This is a video of Doreen Bull from Shirehampton, recorded from her hospital bed for her friends at St Mary's Church. Doreen has suggested we include it here to allowher message to reach a wider audience.
Yes, I have cancer. So what? I've said it. It didn't just come because I've admitted it. I'm still me. It's a word... Yes, I have cancer. But what else do I have?
To all my friends at St Mary's. I know that many of you know that I've been ill for some time, and for those that don't already know, in the last few weeks my world has been completely turned upside down: from being someone who doesn't get cancer (that's what other people get), I've advance to someone with one very possible treated one, and then to yet another person with numerous cancers.
Yes, I have cancer. So what? I've said it. I've probably had it for ages. It didn't just come because I've admitted it, and I'm still me. It's a word. People don't balk from usingwords like 'road accident' or 'heart attack'. But the Big C... which we mention in hushed embarrassed tones...
Yes, I have cancer. But what else do I have?
I already knew I had a fantastic family, great friends like all of you. Then I looked through my address book to find the names of people I wished to know about my condition. I thought, Doreen Bull! You have so many people who care about you and who you care about. Aren't they worth fighting for?
Then didn't the Archbishop (sic) of Malmesbury come hot-footing it from the ordination at the Cathedral to visit my humble hospital ward? Maybe she was the parish priest that married me and John. She was followed by a Roman Catholic priest...
And on prayer lists in churches of various denominations around the country is my name. People are prepared to pray for me.
Well, I'm not prepared to let go of all that yet a while. With all of these and their prayers for me, I'm hanging on.
I admit that life will never be the same. Life is going to be different but it can still have quality.
So please join me in fighting this prejudice and face the word cancer. Once you accept it, it isn't frightening any more I promise you.
Just keep with me, sustaining me as you always do with your prayers. Thank you all very much.
About the author
Doreen Bull is a member of St Mary's Church, Shirehampton, Bristol.