Being Dealt A Bad Hand 

My stage 4 cancer diagnosis means that I miss out on so much, having serious health problems means there are many things I will not be able to do in my lifetime, which I find really upsetting. I have been dealt a bad hand in this life and at the moment I’m not coping very well. I’ve had sleepless nights over the past couple of weeks just wishing things could change.

People talk about elite members of society being the privileged few, but It feels like a terminal illness makes me part of the unprevileged few, not able to have opportunities like others can. All I want is a future. Why do bad things happen to good people so much? So many unasnwered questions!

I am so grateful for everything I do have, and that at the moment my treatment appears to be working, but I do get upset over the loss of opportunity that plagues me every day. So often people talk about life goals or future plans, but it’s sad for me, as I know cannot make those plans, as I won’t be able to achieve many of the things I wish for. It isn’t fair, It really isn’t. I don’t want people to think all I do is compain, but It’s hard not to be sad when I feel as though I’m staring down the barell of a loaded gun 24/7. I feel as though Ive been forced into playing a game of Russian Roulette. It takes all my energy to get out of bed in the morning and sometimes distracting myself from the horrendous situation by cooking and baking just isn’t enough.

I lack control over so much of my life, it’s frustrating that other opportunities and options do not come more easily. As a disabled person it’s great to get subsidised travel and free NHS prescription, but it’s a high price to pay. The opportunities to work full time, pay off my student loan etc are non existent which is hard when all I want in life is some stability amongst all the uncertainty. Just a small amount of control. Seemingly small things such as not being able to get a life insurance policy makes me feel like someone is telling me my life is worthless.

Each hospital trip fills me with dread and anxiety, I keep thinking that out of nowhere I could easily be signed off sick from work for weeks. The negative thoughts and worries constantly fill my head with the ‘What If’ secanrios. The sad thing is they aren’t irrational thoughts. I didn’t do anything to deserve this awful disease, but yet it found me regardless.

Society tells us we should have achieved a whole host of things in life by a particular age; from going travelling, establishing a career, perhaps getting promoted, finding a soul mate, getting a house together,  getting married, and then start thinking about a family. Although nothing in life is a guarantee for anyone, I feel I am not able to achieve these goals, and it makes me feel like an unworthy outcast. I know others might think differently, but I do see my health issues as a huge barrier. I’m so happy for others, but its still really unfair. I wish some of these things would be made easier for disabled people rather than harder. I wish more than anything I was able to do something to change it, If only it was simple. I want to run away from life’s problems and stick two fingers up to society. Sometimes society makes me feel like I’ve failed. Big time.

It’s amazing to see new lives entering into the world, and I admire my friends for their amazing parenting skills, however, for me it’s tinged with sadness as I know I won’t be able to have children myself. I just wish I had the choice rather than feeling like I have been robbed of the opportunity.  Similarly with feeling settled in a house, another constant reminder of all the options that are off the table for me. Travelling back and forward for treatment and not being able to put my mark on somewhere or save to put roots down is frustrating. I want my independence away from treatment, but it’s becoming more apparent I can’t have both, I’d just like to feel as though I have a future ahead of me like my peers and more choices.

The phrase health is wealth feels very apt, having a disability makes me feel like options are servelry lacking for me. I’m plagued by fatigue more and more every day and it makes doing things really difficult, much more so lately. I feel worse than I did when I started pembrolizumab a year and a half ago. I can feel so alone even in a room full of people who I know are my family and friends and care about me.

Of course, nobody knows what lies ahead, and naturally no one can have everything, but the grass certainly looks greener without stage 4 cancer. I’d like to be in anyone else’s shoes but mine just for a day, so I didn’t feel like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. If there is someone upstairs looking down on us they clearly don’t like me very much. Sometimes at night I think about everything and get so worked up I can’t breathe and feel so overwhelmed with sadness it’s too much to bear.

I think mentally I’d be able to sustain this treatment and find some form of contentment if I knew cancer wasn’t going to kill me in the end. It’s so exhausting fighting a battle I know I am going to loose. I’m full on stress and anxiety with my next set of PET CT scan results just over a week away.

I want to be able to wave a magic wand and take the pain away. I wish I could win the Euro millions, and use it to do good and find a cure for cancer but until then I just have to keep going.

Why do bad things always happen to good people? I wish I was the quiz master with all the answers. I just want someone to hug me and tell me it’ll all be ok and teach me how to play my cards right with this terrible hand I’ve been dealt.

31 thoughts on “Being Dealt A Bad Hand 

  1. Hi Jo,
    We can never truly appreciate what you go through everyday both the physical and mental battle you continuously face.
    What we can appreciate is your bravery, strength and ability to express how you feel.
    Feeling rubbish, angry & upset, shows that you are human and are a fighter.

    You are an inspiration to so many.
    Keep being you.

