This is a more serious (and emotional, sorry about that) post, but one I think needs to be written. So please read it.
A recent tweet by renowned loud-mouth Katie Hopkins got me very riled up. Known for her outrageous views, you know, the one who won’t let her kids play with Tyler or Chantelle, I actually follow her on twitter to see what ridiculous nonsense she comes up with next. But recently, something she said hit a nerve.
Don’t worry, stick with it, this is still a student article because everything I’m about to say all happened when I was a young and frightened college student. And I want other students who have gone through the same thing to know it wasn’t just them.
Katie Hopkins has chosen to talk about a matter very close to my heart, and to the hearts of probably just about every one of you reading this. Now if Hopkins wants to come out and ask why we are so scared of the word cancer, then she wants to re-live what myself and my family went through in 2012.
When I was 17 and in my second year of college, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, an aggressive form that led to the most hellish year and a half of our lives. As a teenager who lived with her Mum and only her Mum, I suffered everything with her. Most people have another parent to help them out, their siblings at home to hold you when you’re scared, or a large family to comfort you when you want to give up. But for me, it was just me and my Mum, the most important person in my life. I cannot put in to words how difficult, terrifying and heart breaking that was.
If you’re a college student now, just think about your workload, your A levels, your desperate attempts to get into a decent uni to try and make your parents proud. Now imagine dealing with that whilst caring for a parent, passing your driving test and only driving so you can take them to the hospital, cooking for them, seriously contemplating not going to uni because they haven’t even finished their treatment yet, looking after them after every operation, every round of chemotherapy and every other drug under the sun has been pumped through their bodies. Fun, right?
And you know what the worst part is. The cancer wasn’t making my Mum ill, the drugs to make her better were. Two operations, 18 weeks of chemotherapy, 4 weeks of radiotherapy and a year of Herceptin and the emotional distress and physical scars to last a lifetime. You never fully recover from cancer. The word itself is loaded with negative connotations, and it honestly makes me nervous when I hear it or read it because I feel like it’s coming back to get us.
I am more than happy to stand up and admit, even after going through it all with my mother and watching her finally get better, that I am scared of the word cancer. Terrified in fact, because it could always come back. There is no cure. Until you’ve found a cure for every cancer, no, every disease out there, we’ll all be scared to some degree.
I am in no way fishing for sympathy. We got through it and my Mum is certainly a tougher person because of it. I just want other students to know that your studies and that bad grade you got in that essay, is not the end of the world (no offence). And if you went through what I went did, well done. Other students, other teenagers need the support that I lacked. The only thing I ever wanted was to deal with the pain and drugs so my mum didn’t have to and I know that upset her more than anything. But I was completely powerless to helping her and I found that more painful than anything I have ever experienced. I know that anyone who has been in this situation will say exactly the same, but they’ve probably never told anyone that, so I’m telling you for them.
So actually Katie Hopkins, thank you, because if you hadn’t angered me so much, I wouldn’t have had the guts to write this.
What I want to know is: how can you NOT be scared?