Am I an Impostor?

Am I an Impostor?

Am I an Impostor?

Recently I read a great post by my friend Vicki at Honest Mum about ‘the Impostor Syndrome‘. Vicki talked about how women can sometimes feel like they’re a fraud or a fake for no real reason.

Am I an Impostor? Triple Negative Breast Cancer Diagnosis AC Chemotherapy Triple Negative Breast Cancer Treatment

Image Source: Death to the Stock Photo

The post helped me finally put into words how I had been feeling over the past few months because it gave a name to it. I’d been asking myself, am I an Imposter? Am I a fraud?

I got my cancer diagnosis in November 2015 and a whirlwind began.

The life I might never lead flashed before my eyes. My children growing up, growing old with my husband. Happy holidays. Family time.

Instead of that, I was going to die. I was dying.

I didn’t have time for anything. It was too late.

I broke the news to my family, my friends and here. Drama ensued, tears, hugs and well wishes.

We decided we’d all fight it together, it would be a team effort. And I was going to be a Champion.

A few days later I had surgery, a lumpectomy, and the cancer was removed.

It was day surgery, I arrived at 7am and was home for 7pm. There was a lot of waiting around, I was put under and the surgery itself took only a couple of hours.  The cancer was the size of a grape. So they just had to take out the grape, right?

I got up the next day and we drove 5 hours to a family party, against my surgeon’s advice. I was numb and sore from the surgery but it was so important to us to be there.

I was shell-shocked from the previous few days, weary from the anaesthetic and too sore to hold my baby but I put on a ‘happy smile’ because it was so good to be there. I cried in pain on the 5 hour journey back home.

The next week the results came in and scans showed that, as far as could be told, it hadn’t spread.

I had won. I WAS a Champion. I had beaten cancer.

And it was all just a bit easy really.

I was delighted, amazed, elated, happy. And just a little bit guilty.

I felt guilty for making a bit of a fuss about nothing. I’d rocked the world of everyone who loved me only to tell them a few days later that all was ok.  Nothing to see here.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never felt happier in my life but I couldn’t shake the fact that I felt like a fraud.

I almost felt like apologising to everyone and I wished many times that I hadn’t mentioned having cancer in the first place. That I’d kept it to myself. Because I didn’t have cancer any more, did I? I was an impostor. Getting attention and sympathy for something that no longer existed.

The next step was going to be chemo and radiotherapy, just to be sure to obliterate any errant cancery cells that had gone awry.

“I’m starting chemo next week!” I confidently announced to the world, rather like I was embarking on a new diet.

I had read up on how it would be administered, through a port in my chest. I was put under again to have the port installed. I cried beforehand, scared of the surgery. But it was routine day surgery and I was lucky to have the opportunity to have the port. It would bypass and save my veins from the ravaging effects of chemo. I was lucky. I felt guilty again, for making a fuss. Some people didn’t get the choice.

I thought of the people in the world who actually have cancer. Proper cancer. Not the ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ cancer that I had.

Or those who had fought for years to defeat it. Years. True Survivors.

I wasn’t a Survivor. I’d had cancer for 5 minutes. Surely you can’t class that as surviving.

No sooner than I’d gotten acquainted with my bit of cancer, out it was plucked and off it went. God knows where.

I was a fraud again. Making a big fuss about nothing. An impostor.

And then came chemo and everything changed.

Despite reading up on the potential side effects, joining online forums and the vast education provided by my Oncology team, nothing could have prepared me for the harrowing toll chemo took on me from the get go.

I’ve kept a record of the side effects that each chemo cycle has given, the sudden and shocking changes to my body and the roller coaster of emotions.

At times I’ve felt like I can’t go on with it, that it isn’t just eradicating cancerous cells in my body but that it’s actually killing me.

I’ve watched myself in three short months go from a vibrant, smiling, healthy woman to grey-skinned, bloated and damaged.

And I don’t really feel like an impostor any more. Because now I feel like I have cancer again. And that I’m dying.

But I also feel like I’m fighting and that I’m doing everything I possibly can to stay alive. To see my children grow up.

To grow old with my husband. To have happy holidays and family time.

Because it isn’t too late and I have everything to fight for. And I will be a Champion.

I’m not a fake, I’m a fighter and my word I’m earning my stripes.

I did have cancer and hopefully I do not any more. But I did and it was real. I have nothing to feel guilty about.

I haven’t caused a fuss about nothing, I’m dealing with a very real and very hard time in my life and I’m choosing to share it with the people I love.

So, am I an impostor?

