When I speak to people about breast cancer as part of my job with Breakthrough breast cancer I often say that breast cancer affects families not just individuals and this has never been more apparent to me than now. This story isn’t just mine its my family and friends and colleagues too.
My husband is a volunteer counsellor and has had to suspend his volunteering meantime. You need emotional capacity for counselling and this experience was using that up. My step daughter has found my news difficult because although she knows its different-it has taken her back to when her Mum died far too young of breast cancer just a few years ago.
My daughter being away from the family at this time has left her perhaps worrying more than she would if she was here herself. And of course she has always known that the age of my first diagnosis means that she may be at slightly higher risk herself.
For my son its hard too but he can help with a well timed hug or offer to make dinner-but its still impacting on him and his girl friend too. If I could take this away from them all I really would want to. The hardest thing for me is knowing that I cant.
For my Mum I am still her daughter and perhaps the hardest day for me was going to tell her that I needed to have treatment for breast cancer again. Although I have stressed to everyone it is a very early stage, it does require treatment and therefore is significant to all who care about me. In many respects I think the impact is worse for them than it is for me. In some ways I feel something of a fraud and want to say “ calm down dear”
(to borrow a phrase!)but also recognise how I would feel with the boot on the other foot.
So I guess I have to accept that this has an impact on others, my lovely family, much loved friends and colleagues too. I cant avoid that but I am hugely supported and warmed by all their messages of love and care and this is my way of saying thank you. It is helping me so much. I feel spoiled and hope I can be worthy of itJ