For a long time now I have been thinking about the meaning of friendship. It’s something that we rather take for granted. We assume. My thoughts are not fully processed yet, but I was planning a piece called ‘The Elephant in the Room’. The title was meant to refer to the presence of cancer in my life. How it intrudes and invades and changes relationships. How its very name strikes the loquacious dumb and makes strangers out of friends (and, indeed, friends out of strangers). But I’m not writing about that today. I digress. Today I’m merely mentioning the title.
A few weeks ago I was asked by Breast Cancer Care if I would be willing to be interviewed on Woman’s Hour, on Radio 4. The premise was to discuss how to give a patient bad news. I happily agreed to participate as opportunities for ‘civilians’ to discuss cancer come few and far between. I took this opportunity seriously because it was a chance to speak about the unspeakable on behalf of those of us who rarely get given a chance to voice our opinions. We are patients and we should be heard.
Anyway, joining me was a Professor – jauntily clad in a Burberry mac – who had just published a book called….wait for it….’The Elephant in the Room’. Hmmmmph. And “hey, that’s MY title!” His elephant is different from mine however. His elephant is neatly bound and printed, his elephant is in the Amazon. My elephant is more unruly. It hangs around and interrupts. It is invisible.
Here’s the link, it’s the first item: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b016x22t