I never understood why people described cancer sufferers as being brave. I just didn't get it. Surely being brave is jumping in a river to save a drowning soul, or defending your military position against certain death, or standing up to bullies in the face of actual pain and humiliation. That's bravery surely?
Yet cancer sufferers are paraded across our TV screens and newspapers like gods we should worship. With all the accompanying wordy waffle of the feats of their bravery. I couldn't understand what bravery had to do with it. If you've got to have some medicine to fix you, that decision isn't brave, it's just foolhardy to refuse!
Apart from kids. A photo of a bald headed little kid with a tube up its nose and an IV drip and trolley being dragged along, would of course elicit only sympathetic words like "Brave little thing" from me. I don't know why I discriminated between children and adults. Perhaps I saw the children as innocent and maybe viewed the adults had caused their own downfall in some way? (A discussion for another day).
Now that I have a Breast Cancer diagnosis I do feel a little differently about the "Brave" word. I still don't think it's a good fit. I think "Coping well" or "Handling it" or "Getting on with it" are better descriptors. But I do admit to feeling that I may be a little bit brave at some points. This is usually just before a Chemotherapy session. I really, really don't want to do it. My body has just started to heal after the last poisoning session and I am fully aware of what is about to happen to my body all over again and I quite simply do not want to do it. Yet to me it is more of a question of survival than bravery. Survival comes top of this particular decision making criteria. (Anti chemotherapy souls may dispute my survival theory here).
But with all this unsolicited experience to my name, I am, whether I want to or not, expanding my comprehension of bravery. I get it now that those dealing with illness face challenges which are met head on with stoicism, pluckiness and fearlessness. That is their brave decision. They could decide to deal with it by complaining, moaning, making a fuss, blaming medical staff for pain and turning against their loved ones. Yet to remain resolutely defiant that you will not be brought down by this mass of unfair circumstances is most definitely a brave decision.
So I take it all back, my easy dismissal of yet another brave cancer victim. Anyone who can sit and watch that chemotherapy liquid infusing into their body with the full knowledge of what will follow, is most definitely brave beyond words.
So there, I'm brave. So are many ladies including Juliet, Marion, Karen and Tracy. Here's to us. (Plus all those before and those that will follow, too many).
I also have to include a mention for the Kidney people out there, both dialysis and donor. Jackie, David, Ruthie and Gaz. Wow.
Brave people xx
One favour, please do not comment saying I'm brave, my detractors will say I have only written this to get "brave" comments. It's not been done for that reason, it's a simple discussion on what "brave" means to me. So no brave comments!!!! Thank you x