On my terms.... Why I'm unhappy with Beat Cancer campaign

To the lady in Tesco promoting Channel 4's Beat Cancer

Please think first.

I want to let you know why you got short shrift from me today. I know its your job to thrust a couple of Beat Cancer charity bags unexpectedly under my nose and ask me if I'd like to fill them. But did you not see that I've lost my hair? Was the scarf not a give away or the obvious lack of eyebrows (I really need to teach myself how to fake them soon) Did it never dawn on you that I might not appreciate your advances?

Were you surprised at my curt response or did you think I was going to be an easy target. 'She'll take a couple off my hands because she knows how it feels'

I'll be honest, I was surprised at my reaction. I felt sick, then angry with myself, which turned to tears. I was happily shopping and planning dinner, being normal, doing normal non cancer things and then you stepped in front of me and interrupted the day.

I don't want to be reminded and your action, your table at the end of an aisle caught me by surprise. I could have stepped round it, avoided reading the blurb, but you didn't let me.

At a very deep level I don't like to even think about it. I've noticed I avoid using the word and refuse to see myself as a sufferer. I talk about it but on my terms. I had a tumour, it was cancer. It may come back, shit happens

Ideally I want to go back to my old life and forget it ever happened. But that's not sensible or even possible. Taking part in the drugs trial doesn't allow me to forget for one thing. Managing side effects and keeping appointments and tests for example, having no hair helps remind me too! And after something like this you never get things back the way they were. But I'm working hard to get myself a new normal.

So although I want to forget, I can't. But I AM doing my bit to stick two fingers up to it, saying fuck off to it all, but ON MY TERMS not yours.

So I will choose when and what I'll do to play my part to beat cancer. If I want to support a charity or watch a TV programme I will.

And I'd thank you, Dear Promo Lady, to be more aware of who you approach in future. You have no idea what's going on in people's lives, so please think twice about your actions.

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