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Disability Narratives

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Video clip: At first Milembe did not want to tell people about her cancer, but as she got better she found it easier to share.

Yeah. I went through the phases. When I was diagnosed, I must say it felt a little bit like a taboo. I didn't want many people to know I was off for what. So for me it was a big deal of who knows, and who doesn't - obviously it's a confidential information, so there's no reason to broadcast it unless, you know, I’d tell people. So when I came back, after I was confident with my being, yeah - I was able to then say. But before I went off for you know, treatment, obviously only the office knew. You know, yeah, my manager really. And yeah. I didn't tell anyone. It was like - for me, it felt like you're going to die, so people are not going to take you serious again. You know, typical - you know - disability discrimination, you are very temporary, you know, no use. I don't - That was my mind. I just thought I didn't want to portray that image, like I'm not a long term person, so people can't make plans taking me into consideration because oh, she might die any time. So [laugh], that was my personal view - I can't say that I was, you know, influenced by the other people, but perhaps that's how I would have - you know - looked at the person who was being treated for cancer, in my eyes. I would like look at them as, oh poor thing, I wonder whether they will be here next year. You know? And then I thought that's how people are going to see me.

As, as I improve, as I was getting better, and - you know - through the treatment, I was then getting confident, like it's not my fault I'm ill, I don't have to hide it to anyone, it's okay. But that confidence, you know, came - you know - after a while. Because you never know how, where you stand with cancer, you could just die either from itself, from the treatment. Because so many side effects. It was, yeah. So you're feeling low enough, without having [laugh] the outside world, you know, you know, oppressing you.