There’s no right way to do cancer

I had a blog comment that made me think.

One of the reasons I’m blogging about this is to process my feelings. For me, writing is a way to work through them all and surprisingly, I find myself typing something I’ve never consciously thought of but when I read it back I get a jolt of recognition that yes, that’s exactly what I’m feeling.

Another upshot of sharing is that people respond to my posts and comments. It helps to hear from people who have gone through or are currently going through this because they get it and I value their insights.

I received a comment on a post that pointed out my bitterness and I had to stop and think about that post and the following response to it. At the time of writing it, I wasn’t feeling bitter, just sad. It was 16 days after my first chemo session and my hair was falling out. It was a short post, written in real time about what’s happening to me and my distress and fascination with how my body is responding.

Although I knew it was going to happen, it was still painful to experience and looking back, I’m ok with that. No one can tell you how you will respond when it happens to you. There is no right way to do cancer. We feel what we feel and we are allowed to feel it.

I think we need to feel it, otherwise it just bottles up until we explode.

I’d cried a few times after my diagnosis, but one day I lost it. In public.

It was early on, there was alcohol involved and it was the first time I completely left myself go. As all the fear, misery and yes, bitterness, burst out of me, my cry turned into a wail, the kind of gut-wrenching howls and heaving sobs that cause your body to convulse.

I wailed into my friends arm while The Boy rubbed my back, both of them trying to calm me down but I couldn’t stop. It’s true what they say about the floodgates opening, shutting them down is impossible, you need to let grief run its course.

Luckily, I’d had the foresight to meet in a pub, so it was dark, loud and we were sitting up the back so I don’t think too many people noticed.

But after that I felt a lot better and we all went out for burritos.

As for the bitterness, I admit I’ve had the “why me?” moments, I try not to dwell on them but at the same time I’m allowing myself to feel what I feel and grieve the loss of my old life.

But then I think, “why not me?”, one in eight women get breast cancer, I just happened to be that one.

Like the commentator said, there’s no playbook for cancer, we’re all muddling our way through it the best way we can.


7 thoughts on “There’s no right way to do cancer

  1. If you are experiencing bitterness and “why me” moments, Renata, it’s certainly not coming through in your posts. At least not to me. All I’m reading is honesty, humour, a bit of wtf? And, of course, some pain. Keep writing xxxxx


  2. Hi! Just found your blog and glad I did. I think we have a lot in common. And you are totally allowed to feel however you want to feel. I think it’s perfectly normal to think “why me” when you get cancer, especially as a young person. It’s not something that’s supposed to happen to healthy young adults just starting our lives. Cancer sucks and there isn’t always a positive spin on it. I actually wrote something awhile ago when I was having some similar feelings about being “bitter”, so maybe you can relate to this:

    You’re not alone! Sending lots of love. I’ll look forward to new posts.


    1. Thanks for your comment Steph, I definitely related to your post.
      I’m trying to be positive throughout it, but sometimes I just don’t have it in me. I’m now OK with that, even if other people aren’t, because you’re right, sometimes you just have to cry.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Renata,
    Just saw the link to your article and read the rest of your entries. It’s nice you have a way to use your passion for writing to help manage the BC. Make sure The Boy continues to take care of you. xx


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