Cancer (the first C) is a scary word. Whenever I think about it I associate it with very sick people, battling against their bodies to keep on living. A few months ago I was laying in bed watching TV when a cancer research advert came on and I remember thinking it seemed unlikely to happen to me, just because you don’t expect it do you? People in my family have had and sadly died of cancer, but not my immediate relatives. Not my parents or grandparents or aunts or uncles. You don’t get any sort of training for this kind of thing so I guess until it happens you don’t have much of an opinion, apart from maybe fear. I didn’t dwell on the cancer advert. Fast forward three months to Christmas time and it’s been a bigger effort than ever to feel festive.
Cancer happening in a family does strange things to dynamics. Where there should be utter chaos and panic and lots of planning, a strange calm sets in. You suddenly take a breath to reflect on life and realise the only things that really matter are people. People being okay, people getting support and people having really good reasons to take on round one against cancer, let alone the many rounds that follow.
Christmas (the second C) in the age of 2014 is predominately about buying presents, getting nice things, channeling man V food and going on commercial days and nights out to festive themed places and bars. I love Christmas. I love mulled wine and jumpers with happy polar bears on and eating mince pies for breakfast.
This year I love everything more. Mostly thanks to one simple task that has saved a life this year: Checking. The third C obviously.
Christmas has essentially been saved for my family thanks to something my mum saw on TV. I’ve spent a lot of this festive period checking everything on my body excessively because I am the ultimate worrier. But now I am the prepared ultimate worrier.
Cancer will throw you the biggest curve ball and make for the scariest time. It is something that needs to be faced though. When you have it on your brain 24/7 you realise that it’s everywhere. Splashed all over TV, the tube, the news, magazines. You can’t escape it. Well thank God for that.
One in three of us will get cancer now.
Check yourself. It’s Christmas. Cancer isn’t festive or cheerful but it is so very real. Tell everyone you know to check themselves. What better time to start than now. This isn’t a post on the signs of breast cancer, it’s a post about getting in the way of cancer.
Checking has saved christmas this year for my family, but ultimately it’s saved a life. I’ll drink to that.