health

"I don’t want to die. I am not ready to die."

Emma is living with Stage 4 Melanoma. She writes honestly about her experience in good weeks and bad. Today, she is sharing something she hasn’t been ready to say before now.

I don’t want to die. I am not ready to die.

I have had a bit of a tough week. I was hesitant about writing this, but when deciding writing about Melanoma, I promised myself that I would be 100% honest.

My cancer journey would be an open book to anyone that wanted to be part of it – the highs, the lows and the in-betweens.

For those of you that follow the Dear Melanoma FacebookPage, you would know that I had my six-weekly scans last week. I was extremely anxious going into this scan because it fell exactly one year after the scans that told me I only had months to live. I was feeling a little bit superstitious.

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Emma Betts on her wedding day.

When it comes to my scans my fears have shifted. I am not in fear that my cancer has started to grow and spread again, because I can physically feel certain tumours and can be relatively confident going into scans. But, instead I fear the word ‘stable’.

The word ‘stable’ in someone’s cancer story should be positive, however with this word my hope begins to disappear.

I am very realistic about my prognosis. The reality is that I have Stage 4 Melanoma. I have terminal cancer. I have never been promised a cure, but instead, time. I know that the only thing I can hope for is time. This isn’t me being negative, it is accepting the facts and doing the best I can with the reality I have.

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I have written about my fear of leaving a widow behind, the dignity I hope to die with, the importance of photos in keeping my memory alive, and the plans I have made for my death.

But, I have never spoken to you about the fact that quite simply, I don’t want to die. I am not ready to die.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t ask ‘why me?’

I would happily give up everything that I hoped for my future just to be able to grow old. I don’t need to have children. I don’t need to have a career. I just need to be alive.

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“I don’t need to have children. I don’t need to have a career. I just need to be alive.”

So, although I have been realistic and know melanoma is going to take my life, probably sooner rather than later, there is a little part of me that has held on to the hope that I fall in the small percentage of people that have gone into remission.

The last three scans I have been told my disease has been stable. I remember the first time I was told this I spoke to my support team at the hospital about my hope that I hadn’t plateaued. Two scans later, it seems that I have plateaued. This may be as far as this treatment can take me. I may be stable for months, or even years, but my hope of it taking me to remission is minuscule.

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I have felt really embarrassed this week about being so down about my scan results. I should be celebrating, but instead I have been the most upset I have been in months. When talking to my oncologist about my results, she reflected on how far we have come in a year.

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“There is a little part of me that has held on to the hope that I fall in the small percentage of people that have gone into remission.”

No one thought that I would still be here. But then the conversation shifted to speaking about what happens when my two years on this trial comes to an end. The ‘if’ word comes into the conversation. ‘If’ I make it another year. And just how amazing it would be if I am still alive.

This conversation brings me back to reality. I am dying. The average results for this drug shows that it only buys its patients 22 months. I probably won’t see another year.

I may be prepared for my death, but I am definitely not ok with dying. I am not ready to die. But, will I ever be ready to die?

This week I hope to pick myself up again and just keep on plodding along.

Tickets are still available for Emma’s fundraiser, Through The Looking Glass, a cocktail party you won’t forget. All funds raised will go to melanoma research. 

This article was originally published here and has been republished with full permission. 

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