Breast cancer lesson number 111: Patients make good carers

There has been a bit of a patient/carer role reversal in our household of late. Duncan has sadly hurt his knee (the bad knee from a few years ago, so we have everything crossed that it recovers well) and is finding everyday activities like walking down the stairs quite difficult.

Having been there many years ago with my hip, I understand just how frustrating it is to go from an active person to someone who struggles to answer the door, so my heart goes out to him. But, secretly (or not so secretly as I am posting it here), I really rather like having someone to look after. Of course, I would obviously rather no one told Duncan this fact, otherwise I might find myself climbing the stairs for chargers and T-shirts and shoes just that little bit more often!

While I like to think I am a patient patient, I think the shoes of a carer are a much better fit. So, I am writing this post to say to all my amazing and exceptionally wonderful family and friends that if I ever hear the opening line: ‘It’s nothing like what you’re going through, but…’ again, I think I might have to have words (gentle and soothing ones of course!).

Yes, cancer is brutal and the treatment for it even worse. Yes, I wish I could find a cure so no one would have to hear the word again. Yes, it (or the fear of it returning) will stay with me forever. And, yes, I can’t wait for treatment to be over so I can rebuild the life I have temporarily paused and watch my hair grow back (grey or otherwise). 

But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have time or space to hear about the gas man who never came, the house move hell that is dictating your life, the job interview you wish you’d never started, the horrid work assignment, the dentist appointment you are dreading or the illness that you – or someone close to you – is facing (sore throat, man flu, the works). They didn’t remove my listening ear when they took my lymph nodes. It is still in full working order and would actually quite like to hear ALL your news – not just the Jackie-is-fighting-cancer edit!

As I see it, cancer is not the trump card. Cancer is just another card (albeit a very nasty scary one) in the pack of life sent to make our days just that little bit more challenging. In many ways, it is easier to deal with, because I have a massive team of experts, friends (old and new), fellow patients and family to draw on. I have an emergency hotline and a whole house full of pills. I sometimes wish I had such support when I have to face the broadband helpline or the water board!

I may have no hair, but I have a big heart and lots of love to give, so let me be part of your team.

As cancer will tell you, I can be a pretty tough cookie – and I also like to bake them (a bit softer though)!