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Why you should stop telling cancer patients to be positive.

This has been bothering me for a while.  Telling a cancer patient to be positive.  Be positive that you will get violently sick?  Be positive that you will be constantly nauseous?  Be positive that you will have a headache that no pill helps for?  Be positive that you lose feeling in your fingers, which makes working difficult?  Be positive that you will be so tired that waking up and staying awake feels impossible? Be positive that you have had surgery that leaves you feeling less than a woman? Be positive that you will lose your hair?  That same hair that YOU spend so much time on washing and styling? The hair that makes you want to hide at home when you have a bad hair day?

All that must make a cancer patient feel positive?

Do you sit back and think how much pressure you put on a cancer patient when you say that?  It makes it difficult for a cancer patient to admit that she is having a tough day.  That she is not feeling so good.  It makes that patient feel she has to smile so that no-one tells her to be positive.  Even healthy people feel down some days right?

I can tell you that I appreciate it when someone says I am so positive.  I am.  I mostly feel this is a page in my book and not even worthy of a chapter.  I have days where I feel it is a separate book though.  I story on it’s own.  Where I’m strong, fearful, thankful, angry … all at the same time.

This “be positive” thing didn’t bother me so much when it was just me.  Now it’s my mom though.  My mom having to go through what I’m going through.  My mom having to get chemo to fight a horrible disease.  Not flu.  Not bronchitis or a broken leg.  Cancer.  Cancer where you feel so darn well but then end up making yourself sick by going for chemo.  No, I don’t expect her to feel positive.

Yes, I get where everyone is coming from.  It is always from a good and caring place. Should I see my mom lying in bed for days on end because emotionally she can’t cope, I will get a professional person to help her.  I would not tell her to feel positive.  I would tell her to be strong.

Yes, being positive makes it easier to cope.  It does!  If I had to sit in a corner and cry it would kill my kids.  It would hurt my parents and Tommie.  It would not be good for our family.  It would make working difficult and generally life would suck.  I know this is why people tell you to be positive.  I get that.  Please don’t think that I’m not thankful.  Again, I know it comes from such a good and caring place.

Just sit back and think how it affects a cancer patient though.  Someone who normally does feel positive and thankful for what they have and how “healthy” they actually are.  It makes it so difficult to admit that some days are just really crap.  That emotionally it feels too much.

I am thankful.  Hugely thankful.  It could have been so much worse.

Today though, today feels crap.  I didn’t want my mom to go through this.  I’m proud of her for choosing to give herself every possible chance there is to fight this.  She is one strong woman.  It’s okay when she’s not as well.

I’m not a hero.  Just a normal person, fighting for my life.

#fuckcancer #bestrong



Birthdays are special

Happy 12th birthday Zander. I am so very proud of the person you are. You are compassionate beyond your age. You love so deeply. You have trust in people and see the good in everything. You have a sweet, pure heart. I hope that regardless what life throws at you, you will always choose to see the good.

I’m sorry for not being able to give you the best birthday ever. You deserve the best, every year. Maybe tomorrow we can have the Wimpy breakfast you are supposed to have on your birthday. Maybe I feel better tomorrow.

For now though, sorry that you had to walk into our room and see me sleeping most of your birthday. I found the photo on your phone and I wonder how many times did you walk in to check on me.

Happy birthday sweet boy.

Next year, I promise.

3rd chemo today

I have said from the start that I want to write about my experience as something to read back on but also to just maybe help someone who has to go through this unknown.

I’ve been strong. I am still strong. I’m not falling into the depths of despair. No need to send help. I am feeling down though. It’s only the start but I just feel robbed.

I feel robbed of time. I can’t remember when last I’ve been able to just watch the kids swim. Zander used to insist. Now he doesn’t even ask. I don’t do things for the children anymore. They do things for me. I have so much work to do. I need time to work and time to rest at the same time. I don’t know how I am going to cope with added school activities. So thankful we live close to school.

My body is giving me a little f#ck you today. I don’t blame it. I mean it’s putting up a good fight and all.

Tomorrow will be better.


I could say it was a crap year because let’s face it, it wasn’t perfect.

