When I was diagnosed a good friend of mine leant me her camcorder and gently encouraged me to film myself throughout my treatment. At first I thought ‘who the hell wants to watch that!’ but I soon picked the camera up and treated it like a diary. Every time I wanted to release an emotion or express a feeling I could just talk to the camera or record a voice memo on my phone. It became so cathartic. Sometimes you don’t want to talk to anyone because that person might not understand or might get too emotional or too sympathetic when all you want to do is scream, swear and cry hysterically in private.
I didn’t look back at any of the footage until a good few months after I’d finished all my treatment. I wasn’t sure what to expect and was quite nervous of it conjuring up bad memories. But in fact there were loads of great memories! Cancer can be very funny. I’m a pretty basic human being and I never tire of toilet humour!
Breast Cancer Awareness Month every October is a wonderful thing. It raises awareness and a heap of money but I couldn’t help noticing pink stuff everywhere. Beautiful celebrities wearing pink lacy underwear, pink merchandise, pink food, pink smiles. Cancer is anything but pink and fluffy. And I wanted my film to show the truth. How one day you can be feeling wonderful and glamorous in your wig and painted eyebrows but the next day you feel like death warmed up and you look like Gollum!
But I also wanted to make this film to show fellow cancer patients out there that you can get through this and you’re not alone. It’s OK to have rubbish days where you can’t get out of bed and hate the world but there are always days when you can put on your sequins and purple wig and live the hell out of life!
How have you shared your survivorship story with others?