It's sixteen months since I heard the words, 'They found cancer cells.'
Sixteen months of treatment that turned my life upside down. Of misery and exhaustion and fear...and intense love from my family and wonderful friends and a rediscovery of the sweetness of life.
For a long time after my first ever post, when my terrified fingers typed cancercancercancer, this terrible C word became the focal point of my life. You can see it on my blog where I posted every few days, first of all about my own first faltering steps through treatment, then later about the wider world of new cancer treatments and the psychology of dealing with a cancer diagnosis.
Sixteen months on and the cancer still looms huge in my life. This is no common cold that will pass! I remember every time I run my hands through my hair, when I reach for my bra, when I exercise, when I look on Facebook and see posts from others travelling the same path. But it is no long the hub on which my life turns. I can see that it is weeks since I last posted and that's because I have been busy living: settling my family into our new home, writing stories instead of cancer blogs, creating a new website about me as an author not a cancer blogger, meeting new people who have no idea that cancer ever touched my life and think I just like to wear my hair this weird way...
It's not as if there aren't plenty of things to blog about. It seems that the terrible, wonderful world of cancer is almost always in the news these days and many of these stories are inspiring and full of hope. A new blood test that can detect cancer and pinpoint the affected organ from just a single drop! New technology that can use fat cells to can carry a 'heat activated grenade' to the site of a tumour and explode the cancer cells without killing healthy cells! Glamorous ladies posing topless in the Sun post-mastectomy!
There are stories to chill me too. A good friend has discovered that the breast cancer is back for a third time, this time in her bones. She is facing life with a chronic disease. But she is still facing life.
I am still afraid, fear still lurks in the 4am shadows when I mentally check my body and wonder, wonder, wonder...is there something malevolent brewing somewhere inside me? I know it could still take my life. But I am also realising with a sense of wonder that even if I do have to face the devil called Cancer a second time, it does not have to mean the end...maybe not even the suffering that a cancer diagnosis means in terms of treatment in today's world. The scientists are bounding forward like knights clad in white coats against the dragon called Cancer!
Meanwhile my hair grows. My world, which shrank so small during the cancer months, expands again and flows over the old, pre-cancer boundaries. Dear friends, I neglect my blog. I am rediscovering the glorious, sweet thing that is life.
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