The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

Norwich priest Jan tells of battle with cancer 

The Archdeacon of Norwich, the Ven Jan McFarlane has spoken of her ongoing battle with breast cancer and the strong faith which has helped her to face up to the disease.

Jan, aged 49, has written in the Eastern Daily Press of her months of treatment including surgery, chemotherapy and the radiotherapy still to come.
“I don’t think anyone ever forgets the moment they’re told they have cancer,” wrote Jan. “The moment their world stands still. Shock, denial, anger, fear, bewilderment – all these emotions and more rage around.
“Waiting for the results of the scans were the longest weeks of my life. We all know, deep down, that one day we will die. But to suddenly be faced with one’s mortality changes everything. I have a strong Christian faith which means I’m not frightened of death. I firmly believe that when I die I will go home to be with God forever. But at 49, I am quite adamant that I don’t want to go just yet. I have too much living still to do.
“And so it was with a massive sense of relief that I learned that my cancer was treatable and that I have a 75-80pc of being alive and cancer free in ten years’ time. Surgery followed. And then chemotherapy. For most women, the word chemotherapy summons up just one picture. Hair loss. Losing your hair, your eyebrows, your eyelashes, all those indicators of femininity, on top of major surgery, leaves you wondering just exactly who you are.
“I knew instinctively that I couldn’t face wearing a wig and decided to sport the bald chemo chic look. In part it was a desire not to hide away from cancer.
“If one in three of us will have to embrace cancer at some point in our lives, let’s be more open about it, and not hide it away. The more open we can be, the less frightening cancer becomes.
“There is no doubt about it that being diagnosed with cancer changes your life. But embraced positively it can lead to a reordering of priorities, a new appreciation of the everyday pleasures in life, and an opportunity to reflect on how you want to spend the time that’s left to you. And of course new advances in treatment are being made day by day.
“I cannot praise enough my surgeon, oncologist and all the nursing staff and radiographers at our magnificent Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Together with the unstinting support of my husband, family, friends, colleagues and the family of the church, they have made the unbearable bearable,” wrote Jan.
“And I thank God for them every day.”
Read the full article at EDP24

Picture courtesy of EDP24


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