I'm just beginning to realise that a cancer diagnosis changes everything. Mostly, this sucks.
For example, my brother in law is emigrating from London to the US with his pregnant wife and my two little nieces. The new baby's due in October but, with chemo looming, we can't realistically plan to visit until the new year. Only it turns out that I won't be covered on travel insurance for 12 months after the end of my treatments because I now have a 'pre-existing condition'. Thanks Cancer, now I won't be able to meet my newest niece until she is a busy toddler.
A cancer diagnosis doesn't just corrode and destroy, however. It can also bind and strengthen. Old friends have been corresponding again for the first time in ages, new friendships have become closer, people have shown unexpected kindnesses. When I got back from hospital, a friend of a friend arrived at the door. She's a lovely lady, but not someone I've ever had the chance to get to know very well. And yet she had still taken the time between summer trips to deliver a meal to our door. Another friend delivered food to the hospital, the house is abloom with flowers and the post has brought cards, a beautiful stone decorated with the word Courage and a four-leafed clover.
Then this morning, exactly one week after the mastectomy, my son came and sat on my left side and snuggled in. With just the slightest wince, I managed to put my arm round him for a cuddle and I don't think he even noticed the new lack of cushioning. Ha! Cancer might be seeping into every corner of my life but some things survive unchanged.
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