Leanne F
Posted by

We're only human

Leanne F
Posted by
23 Apr 2014

I said I would sit down and write this blog back in November … maybe even October. 6 months and 3 drafts, numerous crying episodes and a million emotional/motivational songs later and here I am. I could talk about my journey to diagnosis – the strong (heroic can I add?) young vet student who battled through months of being on deaths door begging for intervention – but I would probably add more drama and exaggeration than needed, so I’ll leave that for another day.

Instead, in the words of Christina Perri (my emotional singer/song-writer for this evening), ‘I’m only human, and I crash and I breakdown’. Cliché to use lyrics? But oh so very true.

Just 9 months ago, I made the mistake of believing there was a right way to react to a cancer diagnosis. Within seconds of being told I had leukaemia I had decided it was all going to be fine and that was that. I was going to fight it, because, well that’s what everyone says. F u cancer and all that malarkey. Well it doesn’t always work like that. Don’t get me wrong the world is a beautiful place but also a cruel place. I was not a strong enough person to make that courageous personality change. I know this because I’ve always been an emotional person – I cried at Eastenders when my beloved Phil Mitchell was in a car crash, and I STILL cry at Titanic. So when I said to myself I was going to be strong, not only for myself, but for my family I knew it wasn’t going to happen. Who was I kidding?

I might in my families’ eyes be strong – having chemo – going back to work experience and then moving back to the other side of the country for university all in 2 months, but it was hell. I just wish I’d known I didn’t have to be strong all the time. Instead my efforts at being valiant have only resulted in numerous drunken nights out, either ending in tears or complete memory blanks (because after a certain number of wines I feel free enough to bang on about my leukaemia to anyone who will listen and let me cry on their shoulder - (sorry guys!). I know me in this state has brought much entertainment to many of my friends – who have photos and videos to prove it, but it is really not the best way to come to terms with a cancer diagnosis.

So what is? At the moment for me it’s eating too much chocolate and having a good ol’ mope. There is no right way to deal with a diagnosis – everyone is different, but there is something called ‘The phases of realisation’. Ok so I definitely made that last bit up BUT it really is up and down. I guess what I am trying to say is there is NO right or wrong and one day you will be determined to achieve anything, beat cancer and motivate others to make a difference for the cause, and then some days you won’t feel like leaving your bed. You’ll feel sorry for yourself and feel like crying ALL day. Well that’s fine. You can …. Because one day you will feel better, and you can take comfort in the fact you’re not alone.

I’ve spent nine months bottling so much up and ignoring my true feelings regarding my diagnosis. In fact I’m sure some days I will carry on doing that – because the world goes around and I don’t want to ruin anyone else’s day. Some days I will be able to put on a smile and carry on, and some days I will want to sob until my eyes hurt because the world is unfair, and then I’ll eat more chocolate and just add to the ever-increasing insulating fat layer that I already possess, because that’s what I want to do. 

This very long winded blog is basically me trying to say to those who have been diagnosed with cancer, just because you don’t feel strong doesn’t mean you’re not. You might not think you are being inspirational but you are … and if you are just angry at the world and want a cry, then don’t feel like the cancer is beating you, because you don’t always have to be strong … (and I’m probably crying too – whether it’s about Eastenders or my Leukaemia). Don’t ever fall into the trap like I did – you are not alone and you do not have to be strong for everyone else. No matter how you deal with your diagnosis, you are still amazing. We are after all the chosen ones (yes, bad joke, but cancer cells only pick the best ones to mutate in …. Well that’s what I’m going to believe ;)

Comments

24.04.2014

Leanne, thank you so much for posting this blog! I can relate totally to what you're saying as I, too, made the mistake of thinking that I had to be strong all the time. As you say, there is no right or wrong way to deal with blood cancer and we all have good and bad days.

I wish you all the best with your treatment and look forward to reading your next blog!

Anonymous
26.04.2014

Leanne- you are a very brave girl. Keep the fighting spirit alive. My son was diagnosed with ALL on 23/12/13. Our lives were turned upside down. Our local hospital could not deal with his illness so he was flown to Glasgow- over 200 miles away. We just take each day as it comes now and hope that all this gruelling treatment works. Take care. Remember - it is okay to cry :) - I have done plenty of it!! Xx