply because I don’t yet need it! Once you start on that train of thought, it is easy to get carried away and I would imagine that most cancer patients have times when they are more or less paranoid about the overall state of their health. For example, I can’t imagine ever “just” having a cold again – on an average day, I get up in the morning, have a shower, check the lumps in my neck, armpit & groin for signs of change, get dressed & go to work. If I have a sore throat & a series of fatigue days in a short space of time, inevitably my thoughts pass to whether this is the start of a decline in my health & to the possibility of starting chemotherapy. However, you CANNOT live your life like that ....

Let me elaborate - I fully understand that because my cancer is in my immune system, it is very important that I look after myself. So, daily I take lots of vitamins & eat a very good diet. Ok, I know I drink far too much red wine but there are antioxidants in it :) & after all it does form part of my evening relaxation (works for me anyway). I also have reflexology & practise reiki, make sure that I get plenty of sleep & annually I go & have my flu jab. However, there is a massive difference between practising basic good health & placing myself in a “bubble”. In any event, how are you supposed to avoid bugs & infections, when you are a parent?  It is just not fair on your child to stop them being a child (i.e. have their friends round, get dirty & charge around, go to parties) just to protect my compromised immune system. Children of cancer patients have it hard enough without taking away the pleasure & escapism of just being a child.

So for me, it all boils down to balance …

Comments

Anonymous
30.04.2014

Thanks so much for sharing Kate. Another really powerful blog

30.04.2014

Hi Kate, this is another fantastic blog. You raise some very real concerns which I think that many blood cancer patients can relate to. As you say you cannot live your life worrying about the prospect of picking up a cold, similarly you cannot take silly risks. I remember finding the first year of university immediately after my transplant very difficult in this respect. Trying to juggle looking after myself as I built up my immune system and general recovery with the desire to go out and socialise was a very hard balance to strike and I didn't always get it right. However, I think your body tells you when you need to slow down and the important thing is that you lead your life the way you want to lead it not how you think you ought to lead it - you'll only set yourself for failure by setting impossible targets you can't keep and then feel bad when you inevitably don't reach them or at least that's what happened with me! I can't imagine how tough watch and wait must be but you sound like you've got a good handle on things and have taken control. Good luck!