How are you going? How's your mum going? How does Ava cope with it all, does she understand what's going on? How does Marianne take it? How's your Nan? How is your auntie taking it? How is Rebecca coping? I don't know if you've noticed the common element here, but when it comes to being asked questions about how people are affected by my cancer, they tend to be directed towards the women in my life, but I believe there is a reason for this and I think it is because it tends to be women, that actually ask the questions about how people around me are being affected by the cancer and this doesn't only apply to cancer, women ask questions about EVERYTHING.
Men are simple creatures really, if a man is on the phone, when he completes his call, you (as a woman and the nosy bitches that we are) will ask how the person on the other end of the phone was? What they're up to? What was he talking about? How their family are? Where have they been lately? How's work going for them? Did they end up going with the floating floor boards or tiles? To which the general response will be, firstly a look of "what the fuck are you talking about woman? It's not the bloody Spanish Inquisition?". Followed by "I don't know and we don't talk about that shit?" - and usually a shrug of the shoulders - What you don't talk about life?
Our response as naturally caring nosy bitches, "what do you mean you don't know? You've just been on the phone to him for 30 minutes and you don't even know if he got over the flu yet or how he's feeling? What do you guys actually talk about? You couldn't have spent the last half an hour talking about last weeks game and how the ref was obviously the other teams supporter, blah blah blah fuckity blah. I told you when you took the call, that your mission was to confirm or deny the rumour that I heard at Pilates this morning from Susie's friend Claire, who knows Mary, who knows Tina, who works at your mates office at reception, who she said she overheard your mate talking to divorce lawyers the other day in his office about divorcing Sarah? (Sarah is the made up wife, of the made up husband, of my made up boyfriend and his made up mate, of this whole made up scenario for dramatic effect, whilst this story may be based on actual events at one point in time, all names have been changed for privacy and legal purposes 😜). As good giving gossipers, we as women always have stories to tell the men in our lives after a convo with our girlfriend (yes, even when we swear on our friendship we won't tell a soul, we always at least tell one, come on, we all do it, you guys just don't admit to it, we can't help it, we are natural "story tellers", not "gossipers", relayers of stories" 😉) and as good "story sharing" bitches, just once we'd like a little bit of return gossip game from the men in our lives, is that too much to ask? I know you've all been there at one point in your lives, looking at your guy, thinking how the fuck do you people actually manage to function in day to day life, if you don't even fucking know if your friend is doing alright?
So this I believe is one of the reasons that the men in my life seemingly go unnoticed when it comes to people asking about how they're affected by my illness, the most obvious reason is they're usual inability to emote, men are meant to be the protectors, the ones who don't cry, the ones who even though they're shit scared of cockroaches, bravely run out in their undies at 11pm at night to eradicate of said cockroach, the one who gets up and goes and checks where that imaginary bump in the night we hear came from, they are our big brave protectors, not mushy, emotional, talk about their feelings wimps.........or do we not give them enough credit? Just because they're not running around practising their crying face in the mirror like we women do, doesn't mean that they don't go into the shower and have a secret man cry.
I for one can only speak about the two closest men in my life and they are my father and my brother, yes I had a bf for 14 years, but now that we are no longer together I don't feel right discussing his emotions without his permission, nor do I really want to (today anyway), to be honest.
My brother Steven, he is what I would call a "thinker", a "fixer", his natural response is to google, investigate, look for answers and that's how he deals (this is purely my opinion, he may think completely different). We've discussed it to a point, the cancer, I mean, there are days that I will just force it down his throat and to his credit, he listens and usually retorts with some sort of uplifting fact or quote, because that's what he does, he "fixes". I can't remember seeing him cry, I'm sure he has, I'm sure he does. You see my brother and I are like any family, we're blood, we don't choose each other, we're genetically placed together and of course we love each other, I for one know I would crawl over broken glass for him, I would die for him, I've always loved him. I was obsessed with him as a kid, I loved holding his hand and I used to sneak into his bed at night as a kid (yeah I know creepy, but we were kids and I was shit scared of the dark and believe me, sleeping with my 4 year old brother was a lot more desirable option to me, than being wedged between Mum and Dad in 30 degree Celsius heat, I'm sorry, but Dad you can sweat! You're a sweat machine!). Our personalities are completely different, there are days we could kill each other and there are days that we are the best people in each other's lives, so I would say, we have a perfectly normal, functioning brother sister relationship.
So if someone was to ask how my brother is? I would say all bravado with a side of shit scared, I know he hates I'm going through this, I know it breaks his heart, he's just unlike women and like most men, he internalises his pain and fear, so for those who want to know, that is my answer, he like the rest of us, is scared, he just may not quite know it yet.
Now when it comes to my Dad, well that breaks my heart! To say he is heartbroken is the biggest understatement of the year, my Dad has continued to work throughout my whole cancer treatment. Work is my dad's way of coping, it's his way of escaping the reality that is our life of cancer.
My poor dad has been treated like a second-class citizen when it comes to my illness over the last four years, not because of myself, my mum, my family or friends, but for another reason that I'd rather not discuss. My dad was basically made to feel like a stranger in his own daughter's life, he was made to feel uncomfortable by my hospital bedside, when he would visit me, it was like he was on the outside looking in and he wasn't allowed in the front door, which for him would have been heartbreaking, as my dad and I always had an incredibly close, loving, honest and caring relationship. When we were kids, Mums work hours were never ending, but Dad had shift work, so more often than not he would be the one who was home first and at the weekends, he was the one that shaved my legs for the first time, while mum was at work, he was the one that told me about periods and pads, while Mum was at work, he was the one I would tell my secrets to, but sadly I allowed outside forces to breakdown our once ironclad relationship, he never once stopped loving me throughout that whole ordeal, but I'm sure there were many a tear cried even pre cancer, because of our broken relationship.
So how is my Dad doing? He is broken, he breaks down at the sight of me in pain, which is often, if he accompanies me to the hospital, he will always cry, he would do anything for me and he does. Our relationship? Well thankfully since moving back home, it is as it was before, a strong, loving relationship, with a mutual respect and admiration for one another that I believe is like no other. Don't get me wrong we still drive each other up the wall with our stubborn, both always have to be right attitude and he still makes a lot of noise, I don't know how one human being can make so much noise, it's like he has bloody bells up his ass and rattlesnakes in his nose, he's constantly rattling, but we love each other and sadly he knows that one day he won't be able to "annoy" me anymore, like he so loves to do.
Just remember Men have feelings too, they're just not bright enough to realise it 😜
Stay fabulous Rockstars ❤️🤘🏼
My name is Lisa Magill and I have been navigating the minefield that is cancer since just months after turning 30, people have been saying to me for years that I should put my thoughts into writing and as time has progressed I thought I had left it too late, well here we are nearly 4 years in and for some unknown reason I've decided to start to write today.