So I set out to help others and I feel like I’m getting there from the comments both privately and publicly. I wanted to help people with cancer however the blog has also featured many other issues such as disease, long term illness, grief and depression. Not very cheery subjects I know but we all suffer from them, choose how we react to the experience and then grow or not from what life throws at us. Another good saying is “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” I wanted to share some of those comments with you all as they are special to me but I won’t use names to protect the innocent. This blog was never intended to embarrass anyone apart from me and my journey through this shit.
When I say that I won’t name anyone, that is apart from my sister in law Sarah who has written a piece for my blog about her long term illness and how she has found inner peace too. But before I share that one I want to share a private message she sent to me on 8th July that really made me cry…..
Hi Wendy. Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply. I have feared this news since you told me it was in your lymph nodes in your neck. I feel utterly useless and at a loss for words. I have come out of the house to ring you but I feel in too much of a daze to call. I am devastated at the unfairness of life for choosing you. You don’t deserve this and I know for Steve when he married you it was definitely his happy ending. Tell Steve that I am here if he needs to talk and pls share this with him. I am so sorry for what you are all going through and if I can help in any way pls say. Sending you my love and Wendy I hope you find the courage when it’s most needed and have the time to really enjoy being with your family and creating the special memories that will carry them through their darkest times. Pls know you have many people who care about you and that you are not just a bowel cancer sufferer.but you are our amazing and inspiring cancer heroine xxxxx
Here is Sarah’s story regarding her illness, she has chosen not to be a victim too…..
When I got sick I wasn’t someone who thought ‘why me’ but ,’why not me’. I guess I accepted that as you get older like a car things are bound to go wrong and it’s one if those things. I was unfortunate that my equipment was somehow faulty. However I can remember the dark times when I had no diagnosis and I feared what the truth might be. Unable to walk properly and exhausted constantly I felt the frustration of a useless body and saw people twice my age with more energy and movement.
Having been through a very dark period in my life I accept certain things now. I was definitely on a hamster wheel and did not stop to appreciate I needed moments to pause. Having M.E. was in some respects cruel for someone like me who was constantly busy. It forced me to stop and take stock and to breathe. But it has also been very liberating and life changing. I was in a unique position that I had lots of time to stop and look and reflect. It allowed me to train as a counsellor – something I had wanted to do for a long time and something positive came from a negative. I am happier and more at peace with who I am and get such satisfaction from volunteering as a bereavement counsellor. I volunteer in memory of my Dad and again I use what I learned from a very tragic time to help others but the rewards it brings me are endless.
It’s hard for people to fully appreciate an experience until you have been there yourself or how it impacts on your loved ones. I think it’s harder for them. However reading your blog I see something of my own journey. The constant pain and exhaustion. Feeling 80. Not being able to walk properly. The frustration of looking well but feeling awful and the frustration of being in your forties and your body letting you down when your head is full of dreams and plans yet unfulfilled.
Your blog helps me daily with my own journey. It helps me understand chemotherapy and cancer better which helps me as a counsellor enormously. I worry that my body will let me down when I go back to work and have lots of ‘what ifs’ to contend with. What if I take on too much and resume my position in that hamster wheel. What if going back to work is a wrong decision for my health. But also your experience has taught me to pick daisies and appreciate that my health right now is OK and to take every opportunity to live for now. Who knows what is to come. I hope resuming work and my voluntary work doing the bereavement counselling will inspire Cerys (my daughter) to learn that you can still achieve even when it seems impossible. You achieve so much through your blog.
Your blog reminded me of a poem by William Henry Davies called, ‘Leisure.’ It’s starts ,’what is this life if full of care’ and the words are powerful.What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
It’s hard to stop sometimes and just look around us to appreciate our amazing world. It’s sad sometimes that it isn’t until we are ill that we really see what we take for granted and is around us.
I have given a lot of thought to starting a blog. It doesn’t feel the right time just now for me as I am trying to look forward and not make my health a focus. I know it will always be a part of who I am but the mind is powerful and I don’t want doubts creeping in about this new job. I have to believe my health will hold up if that makes sense. What I am going to do is to write some poetry. Revisiting the poem above has reminded me of how much poetry can express our experiences and touch other people. It is something I can do without the commitment of a blog with my new challenges which lies ahead.
I can’t explain why you are having to go through this cruel, debilitating illness but never underestimate the positives that can come out from a negative and how you are helping me in my life. We may have different illnesses but I feel connected to you in some way and I can’t explain it but I felt I wanted to share this with you
Someone else who contacted me who doesn’t want to be a victim of life’s experiences and looks at the positives………
I thought I’d let you know I think of you often. How you helped me when my sister was sick. It’s funny how someone (like yourself) can be in your life for such a small space of time but have such a positive effect. Almost like it was a meeting of fate!
I remember how fondly you would speak to me about your sister and dad, and how you could talk so openly about the trauma of their passing.
I can honestly say you taught me how to learn to cope with the shit that life hands out to us, and instead of trying to make sense of it or wallow in self pity, you helped teach me how to be at peace with it.
I have no doubt that I will think of our conversations for the rest of my life!!!
I wish you all the health I possibly can!
I will continue to read your blog, as reminder that life is so much more important than menial day to day ‘problems’! Ha
All the love in the world courageous lady
This next private message was sent to me from a member of staff from my BHS Kingston family. I have had to cut bit’s out to protect the innocent but it’s one of the many messages that I have received that made me both smile and cry……
Hi Wend! My god I feel this might be a long and difficult one but have been wanting to message for a while. Finding the right words to say at this time is so difficult and when I say there’s been a good couple days this week where I’ve said things over and over in my head as to what to message I just haven’t brought myself to do it! you know me!
I know you have the most amazing support and lovely family around you but I have to be honest your whole journey so far is always in the back of my mind. (Maybe where it’s been so close to home last few months) not sure really. I genuinely do feel so sad for you and so proud at the same time. I know you like people to be honest and say it how it is which we all know you very well for 😊
Been reading your blog when I can and catching up every couple days if I miss one, all I can say is you really are amazing Wendy and if anyone knows a bad day in this horrible illness it’s me as I’ve witnessed it first hand, you do have them but seem to take the good with the bad and still cracking a joke here and there and I just think you’re brilliant for it! Bet your thinking what do you expect Lol I can’t let this horrible thing take everything from me, of course you still wanna have the good times its just so amazing to see someone going through such a horrible time still managing to smile and get through.
This message was more to remind you just how much you are still thought about, missed every day and that we haven’t and won’t be forgetting about you. I know by reading your blogs how sad it makes you being away from us all and I don’t want to make you upset but if anything a little bit of a smile. It’s only when things change we’ve all started to be like Nooo Wendy wouldn’t have that or no that’s not what Wendy would do! I’m only assuming but the fact you can’t be with us and its out of your hands must be hard for you and just want you to know nobody is quite like you as our boss and don’t think there will be. I mean who’s boss can slut drop and say ‘ohmydays” and it still make us all laugh and can get away with it lol! Anyway wend we all hope to be getting you back no matter how long it takes 😊
Keep going, everybody is behind you and sending their love.
Miss ya lots xxxx
I’m sorry if this has been a long post as I don’t want to bore you all but I wanted to express how life experiences bond us together. It’s how we choose to react to them that is important. You can be sad, that’s fine and you can do self pity, if that’s what you need to do but don’t dwell and wallow there for long. Don’t be a victim and look at the beauty of love and loved ones that you have in your lives, appreciate all you see.
There is some fun stuff coming soon to lift your spirits as I have been working on a secret project to make you all smile, I hope, and I will be revealing this as soon as I can.