I had to stifle a sob watching Satnam Rana bare her soul on BBC Midlands Today. Having recently been diagnosed with breast cancer the BBC news presenter took the incredibly brave decision to film a breast cancer diary, in an attempt to raise awareness.
In her video we see the raw emotion, the fear, the middle of the night panic. It bought back painful memories for me. The month following diagnosis was the toughest, waiting for test results, waiting for treatment. 3am is the the lonely hour. I’d often lie awake feeling very alone, not wanting to disturb anyone, not even Ad. Panic attacks were frequent back then, the shakes would take hold and I would have no control over my body. As every part of me shook violently, the panic rose and the what ifs played havoc with my mind. What if it spread? How would the kids and Ad cope with losing me? What would my funeral look like? Yes really. When you’ve planned your own funeral in the dead of the night you know you’ve hit rock bottom. Or a low ledge at least. Because if there’s one thing I’ve come to appreciate it’s that things can always be worse. Someone, somewhere has it harder, tougher and more painful. There’s always further to fall.
Ad usually woke up during one of my panic attacks. I’d try hard to control them but at times it was impossible and the shakes would wake him from his light, disturbed sleep. He would hold me tight. Remind me that my cancer was very treatable, that it wasn’t a death sentence, that he knew I was tough enough to get through it. His words always soothed me eventually. Until the next time.
Why me? Satnam asks the question that’s been rattling around my brain for the last 9 months. I’ve not managed to answer it either. It just is. If not me then who? No one deserves cancer. And I certainly couldn’t pick anyone to take my place. It’s so hard to accept that I will probably never be able to answer the “why me?” question. I’m not good with loose ends.
Well done to Satnam for putting herself out there. After watching the video I checked my breasts. I don’t even need reminding – I’m now an “over checker”. I wonder how many others did the same? And that’s the point. That’s why she’s done this. She will save lives.
If you haven’t watched it yet please do.