    Big virtual hug



  2. It’s as though i wrote this myself. You are not alone and i guess i am not either. I feel the same anger everyday. Having a 20 percent chance of five more years makes me feel like the loser in life. And if one more family member says, You’re going to beat this, i swear i will explode. There ia no beating it, no turning back, no starting over, no way out, and i just want to SCREAM!!! Thank you for posting this. In all the downward spiral of hope it actually made me feel included in something again. Thanks girl.


    • Thank you so much for reading my blog Amy, and for reaching out to me!

      I hope you are ok, but good to know I am not alone. It’s hard when I know I will have to live like this for the rest of my life. You never know though, things could change and that is what keeps me going.

      Sending good vibes!


  3. Hi Jo, I’m one of the other people in Sue’s film with you and the oldest at 70. I so feel for you, having a terminal diagnosis at such a young age compared to an old bugger like me! All I can say is live every day to the full, be yourself as I know you are, and let people around you give you all the love and support they can. Easy to say, but try not to regret what you can’t change and say it as you see it and feel it. Sending hugs. Kevin


    • Hi Kevin,

      lovely to hear from you. Thank you so much for reading my blog, I do hope all is going well for you. It’s been over a year now since I filmed my part in A Time To Live. How time flies!

      Thank you for sending my a warm positive message, it really helps. You are right of course, I have lots of friends and family around me, so trying to stay positive.

      Thank you, Jolene


  4. I wish I had that magic wand for you 😞. You have been dealt an awful hand and whilst I can’t possibly grasp what this is like for you, I understand the feeling of wanting some control. I understand that feeling of hopelessness when nothing you did has caused this to happen and there isn’t anything you can do to change it. It makes me think of my friend who died just last week in a motorbike accident, 6 days before the birth of his first child. A tragic loss of life that has sent me round in circles of despair, denial and anger. It sounds like you might be circling a few of those too right now. But, there are days when you hit acceptance, not in a depressing way. I mean where I have felt the optimism in your writing and you have been able to enjoy your day and find something that makes you happy. I truly hope the next joyful day finds you soon, because amongst all the chaos and distress this hand brings you, you deserve joy amongst it.



    • Hi Lauren!

      Thanks for reading my love. What a tragic story, I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. I have had a few wobbly days but hoping I am on the up now, it’s just accepting life is a real struggle sometimes.

      Thanks my love xx


  5. My sister is also stage IV and she is fighting hard. She’s 47 and has three kids. The treatment is really difficult but….its working! Sending you love from Argentina


  6. Hello lovely
    I’m a fellow stage 4er. I had kidney cancer 4 years ago and they uttered those immortal words “you’re cured”
    Roll forward to January my ct scan reveals that I have multiple tumours in both kidneys my pancreas and my liver. I’m now instantly stage 4 incurable.
    So I get what you’re feeling and just wanted to send you a hug from my hospital bed xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Sheila. I appreciate you reaching out. I hope all is going ok for you, and that your me comfortable.

      In some ways it’s comforting to know I am not alone.

      Take care, Jo x


  7. Hi Jo! Wow! Putting all those thoughts and feelings down on paper really hits you hard. When I first got told I had melanoma I was devastated and in denial and when my family and friends talked of plans to do things in the future I told my husband I can’t think past this date or that date until I know what my prognosis looks like. I felt very alone and in my own world thinking sad thoughts and consuming thoughts. That isn’t me usually. Anyway, I had surgery early October and still healing but doc says they got it all. Now of course I feel a great sense of relief but I will always have a cautious heart about it appearing in another area, etc so I can never really let my guard down. I pray a miracle happens for you because you appreciate life more than life itself. I send you the longest hug I could give and a heart full of love and healing thoughts. Hope you can smile today as you go out in Nature and view the landscape around you. Peace and love, Karen Edgar. ✌🏼❤️🙏🏼

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Karen. I can relate to what you are saying so much. I hope things stay positive for you. I have my good days and bad days as everyone does. It’s good to know I am not alone. Thank you for reading! Sending god vibes your way


  8. Hello Jo, you sound so overwhelmed by it all & understandably so! You are brave for writing your blog, though I suppose you’re fed up of hearing that🙃 You are a young woman who has to deal with all this somehow. I hope you can find some professional support to help you process all these feelings. It’s a privilege to read your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m stage 4. My treatment doesn’t seem to be working now. My 4th type of treatment since march last year. Running out of options now… I can now slowly relate to you. Thank you for this post. I’ll hang around. Love xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I smiled a little at when you said society makes you feel like you’ve failed. In no way do I want to discount the pain of dealing with a terminal illness or the inherent unfairness of it, so I hope you will appreciate my intent when I say, society makes us all feel that way. Most of us, however, can cling to the hope, no matter how foolish, that things will change and we will meet society’s goals for us, and I realize your options are different. Thank you as always for your honesty and the insight you offer, and forgive me any insensitivities.

    Liked by 1 person

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