When I was disappearing into the bowels of PND, morbid thoughts would cloud my mind. One of those thoughts would be cancer. What if I was dying of cancer? What would I do?
It wouldn’t just be a fleeting thought. It would be in grotesque detail. Everything from making a goodbye video to leaving secret messages for my children. I would watch them at my funeral and try to imagine their pain, inducing a wave of anxiety and nausea. I would have to repeat a mantra, “This is not happening. This is not happening.”
This is happening though. To mothers everywhere. I know one. Her name is Natalie and this is her crushing reality. She has been battling cancer since 2011. She is 35 years old, has three sons and they are all facing a future without her.
It all started with an innocuous mouth ulcer that turned into being a life changer. Natalie has not only had to have facial surgery to remove part of her tongue, but has had a lung removed and a proximal hip and femur replacement. She has learnt this month that cancer now resides in her remaining lung, a kidney and in her leg. This week she will mainly be having chemotherapy.
Natalie wants to raise £20,000 to pay for additional treatments to the ones the NHS can provide to prolong her life. Really though, the amount of money is superfluous. It is what the fundraising has come to represent.
Hope. Hope that people care enough. Hope that money can be turned into time. Hope that she can have one more day.
Natalie is facing what I fear most about terminal cancer; that I won’t be able to do the one thing I was programmed for – to protect my children from pain and suffering. To lose the freedom that health provides. To have to imagine my children’s lives without me in it and planning a future that I cannot be part of.
Most of us will be ignorant to the end. We can continue with our lives not knowing when the moment will be when it’s all over. But for those that know it is around the corner, there is a desperate need to take back control. What any of us wouldn’t give for just one more day with our loved ones.
I urge you to follow Natalie on her Facebook page so you can witness her courage, I plead with you to donate even the smallest amount to her fundraising campaign to raise her spirits and I ask that you send her a message of love from wherever you are in the world because hope doesn’t cost a thing.