27 May 2007


I'm not brave

People hear that I have cancer and I've had chemo and radiation and am going to have surgery. They read this blog, where I talk about it all, which is something a lot of other cancer patients wouldn't do. They say, "You're so brave."

That's bullshit. I'm not brave. I have a disease, and with my doctors and my family, I'm fighting it. I hope to rid my body of it. I blog about it because I compulsively blog about everything. But the treatment is painful and exhausting, it is stressful, it makes me afraid. At the worst of it, I have retreated into a cranky, withdrawn, barely-there husk of myself, essentially forgetting everything from Mother's Day to the laundry piling up. The way I approach each day comes not from bravery, but from necessity, and sometimes desperation.

The real brave ones—the people in my life who have gone above and beyond the call of duty—are my family, including my daughters, and especially my wife. While I can occasionally manage to take the kids to school or help put them to bed, and maybe empty the dishwasher now and then, she has had to take over pretty much everything in our household.

She's shuttled me to the Cancer Agency almost every day. She puts up with me when I'm lying in bed moaning, or trapped in the bathroom for an hour, or when I can't even muster the motivation to give her a hug, or when I use up all the hot water trying to soothe my abdomen. She keeps the girls fed and clothed and clean and happy. She takes time for herself and talks to her friends and continues with her podcast.

You want brave? She's brave, and I love her.

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Hooray for Air! :-)
Brave might not be the best word than. Admirable - to you and those around you.
Derek I have been following your journey since it all started and yes your wife is brave but so are you. Also, along with your Aunt (my closest friend) your Dad and myself we are all survivors and you will be too. Cancer brings you to your knees, it's a very humbling disease but more than that it's your journey and no one else can walk it. You are blessed to have a wonderful wife and children ....Mom and Dad too. Cancer as you know doesn't just affect the recepient of the disease but it dominos to all of your family. You have been amazing through all this because you are the one having the treatment and that's tough. So, whether you want to acknowledge bravery on your behalf or not ...you are and you have a wonderful brave support system in place as well. As a mother myself I can't even imagine what you parents are going through ....and they are going through it. You will be fine ...I'm sure you know that too as you are getting the very best of care. I will keep my positive thoughts up for your complete recovery. Take care of yourself and don't be hard on yourself for being grumpy, it's expected, you have the right. Barbra
Bravery is: test-driving a size 2 "diva cup" for the first time at a grade one field trip on the heaviest day of your period. So ya, I guess I am brave.
Bravery has many faces! What a dumb sentence, but true nonetheless. You let people in on your suffering, that's brave.
And Airdrie is amazing, diva cup or not.
Mate, I know what you mean .. and so does Alan Bennet - he says exactly the same in his account of surviving bowel cancer - have you read it ?