‘Like Belle Gibson, I faked having cancer.’

I schemed, I orchestrated well-thought-through plans and explanations, I researched, I wrote notes in a book that I carried with me everywhere – notes that could help me remember what I had told people, what answers I could give to their probable questions.

“What treatment are they giving you?”

“What are the side effects?”

“What is the prognosis?”

Questions about my treatment, about the cancer I had, its stage, its type, how they discovered it, how I was feeling – there were so many questions I had assumed they would ask, and being an organised person, I set out to find the answers so my lie would be believed.

Soon my entire family knew, my friends were told and that craving for compassion and love that I had yearned for was now being thrown at me from every direction.

At first, it felt how I had hoped it would. I felt like I was the centre of attention of my family for the first time in years. It was me that they spoke about, who they asked after, who they called every day, who they did things for, who they sent well wishes to. I felt completely loved.

But the reality of my situation soon sunk in. Not only had I made up the most incomprehensible lie and told it to the people I loved, I also knew that I couldn’t get out of it. Not without actually telling them the truth.

I knew soon my lie would become obvious. They would observe the lack of side effects of ‘treatment’. My constant rejection of allowing my parents or sister or friends to accompany me to appointments would be questioned.