12/07/2015

Everyone knows cancer is an effing arse

Back in the middle of March my nana was diagnosed with bowel cancer. The last few months we've watched the cancer take over and, this afternoon, she passed away after a short but fierce battle with the C word. 

After her initial diagnosis, further tests were done which found out the cancer had spread to her lungs. The prognosis wasn't great - 12 to 18 months with radio and chemotherapy. A month ago, after me visiting and seeing her full of life (even with a full face of make up and her hair all done), she was taken into hospital. The cancer had totally taken over and she was deteriorating by the day. 

My nana was so strong-willed, she tried so hard to fight - but it was no use. 

Everyone knows cancer is an effing arse - that's why so many people try so hard to raise money to fund research and treatment and support. Watching someone fade away right in front of you is something nobody should ever have to experience and hopefully, one day, there will be a cure to this disgusting, unnecessary disease. She lost her battle so quickly, I only saw her a couple of days ago and I had no idea that would be the last time. Of course she wasn't well, but I didn't realise it was just days away. I thought we still had weeks, months. So despite me knowing she was sick and losing the fight, it was still a massive shock. 

I don't want to remember my nana as the frail, sick old lady in that hospital bed. I'll forever see her as the fit, healthy, bubbly, young-at-heart, strong, funny, glamorous, tough woman who was my nana. 

The nana who took us to feed the fish at Burnby Hall and Gardens with a picnic and her homemade 'refrigerator cake' every time she looked after me and Jack in the school holidays. The nana who always 'spent a penny' as soon as she came round (for years I thought this meant she was making a phone call!) The nana who is the reason I love history so much after her telling me all her wartime tales and taking me to Eden Camp all the time (though I wasn't so appreciative of the history when she bought me a WW2 book for my 8th birthday and Jack got a portable CD player haha!) The nana who got drunk one Christmas and ogled my practically naked fireman calendar commenting on things you should never hear your nana say! The nana who loved telling us the same story 100s of times and talked so much on the phone that you could leave it on the side, go for a wee, and come back without her even noticing you'd gone. 

My nana never looked like an old lady until the shitty cancer took over, and I don't intend to remember the person it made her for the last few months of her life over the woman who was in my life for 23 years. 

After my nana was diagnosed, I decided I'd run the York 10k in August with my brother to raise money for Bowel Cancer UK. And now, three weeks until the run, she's passed away. If that's not an incentive for me to run my arse off I don't know what is. As I struggle round the route, probably sobbing/holding back tears, I'll think of her with every step. Every time I feel like giving up, I'll remember how hard she fought and how long she kept fighting before she gave up. I'll run and run and run to raise as much money and awareness as possible to hopefully stop another family having to go through what we have. 

Every person who has and is battling cancer, and all the family and friends supporting and left behind, does so for a different length of time. Some are longer, some much shorter, but each one is hard, heart-wrenching and totally unnecessary. I'm not a praying kind of person usually (I'm one of those who, as a vicar once put, it 'only turns to religion when the shit hits the fan') but tonight I'm going to say a prayer that one day a cure for cancer will be found and all the pain and suffering will end once and for all. 

For now, I'll mourn the loss of my nana and celebrate her life with the rest of my family. Her pain and suffering is over now, she's at rest and reunited with my auntie - where I'm sure they're enjoying a long overdue catch up right now. 

RIP Nana, love you



https://www.justgiving.com/Natalie-Derham1/

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