Monday 19 February 2018

Chris Donoghue: I had cancer and could never have done what Majella did

When I heard the idea last week, I felt sick. A cancer patient, going through treatment, having her head shaved on the country's biggest TV entertainment programme. I felt sick because I've had cancer and my reaction to losing my hair during chemotherapy is something that still scares me.

I'm a control freak. I hate not knowing what's next. Being sick with cancer had me looking controlled on the outside but dancing inside. Like many people, I had assumed that having a shaved head would be no big deal – lots of guys shave their heads, though it's a much harder thing for women. Nevertheless, it would grow back within a few months.

There is a lot of truth in those thoughts, but seeing myself with the outward confirmation of sickness floored me much more than the diagnosis from my doctor a few weeks earlier. Strangers in the street, people I loved, friends and colleagues, but most significantly, I myself now knew. It's cancer, I'm sick, they say they caught it early . . . but I might die. It's a deeply personal and emotional moment.

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