A surprise announcement …


My Mum is probably much like any Mum. She’s awesome and bossy and irrational and self-conscious and funny and shy and controlling and loud and wonderful. My Mum and I are very close. She’s the sister I never had, the grandparent I never really knew, the friend that’s always there and the mother I’ve always had. I have a Dad too. He’s quiet and loving and a little self-centred and forgetful, and he went to work whilst my Mum stayed at home; to look after me and to look after the animals. I find it easier to talk to my Mum, probably because I’ve seen a lot more of her. We’re very alike.

And last night my Mum announced that she has breast cancer.

This isn’t an announcement to the people of the world, this is me trying to get my head around it.

A routine mammogram picked up on some lumps that shouldn’t be there and as far as the doctors know, they should be able to remove them and give her a course of radiotherapy, or will remove the breast; it’s up to her.

So it’s lumps, it’s Stage One. It’s still scary though, because it’s called “cancer”.

A friend of mine at university died just before Christmas because of cancer. The Mum of a school friend has cancer and survived. The father of a primary school friend had cancer and died. A friend from school who went to Oxford too still has leukaemia, although she’s mostly better now, three years later.

Cancer is a bitch.

And it’s especially weird thinking that my Mum has cancer. It’s a phrase that keeps rolling round my head “my Mum has cancer” and it’s unbelievable.

So I need to change this train of thought. My Mum has lumps in her breast that shouldn’t be there. She’s 66 and unfortunately it’s a risk of the age. She’s having either the lumps or the offending breast removed on Tuesday. And that’s all that can be said.

It’s a scary, scary thought. But this cancer isn’t ruining anyone’s life just yet. It’s a pain, an inconvenience and right now the operation is a worry. But we shall see how that goes first.

And that’s how I’m dealing with this new challenge. And I think that’s how my Mum is dealing with it too. She’s a pretty awesome person.


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