I am not. But I so desperately wish I was sometimes.

Am I an Impostor? Triple Negative Breast Cancer Diagnosis AC Chemotherapy Triple Negative Breast Cancer Treatment

Linked to Honest Mum


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  1. Kate Tunstall, Refined Prose
    2nd March 2016 / 5:06 pm

    Oh Mim, this is beautifully written, and my heart goes out to you. You’re such a brave lady, for not only enduring this, but also for sharing your experience. And an inspiration for doing all that and having such an awesome attitude. Sending you hugs and all the well wishes in the world xxx

    • 3rd March 2016 / 3:32 pm

      Thank you so so much lovely, that means such a lot! x x

  2. 2nd March 2016 / 5:35 pm

    Ah, Mim. That made me cry.
    You’re not an imposter, no. Cancer is cancer, and you’ve got to battle through it just like everyone else who’s had it has.
    I know you feel so very poorly because of the Chemo but you still look radiant in your photos and your mindset is brilliant. Mindset is half the battle and that bit you’re winning. You will beat this. You will have a future with your family.
    I think you’re amazing and I will be here reading your blog, wishing you well.x
    Gemma @ Life is Knutts.xx

    • 3rd March 2016 / 3:31 pm

      Oh Gemma thank you so so much – that means to much to me, what a lovely lovely thing to say! x

  3. 2nd March 2016 / 5:44 pm

    No way are you an impostor, Mim. You are truly brave. No one knows what this experience is like until you go through it yourself. You deserve to cause a fuss. Cry, scream, do anything to get through this, because it’s hideous and unfair. But you and I are already champions.

    • 3rd March 2016 / 3:24 pm

      Thank you thank you lovely Ness and we ARE champions, I know you understand x x

  4. 2nd March 2016 / 9:54 pm

    Wow. What a post.
    I think it’s natural to feel a bit guilty, as if you’ve wasted people’s time – but as someone on the outside looking in, who’s followed your story through your blog and the WhatsApp group, I would say it never seemed like you were an impostor or any less deserving of our positive thoughts and support than anyone else.
    Cancer is cancer, no matter what type you have or how easily they remove it. Just that word is terrifying enough. I hope the chemo is over with soon and you can be back to your old self. Remember, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – you’re going to come out of this as Super Mim!

    • 3rd March 2016 / 3:20 pm

      Thank you so so much Vicky that really means such a lot x x I can’t wait to be Super Mim! x x

  5. internationalelfservice
    2nd March 2016 / 10:25 pm

    Another brilliant and beautifully written post. I’ve read your story and dipping into this journey myself, I know exactly what you mean. A stress is a stress and it’s no-one else’s position to call any judgement on whether it’s justifiable or not. I will judge now though – you are absolutely not an imposter and i’ve been nothing less than impressed with how you’re travelling your path with dignity, grace and strength. Emily x

    • 3rd March 2016 / 3:19 pm

      Thank you so so much Emily and I’ve been reading about your experience with breast cancer too. We’re fighters, we’re survivors in our own right x x

  6. 3rd March 2016 / 2:11 am

    Eee! Well that is a post and a half! You are not an imposter, you had cancer and now you are putting yourself through hell to make sure it’s gone for good. It’s such a strange thing to live through. I was once told that these things won’t hit us until it’s over and we look back and this f*ck what just happened to my life!
    You are strong and doing a fantastic job! Wishing you all the best xx

    • 3rd March 2016 / 3:18 pm

      Thank you Bec and I think you’re absolutely right – it’s all happened so quickly that I can imagine it won’t really hit me for some time x

  7. 3rd March 2016 / 8:37 am

    Your raw honesty and beautiful narrative continues to help people you don’t even know. I think it is so selfless and inspiring that you are sharing a very intimate life chapter with the world. I always like reading your articles. I think our beauty comes in our darkest times. You are shining Mim.

    • 3rd March 2016 / 3:17 pm

      Oh Natasha thank you so much, what a lovely thing to say – I do sometimes worry about over-sharing so you’ve really put my mind at ease x

  8. 3rd March 2016 / 7:31 pm


  9. 3rd March 2016 / 8:38 pm

    Oh darling, crying reading this, for what you’ve been through, as Emily wrote in her guest post for me ‘stress is stress’, never feel your fears, diagnosis and illness were not valid because you haven’t suffered for a certain time. You are beating this awful disease and you are amazing. Thank you for mentioning my piece too, sending you love and strength xx

