CANCER? KISS OF DEATH? in Eastenders
Once more we are offered Cancer as the inevitable – and dead handy – way to get shot of a tiresome character ( in this case so that a gifted actor can get back to something more interesting perhaps). To induce a few tears and demonstrate the inevitability of death. The character is old, but no older than I am. He is annoying and cranky, me too, and I do hope this won’t warrant a death sentence. I do realise that there is a bigger picture here in East Enders & that we punters get peeved watching a dreary old person doing his stuff – even his love life is truncated before it has had a chance to develop into the
usual screaming hysteria of the Eastenders normality. And yes I do understand that the soap opera is not reality but thousands watch it and are influenced by what is shown a ‘normal’. In fact Timothy West has convinced me of his character brilliantly.
I have no argument with this story line but I do take offence at the fact that ‘cancer’ has once more been dragged out as the all-time killer. Say it soft, whisper it and ones mind goes in an instant to the undertaker or at the very least to a lingering hospital stay while the subject breaths his last. And it doesn’t have to be like that. It doesn’t even have to be a harrowing business of horrid chemotherapy or radiation as in the case of the Fowler woman – whose name escapes me. Even that young and terrible show Hollyoaks has its cancer story – laced with passion and frustrated love of course, in this case a transplant from the man of her dreams and a bit sudden too but maintaining the cancer myth…
I know that these are the popular views of how cancer is and like most stereotypes they have truth in them but these are only useful storylines and sadly these are the ones that the majority of people believe.
But they are certainly not my own and many other’s experience of cancer.
So I shall once more hack out my own cancer tale: I was diagnosed in late July and informed that without treatment I had seven months to live. I have had no conventional treatment at all and now it is nine months since my death sentence and I am feeling fitter than before I was diagnosed and my tumour has not grown at all. In part no doubt due to the fact that I have quit smoking and drink only at parties now. but mainly I think my change of diet and attitude have helped. I am more mellow, I treat myself better and my anger quotient has gone down – & though this election is a wonderful fury opportunity I have often resisted and, for the most part, used Facebook to exercise my splenetic rants. Far healthier.
What worries me is the fact that while this soapy attitude to cancer is preached as truth and believed there will be no incentive for anybody to believe otherwise. We will continue to give ourselves over to the medical profession, who are taught that they must DO something and though, for the most part, honest well meaning and caring but, through training, impelled to dish out debilitating drugs to kill off the cancer cells – and all the other cells too. And it often works but is NOT the only way; big pharmaceutical companies have a vested interest in producing more and more drugs for the ‘treatment’ of cancer but there are other ways and in my case bloody mindedness has been my main weapon along with NOT fighting my tumour, perhaps I am a natural appeaser we can live together, it is just another part of me.
Cancer is not necessarily a death sentence though it can certainly be life changing and not always for the worse. Think about it!
Even that young and terrible show