Let’s Begin – Why an Ostrich…

Image courtesy of Susie Marcroft, Mudwood Studio, Kyogle NSW, Australia

It’s always easier to pretend that a cancer diagnosis is a cruel joke; a misnomer that will be corrected; a momentary lapse into a frightening daydream. Safer to assume the stance of an ostrich, head buried in the sand to escape danger…

This idea, credited to Gaius Plinius Secundus(23 – 79AD), a great Roman thinker and perhaps the first budding encyclopediarist (he wrote 37 books cataloguing all known knowledge available to the Romans) is, in fact, a fallacy (www.perseus.tufts.edu). Ostriches lying flat on the ground to hide from predators or beak in sand building a nest appear to be “head-less”. Appearances can be deceptive though.

I’ve never been an ostrich. I ask too many questions for that. Even when I was first diagnosed with cancer and, like others, enjoyed that classic head in the sand moment upon waking from a deep sleep, it never lasted. I had to face my reality and, for me, that involved delving into every nitty gritty aspect of what that meant. Ignorance wouldn’t help me to cope and adjust. I needed knowledge and awareness which I found through books, websites and an endless string of questions. I surrounded myself with information like a solitary island in an uncertain sea. Ideas would wash over me and hook deep into crevices if I let them. I didn’t feel comforted by what I read. In fact I was often terrified by the information that I came across but I was the type of person that needed to know what was ahead. Once I had read enough though, I stopped, put the books and computer away and began to face my nemesis.

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The Language of Cancer


  1. Thank you for sharing and I am so inspired first when I was diagnosed in 2014 and then in 2016 . Strangely I took the diagnosis with positive thoughts and fighting spirit as I could not believe it was happening to me. Radium only in 2014 was easier but chemo now is a different story but I remain positive . Keep writing and inspire me more

    1. My thoughts are with you everyday Pravitha. Know that whilst you are the one who must ultimately face this battle, you are never alone. This will always add to your own strength and resilience. Xx

  2. The hardest thing for me was that the people around me were the ones in denial, I had no choice but to confront and take action – I had three small children at the time . There are still people close to me in life who choose to ignore I ever had the diagnosis or the subsequent treatments.

    1. How awful for you Sharon and yet, at the same time, incredibly brave of you. It never ceases to amaze me the strength that we can harness from within to do what has to be done to survive. xx

  3. Very proud of you Martine for sharing your journey.You will be such an inspiration to a lot of lovely courageous ladies like you?Enjoyed reading the first part -well done!can’t wait to read the next chapter. Lots of love coming your way to continue your wonderful work????

    1. Thanks for the words of encouragement Alix – much appreciated! I hope that what I share will help to support others who travel the same road or those who may be looking for answers to the same sorts of questions I have asked. xx

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