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Brave? No. Grateful? Yes!


Before I was affected myself, I always thought that those with cancer and undergoing treatment were incredibly courageous and that view has not changed; however, when it comes to myself being in the same situation, I don’t associate it with bravery. I connect more to the feelings of gratitude and stoicism. It's one thing to sympathise with others, even though we haven’t experienced the same thing as them – we can try to put ourselves in their shoes and imagine what they are going through – but to empathise requires that we have experienced something similar ourselves. And shifting into the empathy territory can change our perceptions and challenge the assumptions we have made in the past. This is how I am experiencing my #BloodyCancer journey; it’s not a question of being brave, it’s more a question of resignation and compliance. I had, of course, a choice not to endure the treatment, but it wasn’t a very attractive option, as I would have become severely ill and died within months – not something I contemplated for more than a couple of seconds. So, my path was set and I committed to doing everything I could to give myself the best chance of remission for a couple of years. The support services of all the Leukaemia charities are available for me to get counselling and talk about my feelings, but I haven’t yet felt the need to avail myself of this support; that’s because I don’t really have any negative feelings which require me to do so (although 12 months is a long time, so I’m not ruling it out in the future). Overwhelmingly, I feel positive, and my overriding feeling is one of gratitude, because our extraordinary NHS is doing all it can to keep me alive for as long as possible and I don’t want to let it down. With all the news of waiting lists and cancelled appointments (largely due to the impact of Covid and chronic underfunding over many years), I cannot fault the speed at which my Haematology team have acted, nor can I criticize the amount of resources they are dedicating to my care. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to benefit from world-class treatment which is free of charge – something the majority of people around the world do not have the privilege of doing. Of course, there are those who will say that it’s not technically ‘free’ as ‘we’ have paid for it with our taxes, but the point is that the NHS has, for over 74 years, provided all of us in the UK with treatment free at the point of delivery. Just one of my drugs costs over £10,000 a month, so a year’s worth of that alone amounts to close to £125,000, add to this the other medications, the costs of scans, blood tests, cost of staffing, plus the investment made over years to develop the treatment and I am being gifted an eye-watering amount of care. So back to the purpose of this post – why I don’t feel brave but do feel incredibly grateful. It’s impossible not to appreciate the care and treatment, hence the gratitude. But as for being brave, no, I’m just not feeling it – it’s not brave to take medication or sit being infused with a chemotherapy drug. It’s not courageous to cope with the side-effects, one has no choice but to do so. Maybe the bravest thing I am doing is sharing publicly my journey? But even this, whilst I am doing it to provide others with information and raise awareness of blood cancer, I am also doing it to support myself through the next year, because, instead of letting my experience take up too much headspace, I’m finding it cathartic to express myself via the blog. As always, thank you for reading my ramblings, I’d love your feedback – what could I do differently to make this blog more useful or engaging? Do you have any questions I might be able to answer for you? Keep me busy, dear readers!

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4 Comments


Mandy Boxall
Mandy Boxall
Sep 14, 2022

This is the first post I've read on your blog, and it's like having a friend holding my hand. Blood cancer has thrown me. My body has changed irreparably and there's pain every day, but I am so grateful to be here thanks to our wonderful NHS.

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angela7678
angela7678
Sep 30, 2022
Replying to

H Mandy, thank you for your comment, I love that it feels like a fried holding your hand ♥ Sorry I haven't replied sooner, but I hadn't scrolled down to see comments - still learning this blog malarky! Wishing you all the best, Angela

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sarahjones1997
Sep 14, 2022

It’s a mind blowing amount of money Ange and our NHS is something we should all be grateful for every day. Where else in the world would we rather be than our beloved United Kingdom. You’re doing a very brave thing by sharing your story. Speak soon xx 😘

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angela7678
angela7678
Sep 30, 2022
Replying to

Hi Sarah, thank you so much for commenting! For healthcare, you are right, no place better than the UK, although being in my third year of shielding, there a few places I'd rather be on some days! And thank you for saying I am brave for sharing - it's feeling easier now I am getting some reactions, so thank you for yours ♥ Angela xx

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About Me

Angela.jpg

Hi, I'm Angela, also known as 'Space Angel ‘, on Twitter and 'Snakey' to my family (both monikers require a long story to explain!). I'm 58 and the proud mum of Charlie, my 26-year-old son. I live alone in my cottage in Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant, a beautiful village in the Tanat Valley in North Wales, and the location of the tallest waterfall in Wales.

#BLOODYCANCER

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