Last Updated on May 4, 2023 by ADMIN-TOM
Apart from being one who has never worried too much about everyday life, I’ve certainly never been one to worry about my looks. When you start to lose your hair at eighteen, I went for a live with it attitude to life. If you don’t, you will end up worrying about all the minutiae of life, which certainly isn’t a good way to live your life.
Cancer, my Lymphoplasmacytic Lymphoma, hasn’t changed that attitude. I know I’ve lost weight, a lot of weight, some five stone, which is seventy pounds in American weights, and that’s almost thirty-two kilograms. Whichever way you want to cut it, it’s a lot of weight to lose over a few months. But still, it never bothered me on the looks front. Take me as I come or leave me. The choice is yours.
So, I’m still not a vain person and looks haven’t mattered to me, pre or post cancer. However, yesterday was a little bit of a jolt to the ego. I was talking to a Cypriot and a Pole – not, not the sort of pole that props up a tent, but a Polish person. We got around to the subject of age, brought up by the Cypriot, who asked how old I thought he was. I guessed fifty-five. I was off by three years as he was fifty-eight.
“Go on then,” I ventured, “how old do you think I am?”
“Seventy-two,” was his swift response.
“Seventy-two!” I almost shouted. It was, at that point, I suddenly realised what I must look like to others. The men in my family have always looked younger than they are. My dad was being taken for a seventy-year-old even at eighty years old. So yes, it was a little bit of a shock as I’m only sixty-eight. To be honest, I wasn’t so much shocked at what I look like, but how my lymphoma has obviously affected me, changed me.
My outlook on life hasn’t changed, my appearance to others has. That was underlined by a friend I hadn’t seen in ten years, whose ex-wife said he didn’t recognise me, which, she said, was hardly surprising because my face had changed so much.
Cancer, as we all know, can be a killer. But what many of us sufferers don’t realise is it also attempts to change us, in subtle ways. My advice is live with it. Concentrate on the now and getting better. Looks aren’t everything, but life is.
Copyright © Tom Kane 2023