    • 5th March 2016 / 1:25 pm

      Thank you so much Vicki! x x

  10. 3rd March 2016 / 8:39 pm

    Such a powerful piece of writing – I have teary eyes right now and that doesn’t happen often…I can’t imagine what you’ve had to go through and it sounds as though you’ve faced it with such courage. You are most definitely not an imposter and should feel so proud of how you dealt with your diagnosis. Fingers crossed for you for the rest of your treatment, I really hope you start to feel well again soon. I’m stumbling this so that others can take some comfort from your words – I’m sure many in the same situation will relate. Sending hugs xxx #brillblogposts

    • 5th March 2016 / 3:22 pm

      Thank you so much for saying that – it really means a lot to me x x

  11. 3rd March 2016 / 9:37 pm

    What a touching post, At privilege to read. Your defiantly not an impostor, but a very brave and strong lady.

    • 5th March 2016 / 3:23 pm

      Thank you so much Shahnaz x

  12. 3rd March 2016 / 10:25 pm

    Oh my goodness, you are not an imposter at all. You are a hero and a survivor. Cancer is scary and this beautifully written post will i am sure help anyone else going through illness. For that alone, not to mention what it must be like to go through chemo, you are an amazing woman to write about your experience and how you feel. I have just visited from Honest Mum’s #brilliantblogposts and will definitely be checking in on your blog regularly now as you are a lovely writer. xx

    • 5th March 2016 / 3:23 pm

      Oh thank you Amanda x x

  13. 4th March 2016 / 8:19 am

    Another beautiful and honest post Mim! You are not an imposter, far from it. Cancer is cancer and whilst I haven’t suffered with it personally, I know lots of people who have and I can understand how if the cancer itself isn’t gruelling, the chemo must be. You are so brave and strong and I think it really does help others that might be going through something similar. I hope you feel well and strong and again soon Mim. xx #Brillblogposts

    • 5th March 2016 / 3:24 pm

      Thank you so much Cheryl x x

  14. 4th March 2016 / 10:42 pm

    Gosh Mim, this brought tears to my eyes. No, you’re certainly not an imposter, and you WILL be a Champion.
    This post really touched my heart, my father-in-law is battling Lung Cancer at the moment, our family is kind of in limbo as he receives chemo and we watch him suffer. We don’t know what the future holds yet, but we’re all hopeful.
    Sending healing wishes your way hun. xxx

    • 5th March 2016 / 3:25 pm

      Oh thank you and so many well wishes to your father in law and to all of you – it really does affect the whole family, not just the person x x

  15. 8th March 2016 / 7:23 am

    Oh huni! I don’t really know where to start. Firstly your courage in writing this, and writing it so beautifully. You amaze me every day by your strength, truly. You are not and never have been a fake, whether you have cancer for 5 minutes or 5 years it makes no difference you still have cancer. You are not an imposter but like you I wish you were xxxx

    • 8th March 2016 / 2:20 pm

      Thank you so so much lovely Aby x x

  16. 9th March 2016 / 8:13 am

    Hey Mim, I’ve never had of this syndrome either but it makes total sense to me. What strange things our minds do to us! Totally wish you were an imposter lovely xxx

    • 9th March 2016 / 11:22 am

      Thank you lovely lady :) x

  17. 17th March 2016 / 9:04 am

    Definitely a champion! My admiration goes out to you and sending all love on your unenviable journey.
    I feel an amazing kick in the teeth for chemo coming on. Good Luck x

    • 17th March 2016 / 10:14 am

      Thank you so so much Amanda! x

  18. 17th March 2016 / 7:16 pm

    Ah Mim, you are definitely not an imposter and you never were. But you are an incredibly strong woman and what’s more, by sharing your story, you are helping others. You are far from an imposter you are leading the pack, showing the way, and guiding others in the fight against cancer. Stay strong your are an admiration. Pen X

    • 17th March 2016 / 7:53 pm

      Oh thank you so much for saying this, Pen! x

  19. Jeanne Vaccaro
    24th March 2016 / 6:32 am

    Every person’s cancer journey is different, that does not make yours or anyone else’s less traumatic. It does not make you an imposter! Anyone effected by this horrible disease is a champion, not just the patient. I always say that “we” fought cancer because there is no way that I could have done it alone – physically, I was the one who felt the pain, but it was the strength of family and friends that carried me through. It was my because of teenage sons that I pretended to be brave; they are the reason I fought like hell to get to the other side.

    Don’t ever feel like an imposter, there is no easy cancer.

    • 24th March 2016 / 10:32 am

      Oh thank you so much Jeanne and you’re absolutely right about it being a team effort to fight it. I hope all is well with you x

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