A Bleak Picture?
It doesn’t need repeating again and again. You know. I know. Everyone knows. Cancer is the atomic bomb of health disasters.
What is less commonly known is that when remission arrives and it’s time to cleanse the nuclear fallout, recovery can be frustratingly slow. Your body and mind might not allow you the options and freedoms they once did. Whether due to prolonged fatigue, anxious feelings, or broken organs, you might be faced with a body that feels like it's disabling you.
This might paint a rather depressing picture. Gone are the days of drinking until the dawning sun, and dancing with abandon at gigs. Farewell to the hosting of riotous family parties, and whimsical theatre trips. Adieu competitive exercise, and hiking remote mountains.
It may feel like your health is a barrier to life right now, but with slow, incremental improvements survivors often begin to feel better. Perhaps there’ll be bits of you that will never be what they once were, but there’ll come a time when you look back on all this and appreciate how much better you feel.
A Protected Category
Imagine an ivy-covered English manor, or a battlement-heavy Scottish castle.
These cherished buildings are much like you.
You are now a 'protected category.'
From the moment you were diagnosed, certain protections fell into place. You became 'registered disabled' and under the 2010 Equality Act you will now always be registered disabled.
This might sound dispiriting: you’ll be disabled… forever?
Only in the sense that you’ll be legally protected for life. Out of legislature that demands equal access for the disabled, comes some of the very few 'perks' cancer has to offer. The government wants you to ‘fulfil your potential’; achieve your aspirations! They advise organisations to help you do just that.
This means companies go a long way to ensure their facilities are accessible to all. Not only do they provide adjustments to their services, they offer price reductions, free tickets, sometimes VIP access and upgrades.
Becoming a hermit and house-bound isn’t going to work for anyone. So venture into the world of disabled access and you’ll discover that you can do more, with less stress.
And importantly, it shows that the world really cares. They want you involved.
All these protections also apply to the world of work.
Working With Cancer is an awesome organisation supporting survivors with one-to-one coaching and advice on returning to work. They can also work with employers to ensure the best adjustments are made for your return. Check them out!
I think it's difficult to accept the 'new normal' - how do you accept a new disability? xxx