I sit in the chemo day unit having chemotherapy pumped into my veins, but feel like I don't 'belong' there. You see, I am surrounded by 'sick' people, cancer patients. As people keep telling me, doctors and nurses included, I look well. I haven't lost my hair. I haven't lost weight (I am ashamed to admit I may have actually gained a bit).
A good majority of the other cancer patients are elderly. They have a daughter or son sitting by their side for support. Most of these daughters and sons are somewhat older than me.
I sit with my husband by my side. We read magazines and chat. Snacks come by far more often than I actually need.
This is not to say that I feel well. For the 3-4 days after chemo I feel like I've been hit with the worst hangover known to man. I feel like a lead vest has been put over my entire body and I nap on the couch a lot of the time. Then my energy levels improve and life resembles some kind of normal for 3 weeks.
This mind-frame of not feeling like a sick person could stem from optimism and strength. Refusing to let myself become a victim. Refusing to let cancer destroy my hopes and dreams. It is in stark contrast to how my body feels after chemo though.
Sometimes I think it'd be easier to get treated with sympathy if I looked as sick as I feel. If I lost my hair and looked like a cancer patient.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.