Please don’t call me brave, please don’t tell me I have done the brave thing. What I have done was the easy option, the only option I felt open to me. It was Hobson’s choice. How could I live knowing the risk I had and not worry with every passing moment that a cancer was growing inside me. No I took the easy way out.
Please don’t call me brave. I have never had to tell my children, my husband, my mother or my friends that I have cancer. I have never had to make them feel that everything is going to be OK, when actually I want them to be positive and hold me and tell me we will fight this together.
Please don’t call me brave. I have never been put under a general anaesthetic not knowing how much breast I will have when I wake up, or the uncertainty that they cancer has spread to my lymph nodes. I will never have the wait for pathology results to come through, whilst I try and get my head around what is left of me and why me of all people.
Please don’t call me brave. I have never had the chemotherapy, the drugs which are toxic and poisonous, which are delivered in a blue bag and slowly take away all my hair, my ability to sleep, to eat and to want to open my eyes on a morning.
Please don’t call me brave. I don’t have a tattoo, so that the radiotherapy could be administered to the right stop each time I go to the hospital. I don’t have the lasting reminder of yet another treatment to rid my body of cancer.
Please don’t call me brave, I don’t have to wear a hat or a scarf to cover my bald head. I don’t worry that my children will cry when they see me, or that strangers will automatically know I am a cancer victim. I don’t have to live with peoples sympathy.
Please don’t call me brave. I don’t have to have tamoxifen on regular basis to try and ensure that the cancer does not return. I do not have to ensure the regular visits to the cancer ward. The side effects of the drug that is supposed to be helping my body.
Please don’t call me brave. I do not have to be cancer free for five years before I can say that I am officially cancer free or in remission. I don’t have to worry every time I shower if there is another lump in my other breast, if my life is slipping through my fingers like sand.
Please don’t call me brave. I am not looking at my children wondering if this is the last time I will feel their skin on mine, smell their delicious smell or stroke their wonderful hair. I do not close my eyes at night wondering if they will open again.
Please don’t call me brave.
This post was written for the weekly writing workshop at Sleep is for the week and was inspired by prompt 2 – What do people always wrongly assume about you?