I take it back...Day 18

Today's challenge took me back to my first diagnosis with cancer. I had just returned to my role as a nurse after sick leave and bereavement leave.I was working in a medical practice in my own town. I specialised in seeing people with long term conditions and for counselling. I loved my work.

It was all about the relationships we built, we got to be part of their lives, we knew their families, we heard stories no others were told, they trusted us. We shared their ups and downs .....but it wasn't the deal that they shared ours. So although I had just returned after a particularly awful time in my life, my patients in the main did not know.  But they had felt my absence at some level.

And so it was one day-when I was so exhausted- the mojo having long since left town, a certain older woman came into the consulting room. We knew each other and she harrumphed into the chair, looked me straight in the eye and demanded-"so where have you been, on a course or something?" For me it was the step too far. The straw that broke the back of the carer who was feeling the burden of guilt ( however unfounded that was) for letting so many others down. I was struggling with the energy to care for my children, I felt I had been unable to really help my dying father and my grieving mother as I would have wanted to in other circumstance. Her challenge touched raw nerves and the part of me that was still licking my own wounds.

"No , not a course I said, I have been having treatment for breast cancer". Of course she was stunned and also so upset for me. I was young, and it was the last thing she expected. I spent the next ten minutes reassuring her and kicking myself. I have almost forgiven myself for cracking and not just shaking it off as I had so many other things and said nothing.But I'm human and sometimes we need to just be that.


  1. So very human and vulnerable, Audrey. And even though you were young, I'm sure you remember the day like it was yesterday. I'm sure the woman would want to take back her question too, even though she couldn't have known what it would bring. How many of us, upon hearing the response, have longed to turn the clock back just a few seconds and ask a different question. I know I have. More times than I can count.

  2. Yes indeed. In some ways it was the job and the time.....sometimes patients forget that you are humanly fragile too. But I didn't make that mistake again! Thanks for looking in on my blog again. I have slipped on the challenge this month!


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