Six Months Rant – don’t read if you’re easily offended

Posted on May 16, 2018


Yesterday marked six months since my diagnosis. It’s still pretty raw and everyday when I think, “I’ve got this,” another curveball floors me and I’m left in tears with a dark grey cloud hanging over me, that just won’t shift. It was also half a year of forever on the wagon. And as a reformed drinker it doesn’t get any easier. There is only so much sparkling water one person can drink.

I’ve hated being back in London. I am not going to sugarcoat it for you. A city geared towards money and spending. Neither of which I have in abundance.

If you have built a life in the UK and you’re happily ensconced here, enjoy going out, have a job and a partner/family then I don’t expect you to understand my position. I am jobless, childless, single and living with my aging parents at the age of 42. I am also now more invisible to any potential partners than ever before. You try telling a date you have cancer! It is not how I imagined my life to be at this age.

The misery isn’t from the condition or the changes I notice to my body, it’s other people’s reaction to me, the disease and some of the thoughtless things strangers and friends have said without even realising.

“We’re all going to die,” this is insensitive and a stupid thing to say to a cancer patient. Please don’t.

“Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you don’t feel lonely,” you have companionship regardless of its faults. You don’t eat alone, wake up alone, go to bed alone and go through entire days without a soul messaging you like a ghost.

“Maybe you’re going for men that are too attractive and should lower the bar,” I’m not going for supermodels, but I am extremely active I will not be interested in a couch potato who’s glued to Netflix.

“You never know what’s around the corner/you’ll meet someone when you least expect,” I have been single nearly three years and it was bad enough being told by men I was too capable and not vulnerable enough, now I’m the polar opposite and sick, they run a mile!

I have been on more dates than I have had hot dinners, I actively put myself out there time and time again. Rejection is painful and let me tell you it feels worse when you can’t fix what’s wrong; you’re on the back foot before you’ve started. I can write the script before the date has even started. But I still show up….

I have had men react like I have Ebola, jumping back from the table, body language going from friendly to icy in seconds, some pretty ignorant line of questions thrown at me:

“Is it contagious?” No you can’t catch cancer! As if I would jeopardise someone else’s health.

“Can you still have sex?” Yes, but clearly not with an ignoramus like you.

I understand it’s a shock hearing someone has cancer no matter what stage and I also don’t know whether they’ve been affected by it personally at close quarters but I’d rather be upfront about it. And yes while it’s a lot to take in, try living with it!

“What’s the prognosis?” followed by people running through a list of their own aches and pains. Please don’t ask if you aren’t prepared for a brutally honest answer; because it is not easy listening.

“I don’t drink that much these days myself,” the point is you have a choice and decide when and how much. You are not trying to keep chemotherapy at bay, making key health decisions everyday to keep stable.

One of the cruelest things that’s been said to me, “Don’t you hate kids?” I’d love someone to give me evidence of how this image has manifested. Why? Because I’ve had a successful career and don’t have them at this age? I’ve never met anyone who wanted to have them with me. That does not make me the antichrist. I have never been interested in being a single parent nor have I ever been financially secure to be one.

“Maybe you’ll get better, there are new developments all the time,” I appreciate the optimism but it doesn’t help. I go on facts. Right now medically there is no cure for Myeloma. It is a rare form of blood cancer. Yes every patient is different and lifespans vary, but in the end you do die from it. If I make it to 60 it’ll be a miracle.

I’ve bottled so much frustration and pain I am now finding a way to vent. Hence this post, probably morbidly negative than usual, but guess what? It’s therapeutic for me because there are days when I am not ok. I have started seeing a counsellor who I cry my eyes out to more often than I’d like to admit, but that’s ok. It’s a space I feel secure in where I am not judged and I can openly express how I feel. This is what living in a city does to me. Saps me dry!

In a weeks time I will be back under the waves in The Caribbean about to embark on a new dive career without half the bloody baggage I’ve had to deal with living here in this city the last two months.

I really do not expect anyone to have “the right words”. So don’t worry about that. I also don’t want a barrage of messages apologising if you’ve been guilty of any of the above. Just make a note to self, a bit of thought going forward, please don’t try to compare your lifestyle to mine which is something no one other than another 40-something Myeloma patient can.