However it wasn’t all bad and that’s what I prefer to focus on. Bad things tend to bring people together. I connected with family that I haven’t really spoken to in years. I got to see my soul mate for the first time in years. My relationship with Tommie is better than it has been for a long time. I have received such special care and love from family and friends. My children have always been helpful but now they have stepped up in an awesome way.

Cancer has taken a lot but has also given appreciation, love and thankfulness. I am still here. I still get to say, I love you.

This year has not just been about cancer though.

Quintus and his 1st hockey team did exceptionally well, making it through to the north west finals. Jason and Zander has impressed me at every gala. The hard work they put in is something I appreciate. Kyla enjoyed her hockey season and seems to enjoy swimming now as well. School has gone well. Good friendships were made. My children are happy and proper and for that I am thankful.

I have amazing parents that have walked every step of my cancer journey with me, even with my mom having been diagnosed with cancer as well. Come to think of this, I am thankful that my cancer helped with early diagnosis of my mom’s cancer.

I am hugely thankful that my Bella is still with us.

Many things to be thankful for. It has not been a bad year. We are still blessed and together.

Happy new year to all my friends and family.

2nd Chemo

I knew what to expect. Which made the thought of the second chemo much easier. It’s just that it takes so long!

We drive into the parking lot, when Tommie said “There is Dion.” Now, Tommie knows everyone in town, or so it feels. Dion, could be any one of the many people he knows. As I was focused on getting everything in the bag for chemo, I didn’t really listen. Then he said “There’s Christel!”, that’s when I listened.

I got out of the car and there was Stel and Dion. How? We live 200km away… Here just to keep me company during chemo? I was sooo happy!

We just sat down and caught up with news from their new Northern Cape friends, when Liesl came in with coffee! More of us! By the time I was settled with drips and all, my mom, Dad and Jason also joined us.

There was not a moment that I was alone. Not a moment to think how much longer it will take the poisen to flow through my veins.

We laughed, entertained nurses and hopefully put a smile on some patients faces.

Stel, Dion… Thank you. Your support and the visit all day. You kept me smiling. Thank you for that.

Stel, thank you for being my person.

So my hair is falling out

I cut my hair a couple of days before I started chemo. I like to have enough knowledge when something unexpected happens in life, so I read a lot. Almost all cancer patients that gets (got) the same chemo as I do advised cutting your hair short.

No-one mentioned that your scalp will hurt when your hair starts falling out. Nobody. Not my oncologist, the nurses… I thought that maybe somehow I got sunburned at the gala without realizing. That’s how painful it is.

I turned to Google and I am not alone. In different degrees, it hurts when your hair falls out. I cannot even lie on my back because the back of my head is the worst. Not that the rest isn’t painful, it is just not as bad.

Also, it is starting to look horrible. I suppose by this weekend it will all have fallen out.


Some days are better than others though. Today might turn into a great one. Who knows.

I’m gonna love you through it

I remember when I went for my mammogram and sonar thereafter. I was waiting in the doctor’s office. Alone. I didn’t have to be alone. My mom badly wanted to go with me but I wanted to face it alone. I remember sending my mom a message “The doctor thinks it is cancer”

I cannot image what she must have thought. She wanted to drive to the doctor’s office but I said that I was fine.

I remember going for the biopsy. Alone. I didn’t want anyone else to worry or go through that.

I went back to the doctor when he got the results. Alone.

Again, not because I had to but because I handle tough situations like that.

I was alone when the doctor said he had bad news. That it was cancer. I was calm. Listened to his thoughts and what we needed to do next.

I walked out of his office and saw my dad in the waiting room. We know that lady who works there and he phoned her to hear what the results were.

All of a sudden I wasn’t alone and I didn’t want to be. My daddy was there.

I’m a proud person and I don’t think that is such a good personality trait to have. I needed to see my dad there.

I have since learned that so many people want to be there. So many people want to love me through this.

Tommie takes time of from work to go to appointments with me. The children go way and beyond. My brothers, sisters (in-law). My friends. People who I hardly knew have fast become close friends. People want to help.

They want to love me through this.

I heard this song and cried. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer about two weeks ago.

I want to love her through this. I understand now how important it is for me to allow others to love me through this.

Mom, I can’t fix this. I can’t make it better. I can’t take it away but I can love you through this.