5 Positives To Come From My Husband Having Brain Cancer…
Coming up to 3 years ago, I walked through the doors of my house, sat down on the sofa and cried. I looked around at my home and didn’t understand one bit of it.
The pictures, the chairs, the drawings by my little girl, it just didn’t make sense anymore. I looked at the cod liver oil capsules on the kitchen bench, left next to a cooling headache strip and almost laughed.
These items had been bought to ease my husbands headaches and now I knew they were utterly pointless.
Not in a million years did I think his problems were that.
This was the first time in the last few days I had been on my own, everyone had rallied round since the news and sitting here made me feel, for the first time.
I cried, I really cried, the deep, ugly cries and then I felt almost like I was falling into a void, like a clarity washed over me and I knew I had to move forward and this crying wasn’t going to change anything.
I called my Talent agent. I had just finished a huge storyline in BBC Casualty and had booked a role in a film off the back off it. This wasn’t going to happen now.
I didn’t care.
I felt nothing.
It didn’t matter anymore.
Looking back on everything that has gone on in the last few years makes me remember moments like this and I realise these were very powerful times, moments you just don’t come back from, the same person you went into them.
Before Ross’ diagnosis, when I heard about people getting cancer, I felt sad for them, of course, but I had no idea. This blindness going into this journey has been useful for both me and my husband, we have nothing to compare it to and so we just focus on his story.
If someone had told me that there was anything positive to be taken from brain cancer, before living through the reality of it, I might have looked at them like they were an idiot.
You may be currently frowning at the screen, but hang tight, let me explain.
Self development has been engrained in me since I was very young and having been an actress since I was 11, I have had to learn to bounce back from life’s challenges pretty quickly. I believe this skill has helped me during all of the chaos that cancer brings with it and the reason I am happy regardless.
Lets talk through the positives to come of a cancer diagnosis and if you have just had this news it may not be the time to read this. I’m not sure this would have been something I could read in those initial stages, but when you’re ready come back to it.
- You see the total love that there is in the world. Your eyes are suddenly opened up to how good most people are. Friends, family and total strangers rushed around us from the very beginning and have been by our side since. You will find people who you never imagined would become amazing friends, suddenly do and truthfully you may lose a few you thought were, along the way as well. I have always believed people are inherently good, but you see it so purely when things get rough. There have been people that have sent me letters, emails, tweets, gifts, offered their services, their listening ears, utterly selfless and wonderful people and I will never forget their kindness.
- You get total clarity on what you want and what you don’t want. Big news such as cancer, death, ill health makes you look at what is essential and what is not. What you really want and what you don’t. It heightens everything in your life, so you are forced to look at it. That job you have been complaining about for years, move on from it! That business you have been afraid to start, just do it. It makes you realise all those things you have been worrying about and stewing over, don’t even matter! It makes you wake up. Many never get this wake up call and so coast through their lives, to me that wake up has made me see so clearly what I want and who I am.
Negative people out!
- I learnt to cut the negative people out of my life. Sometimes we put up with people, we allow people in our circle that don’t make us feel good and they just hang around, sapping our energy and bringing us down. When Ross got cancer I knew that we had to be totally focused and that any negativity had to go. Of course there was no big drama, I didn’t do a Facebook post telling the world I was ‘having a Facebook cull’ and ‘you may, or may not survive!’, I just phased people out that would let me down, spent their time moaning in my company and who just didn’t have the same values. You don’t need those people on this journey. GET RID.
- I have more empathy than ever before. When I meet those who have cancer, or care for someone with cancer I know that if I can help I will. Cancer has given me a deeper understanding of ‘tragedy’, loss, sadness and I feel deeply grateful that I now get to help many of those people in the work that I do. It has made me feel more connected to people and to recognise how similar we really are.
- Cancer has made me take swift action. Less chat about doing something and more just getting on with it. It makes you realise you may not have time with the person you love, doing the things that you want to and so if theres an opportunity to do something you want to, just get on with it. No wasting time, just appreciating what life has to offer and making steps to create the life you want.
These are just a few ways that cancer has positively impacted our lives, but the huge take away is that we just don’t have the time we think we do. Don’t wait for the time to be right, to take that leap and make things happen in your life.
Of course I am not blind to the tough stuff and some days will be challenging, but I feel truly awakened to life and recognise the true fragility of it.
I look at old people and realise they have probably gone through some tough stuff in their lives and that we all will. We just have to ride the wave.
I know that there will be times during all of this that my heart will ache, that I will find it harder to see the positives and I say none of this with any ounce of flippancy, but I know to thrive during the tough stuff, you have to seek out the good.
Learning to get on top of your mindset is key to everything and the one thing you do control. There is a feeling of unknowing, when cancer happens and knowing I can control my reaction to it all, gives me a sense of calm.
Cancer doesn’t just happen to ‘the good ones’, it’s no ones fault and spending time focusing on wishing it wasn’t happening is time wasted.
Many people live to a ripe old age, but that doesn’t mean they are actually alive. Having spent lots of time on cancer wards, you often find that the people going through it are the most positive people, because they got clear on what is important and they appreciate every moment.
Remember the journey is part of life, not just the destination.
Don’t wait for cancer to wake you up, find a way to do that now.