Something strange happens when you get cancer. People around you – friends, family, colleagues – start to treat you a bit differently. It’s as if you’re suddenly brave, or courageous, or maybe a hero as they see you just getting on with life. I’ve talked about this already a bit, but it’s a subject that keeps cropping up, especially now I’m supposed to be dying soon.
And I have to confess, that in a weird way, you can almost become a little addicted to that praise and that feeling of being admired. It’s not a nice thing to admit to, but I have felt it. Suddenly people think you’re amazing, you get lots of attention. You’re shown genuine concern and (even better!) when people pop round to see you, they bring round lots of treats.
So here I am with people admiring me. But it is a strange place to occupy. I don’t feel I merit it. I genuinely don’t. I am just Louise, trying to live my life in the best way I know how.
If anything the people I want to get the attention are my loved ones. I have always said that I’d much rather all this were happening to me than to someone I love. And I mean it. It’s easy for me to be strong and deal with it all. And in a way it’s not even so hard to die (apart from my grief and jealousy at missing the party). But if this were, god forbid, happening to my parents or Al or one of my friends, I don’t think I’d be as cool, calm and collected. I’d be a gibbering wreck. It’s the people around the cancer patient, who need the attention. They’re the ones who feel so impotent, they’re the ones left to grieve when the worst happens.
So it’s really not all about me. It mustn’t be. Please…