I cannot “fix” it, but I can make the journey easier

Written by Gill Scott on 18th July, 2022

Gill's sister has incurable secondary breast cancer

When my beautiful “wee” sister Jen was diagnosed with incurable, stage 4 secondary breast cancer in October 2017, just after her 50th birthday, she thought her life was over, and it had a devastating effect on our whole family. We all struggled to process her diagnosis and were desperate to do all that we could to support her.

As her big sister, all I wanted to do was to “fix” the situation, and I had so many questions but although there was some support available, it was actually really difficult at times to access or understand it and Jen was the last person I wanted to “bother”. I spent a lot of time looking at multiple websites, social media, books, podcasts, speaking to people – but all of this took time – time that I wanted to spend with Jen. That’s why Cancer Card is such an incredibly important and brilliant resource for people impacted by cancer, providing a single place for us to go to find a wealth of information and guidance and signposts to all of the amazing support and help that’s out there, when you know where to look for it.

My big learning from our journey with incurable cancer is that actually I cannot “fix” it, but I can make the journey easier for Jen and her family by doing practical, everyday things to help – perhaps these ideas might help others who are supporting loved ones too :

I’ve also learned that I need to look after myself through all of this too – the thought of losing my precious sister, and seeing her go through so much pain, has been incredibly challenging and I’ve been guilty of pushing that to the bottom of my priority list. Talking with trusted family and friends about how I am really feeling, having a good “greet”, shouting at the moon – are all helpful and very necessary. There are some amazing resources and support available for everyone impacted by cancer too and I’ve found those incredibly helpful.

We are approaching 5 years since the phone call that changed our lives, and I continue to be amazed by Jen’s energy, vision and drive. As well as founding Cancer Card, Jen continues to be a vocal campaigner for Secondary Breast Cancer and supports a number of cancer patients on a one to one basis as they navigate their way through their own journey.

No-one knows exactly how long Jen has left, but we do know that in whatever time she has, she will have made an enormous difference to so many, just when they really need it.

I am incredibly proud of her.

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