Year One

I have been working on my practical chemo guide (for the zillionth time) – it should be hitting little blog by Christmas 2016…..

However, this week marks one year on from finding Burt (the not so benign), 11 February 2014 -fact fans. Yes, it did rather over-shadow Valentines Day, not that we’re massive celebrators (of commercial love day, anyway). This has left me puzzling about how to… Celebrate?….. I don’t know, but attention must be paid. It’s too huge not to.

Especially as I was signed off of the Oncology Rotation last Monday. A moment I practically started counting down to, since the day I got the diagnosis. When it actually happened, I freaked out instead, of course I did! I freaked out to such an extent, I was momentarily jealous of the people still going through treatment. I don’t mean to be flippant, it sounds stupid now I write it (of course I don’t want to do Chemo again) but while on treatment, you have a purpose and you’re in this little bubble. It’s a rubbish bubble but it’s got some structure and doctors; plus you’re probably bald and you look sick.

Oh the irony, when I was bald and looked sick, I complained. Now I’m complaining because while I look ‘normal’, I feel anything but. The scars on my brain feel like they are going to take a lot longer than my body to heal. I don’t want to look sick and bald again but I wish there was something, like the green ‘L’ plates that lets people know I still a bit shaky, all things considered.

So, it turns out, I’ve got a bad case of the “Now What’s?”. I’m like Cinderella after the slipper fits, Snow White after that pesky apple got dislodged or Sleeping Beauty after the Kiss. It’s called a Happy Ending, stupid.

I wish it was that simple. Here am I, cancer free, it should be all sunshine and lolly pops, shouldn’t it?

So why do I feel like I’m just back from an Alien abduction? Strip searched, hosed down and pushed back onto the streets clutching my clothes in my arms and blinking at the sun like I’ve not seen it in a year.

A lot of people asked me, as I was finishing treatment, if I was going to shut down little blog, “now that I had nothing more to write about”; which 1) means they don’t know me very well, I can riff about ANYTHING and 2) is indicative of this whole situation, just because treatments stop doesn’t mean the experience does.

My therapist asked me the other day if I felt if I was in distress; I had to unlock my jaw to answer. I’m like a coiled spring, I guess being in fight-mode for a year will do that to a person.

I sound like a whining, complaining dick, don’t I? Do I get points for knowing that I do? I’m cancer free. I know how lucky I am. I count my blessings everyday, I do. I’m aware I should be on top of the freakin’ world and I’m just not. I’m flummoxed.

There’s a billion things running through my head at all times, it’s a jungle in here, I tell you! A jungle will lots of sly, yellow eyes staring out at me through the massive jurassic-equse foliage.

Heck, I’m still waiting for this to make sense of any of this, and when will my earth mother, live and let live credentials finally be realised? Where’s my goddam wisdom?

I want to grab at people and ask; how long will I remain cancer free, how should I feel about the slim-to-none chance of children, what will the genetic testing be like, do you live like you’ve only got 5 more years, if so, how do I do that? how long before my mind and body feel like they did a year ago, HOW LONG WILL I REMAIN CANCER FREE?!? and on and on my mind whirls.

Do you know what the most common answer to all of these questions are? “Give it another year”. I’m serious that’s what I need, time. Apparently. Well, ironically enough, I think everyone who’s had a brush with cancer has an interesting relationship with time….

So, while I’m grappling with the above and trying to remember what it’s like to be a more normal human being, and whether that’s something I have an interest in. I thought I’d list it out.

The 5 Best Things that came out of having Cancer (if you squint a bit and add a hefty dose of positivity):

1) Writing, this Blog which leads on to –

2) Finding my voice, I’m more outspoken now. I just think; what’s the worse that could happen?

3) I am far less aware of how I look these days. Being bald and moon faced, was an important lesson in vanity… This doesn’t mean I’ve lost my love of lipstick….

4) Who my friends are and they are blooming ace.

5) Love, lots more love.