Appearances can be deceiving

If only I had a penny for every time someone tells me how well I look. I would certainly be very wealthy! Before I got sick, I don’t really remember people telling me how well I looked. Maybe I didn’t, by the way!! I now say it frequently, to the people I meet regularly in a hospital environment. I think what I mean is that, you look well, considering the fact that you are ill. I’m not sure if that’s is what people mean with me, or if they really think I look well.

To be fair, I have lost about a stone in weight, and don’t have quite so many chins as I did have. I have now managed to accumulate about 3 sets of clothes with various waist and chest sizes. My weight can vary with my medication as a lot of you out in blog land will know. It is quite strange to view different pictures that I have had taken in recent years, to see what effects the treatment has had on my appearance.The vast doses of chemo, have managed to suppress what was a great head of hair, and my features look well worn towards craggy!

I am no longer frightened to look in a mirror. I have got used to the changes in my appearance. It is no good worrying about what was, I have to live with what is.I had my monthly review at hospital yesterday, and all the doctors and nurses were saying how well I looked. However, in the last few months, it has become very difficult to drag myself out of bed, due to my low haemoglobin blood levels, and even getting through a normal day requires an awful lot of effort.

I have learned that with cancer patients particularly, things can look ok one minute, then there can be a sudden increase/decrease in weight, due to illness or drugs. What you see externally is not necessarily a true reflection of how that person is feeling.

The reason I have chosen this subject for today’s post, is that on one of my many, late night channel hopping sessions, I found the remake of Spartacus, which was apparently filmed in 2009. I enjoy those epics, and I was wondering who the guy was who played the lead role. He was a great physical specimen as you would expect. Something I might have aspired to in my younger days!

Built like a warrior: Andy Whitfield as Spartacus in the television remake of the 1960 film
Ironically, the  next day, his wife was in the paper telling his very sad story. Unfortunately, he had the most common form of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma, (B, Cell). The title of the piece was ‘ How could my big, strong TV star husband, just wither away ?’ The man who played Spartacus was called Andy Whitfield, who died, aged 39. He left a wife and two young children.
Andy had received treatment and had got into remission, however a year later, the disease had returned. He still remained confident, and invited a documentary team to share his journey, and he called it, ‘ Be here now’. He wanted to make the film so that people would be inspired to do everything that they want to do. He felt very strongly that you only get one life and that you should make it count!

Before I wrote this post, I watched the video, which I have attached the link to. It is an extremely emotional piece of footage.I don’t think that you can fail to be moved by Andy’s story. As you regular readers will know, I don’t normally put any links on here, but I felt compelled to put this one on.

My thoughts are with Andy’s wife, Vashti, and her two children, Jesse and Indigo.


  1. Hi Joanna
    I agree entirely! I was so moved when I read this story, then when I watched the video, there were some parts of the story that were similar to some of my own experiences. I have watched this video a few times now, and I consider myself so lucky, to still be able to be here and do my work. BE HERE NOW!!

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