Friday, 19 October 2012

Cancer - The Effects

     Cancer.  The big C.  When you hear the word you immediately think of the worst.  You break down.  Your whole world is completely destroyed.  You think of what’s going to happen, you think of the future and the worst of it.  You immediately think of death.  You can’t help it.  I have my own experience with cancer.  I lost my Granddad to it when I was seven and I lost my great Nan when I was eight.  But I was most affected by the disease when I was told in October 2010 that my Grandma had throat cancer.  Everything from then on was just a blur.  She went through chemotherapy but it had already started to spread.  My auntie had to move her wedding forward by four months to make sure my Grandma was there. 
     When my Granddad and great Nan died, I was so young I only have a few memories of them and I’m lucky enough not to remember them being ill.  But I will remember my Grandma suffering from this disease.  She was given three to five months to live; she fought that and lived for a whole year after she was diagnosed.  We all knew she wouldn’t beat the cancer, it wasn’t going anywhere.  The tumour in her throat had been reduced by the chemo, but as soon as the therapy had stopped it got bigger again.  Meaning she could no longer eat solid food and everything had to be blended, which wasn’t pleasant at all. 
     In October 2011 her legs had swelled up making her uncomfortable and often causing her pain, this also meant she could no longer get upstairs.  Because of this our local hospital gave her one of their beds to put in her living room.  The first night she went to use it, her hip broke.  Luckily her sister was staying with her at the time and got her to the hospital.  From then on she spent just over a month in hospital.  She had one wish though and that was to not die in hospital or a hospice.  I prayed that we could uphold that wish, but I was slowly losing hope.  She spent two weeks in hospital and a further three weeks in a recovering unit next to the hospital. 
     Luckily she was able to come out, she spent the next week at home constantly with someone, either one of her sisters or one of her children.  She was at home for a week before she died.  She died at home, exactly where she wanted to be and for that I am so grateful.  Seeing her so ill and then seeing her slip away, it changed me.  Seeing death changes you as a person.  Something inside of you changes and you’re never the same again.  I don’t really know how to explain what death feels like, what it feels like seeing someone dying or what it feels like to lose someone. 
     All I can say is, it feels like your heart is literally breaking.  Like something is being ripped out from inside you and you’re not the same person again.  Even now, almost a year on, I miss her terribly.  There is not a day that goes by when I don’t think about her.  Ever since my Grandma has died, I have done all I can to raise money.  I ran the Race For Life, raising just over £200 for the charity.  I also donate to Macmillan as they are an amazing group who do brilliant things for people with cancer. 
     Cancer affects one in three people, meaning almost everyone will come across this awful disease in their life.  Death is a definite thing, no one escapes it.  But cancer is not the way to go.  I have seen how it can change someone, it takes away the person you used to know.  They become so different and their body is just a shell.  But with everyone’s help we can work towards finding a cure.  Please donate whatever you can to Stand Up 2 Cancer.  Thank you.               

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