By the time I was formally diagnosed with bowel cancer I already knew that I had it. That still doesn’t prepare you for that moment you hear the words out loud “It’s bowel cancer”. Nothing can ever prepare you for the words that suddenly tilt your world on its axis and send you flying. Three simple words that ripped our family apart and sounded the starter gun for the beginning of the toughest year of our lives.
Cancer Is Gruelling
It’s been gruelling, both physically and mentally. I’ve changed as a person, Mr C has changed as a person, our marriage has had to change in order for it to survive. The children have learnt far too young that real life isn’t a fairy-tale, but with that they have grown into children that are resilient and compassionate. 2019 is a year that has tested us all and I am only too aware that this is only just the beginning: post-treatment we will have to find our new normal.
When I was first diagnosed it seemed natural to take all of you with me. I could have kept quiet and dealt with this privately but as we all know that isn’t my style. I was determined that something positive should come out of the sh*t. I wanted to show that cancer didn’t need to be all doom and gloom, I wanted to smash the stereotypes. I wanted to raise awareness of bowel cancer so that other people would hopefully avoid what I was going through. I should have gone to the doctors earlier but I used media reports to reassure me I couldn’t have bowel cancer. I led a healthy lifestyle and I was well below the average age for bowel cancer but as I now know cancer doesn’t care. Cancer is indiscriminate.
I’m very grateful to modern science and the advances made in the treatment of bowel cancer. It’s thanks to those advances that I was able to have a groundbreaking stoma reversal in just ten days. I’ve seen for myself how treatments have moved on. My grandad was diagnosed with bowel cancer 20 years ago and the advances that have been made in those 20 years are incredible. As a way of saying thank you I’ve already raised money for Cancer Research UK when I ran/well walked a very slow plod in the Race for Life when I was still recovering from sepsis. Cancer Research UK is making amazing advances in the treatment of cancer so that’s why I didn’t need to be asked twice when the lovely team at Stand Up To Cancer asked if I would like to get involved.
Stand Up To Cancer
Stand Up To Cancer is a joint campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 and together they are raising awareness and money. They are also about putting the FUN into fundraising and we had lots of fun when we joined Stand Up To Cancer for the afternoon. At one point I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it as I felt fairly rotten in the morning with a painful headache but several gallons of water later and some very strong painkillers and I was feeling a lot better.
We headed to Bonita Hair and Beauty at Les Ormes Leisure Centre where the amazing team of stylists helped transform me and the girls’ hair. The team were so lovely and spoilt the girls rotten. I was a bit embarrassed as my hair is in dreadful condition from the chemo and my skin is also looking fairly yucky due to the chemo, but the team were brilliant and I soon felt very at ease.
Bold Hair From Bonita Hair and Beauty
They set about creating our hair-raising masterpieces in the colours of Stand Up To Cancer. The girls had so much fun and loved having their hair styled and sprayed orange. It was awesome to see them having a fantastic time after what has been a fairly difficult year. It felt good to be doing something for them. With every clip, pin and spray our hair got bigger, brighter and bolder until we barely recognised ourselves anymore. The girls giggled as they looked at their reflections. As we were being transformed BBC Radio Jersey arrived to cover the event. The girls were interviewed live on the radio and they were as cool as cucumbers. I was immensely proud of them as some of the questions they were asked were not easy ones to answer.
Finally, we were ready to show off our hair and strut our stuff. We were whisked away for photos; the girls were completely at ease whereas I felt like a flailing fish out of water. The girls whipped their hair and struck up different poses with every click of the camera. I on the other hand was more of a one trick pony and waited to be directed as I felt frozen with fear. By the end of if I was exhausted. I don’t know how those professional models do it. Before we left the lovely team at Bonita’s Hair and Beauty surprised us all with a goody bag each. Those goodies have done wonders for my hair as it is feeling so much better after using the shampoo, conditioning treatment and special brush.
We Are Fighting Back
It might have been a lovely afternoon but there was a serious message behind all of the fun. It was our way of fighting back and supporting Stand Up To Cancer. I am only too aware of the shocking statistic that cancer will affect one in two people so this is why we need to be supporting campaigns like Stand Up To Cancer. The money raised will help save lives. If we all get behind Stand Up To Cancer we can help defeat cancer. That doesn’t mean we can’t have fun in the process though. Head over to the Stand Up To Cancer website and you can download a free fundraising packwith lots of fun ideas for helping raise money. You could dye your hair orange, wear some fun costumes, dress all in orange, bake some cakes. You name it and you can probably do it.
Join me in standing up to cancer, raise some money and together we will fight cancer.