Life seems pretty infinite as you float through your teens and early twenties. It stretches out in front of you like you have all the time in the world to go on that holibob to Santorini, get another Nandos, or scroll that insta feed. Putting off adulting as much as possible. But then something happens and you realise this train could stop at any time (lol, I’m writing this on the train, so you can see where that little gem came from). For me, it was being diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. I don’t like to let this define me too much, and whilst I did write a slightly ranty post about a few things not to say to someone who is touched by cancer, I thought I would string together a few things you definitely SHOULD say to, or do for, your friend with cancer. Especially your 20-something friend who had the whole world ahead of them until just a v short while ago.
- Say nothing
About cancer, that is. The break from talking about anything to do with that horrible beast is incredible. Don’t get me wrong, with my closest friends I will talk about it when I need to, but in my own time and as and when I want to, they don’t need to bring it up or ask me “how are you?” with that god awful intone people use when they’re asking someone with cancer. Yes, I know they probably don’t know they’re doing it, but I hear it. I remember going to the hairdressers for the first time since diagnosis, and I chose not to tell my hairdresser what was happening. I felt more like myself in that hour than I had in a long time.
- Actions speak louder than words
Cancer is no party, I didn’t want it to feel like I was the main attraction at my birthday party, surrounded by gifts and attention. I tell you what though, a few seriously thoughtful parcels gave me such a perk when I needed it most. It was the unexpectedness, the thoughtfulness behind it that made my day. You could have spent 50p on a Chupa Chup and I wouldn’t have cared. A magazine subscription to see me through endless hours in hospital, a Cath Kidston wash bag to pack in my overnight bag, a pamper package to remind me to still indulge in all the things I love. These people were telling me they were there, that they hoped I was ok, without the awkward words.
- All the lols
I quite clearly remember feeling like nothing would ever be funny again once I got diagnosed. I couldn’t ever imagine laughing again. But then someone manages to break that little hurdle down and before you know it your cry laughing at the memory of something stupid that happened at University, or on that camping trip, or just something ridiculous my husband has said to make me lol. Literally to the point where you can’t get your words out and your cheeks start to hurt. It’s not always easy, but laughter really can be the best medicine.
- Same old, same old
All the things you used to love doing with that friend? Guess what? They still love doing them now! Yeah there’s moments when they would rather stick their head in a cup of cold chai tea latte than go out and face the world, and they need days to sit in their PJs and watch This Morning and Loose Women on those days, but then there’s days when a shower, a blow dry and a day out doing all the things they always loved will make them see the world in a different light. It took some real encouragement to get me out sometimes, but I always felt 239423239 times better for doing it.
P.S. Just throwing it out there, who said you can’t wear pink, orange and red all at the same time??
“C’est La Vie” Top – ASOS
Orange tiered skirt – Monki @ ASOS
Cardigan – ASOS (similar here)
Converse – SCHUH
(soz ’bout the constant Converse wearing…if ya know you work at Converse and fancy sponsoring me, I’m open lol)
Handbag – Mulberry
Leather jacket and sunglasses both v v old…