When famous people die it can often be sad but you read the articles and empathise perhaps even shed a tear but it’s life eh? Cruel cruel life.
However the story of Lynda Bellingham has really struck a chord with me. Her openness on the disease, her humour and her brutal honesty about dying has made it incredibly hard to read yet unbelievably inspirational.
Her type of cancer is not considered “glamorous” there are no campaigns about your boobs or balls to make it young and trendy, just like lung cancer it doesn’t get press. Female 74.0% for a year and just under half of bowel cancer patients 55.6% will live over five years. I’m hoping that her legacy will try to reduce that rate. Could you tell me any symptoms of bowel cancer? Nope. Me either.
The three main symptoms of bowel cancer are :
- blood in the stools (faeces),
- a change in bowel habit (such as to more frequent, looser stools)
- abdominal pain.
Lung cancer is by far the most common cause of cancer death in the UK. More than one in five (22%) cancer deaths in males and females combined are from lung cancer. Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death (10%) and, despite being extremely rare in men, breast cancer is the third most common cause of cancer deaths overall (7%) ( all statistics taken from www.cancerresearchuk.org )
When the stories first broke I found it hard to hear. Terminal cancer is still incredibly raw and at the forefront of most of my daily thoughts – but how could you not be drawn to this lady laying it bare – she’s got cancer and is going to die. I drew parallels and felt what she was saying is how my wonderful Mother felt yet did not disclose.
Lynda Bellingham helped me understand unspoken conversations. Made me sob my eyes out at thinking how Mom must have felt but these two women – one a national figure and the other the one who brought me into the world – neither moaned. Neither took the ‘woe is me mentality’. Both knew their days were numbered but decided that they would take the control back that this evil disease had dealt them.
I wish Lynda had made her final Christmas, just like I so desperately wanted my Mom to be there for my girls first birthday but sadly cancer stopped both of them from reaching these milestones. I often in my bleaker moments try to put myself in that position – knowing that your days are numbered, your time is limited, celebrating days knowing that you won’t be around for the next one. How can you muster the strength and put on a brave face day in day out? My Mom never cried. She never broke down. She never moaned about the sheer agony that must have taken over her entire body. Alas, at the end she tired of the life that was now hers and her body gave in. But that wasn’t her. Lynda Bellingham gave cancer a voice. A face to answer back what millions are going through. I’m sure she would have been embtassed to be called a hero but that’s what she truly is. To so eloquently talk about dying with such dignity and humour – Lynda Bellingham, I take my hat off to you. May you rest in peace up there with my Mama. Two fabulous courageous ladies taken too soon.
Lets stand up to cancer. It’s taking too many of the good ones.
Text Five to 70404 to donate £5 to Cancer Research. Lets beat cancer sooner.