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Talking About The C Word

Last night I sat down and finally plucked up the courage to watch The C Word on iPlayer. 5 minutes in and I was already in tears. 50 minutes in and I’d cried so much my eyes became bright red and swollen. By the end, well, let’s just say it took me a long time to pull myself back together.

It was a beautiful programme centred around an incredible woman battling a destroying disease, played brilliantly by Sheridan Smith. It portrayed the story of Lisa Lynch, who at 28 found out she had breast cancer. She started blogging at Alright Tit about the “bullshit” as she called it, documenting her journey, her feelings, her struggles and the shit that no one else talks about. Her blog turned into a book and now, in her memory, a BBC programme.

I hadn’t read the blog, until now where I’ve been absorbed by the posts for hours. I hadn’t read the book, although I will be ordering it from Amazon, yet despite all this, I now feel like I know her.

Cancer is a subject that is very close to my heart. I’ve never written about anything like this before as I just don’t have the words. Cancer has taken the life of my grandparents and close family friends over the years. I lost my grandad, my hero, a long time ago but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. That’s his face peeking out of my play tent above. I still get upset about it now. I can still remember the moment my mum told us he had cancer and I can still picture him in his final days fading away in his bed at the hospice.

Cancer is all too common and all too cruel. Any way that awareness can be raised, highlighting the importance of checking yourself for symptoms, is important to me. There’s no miracle cure, no easy way through, so everything needs to be done as early as possible so we can make the most of everything we do and the time we have.

So, next time you’re in the shower or the bath, give your body a check. Get your mates to do the same. Notice something funky, get it checked.

This post feels like a weird one and I’m not sure how to end it. In all honesty, I’m not sure if I’ll even post it. But in honour of my beloved grandad, I’ll wrap it up with one of my favourite lines from one of my favourite Elbow songs that always makes me think of him, “You are the stars I navigate home by”.

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