Do you remember when you had a baby and everyone wanted to know how much she weighed and whether she had a name yet? Your friends and family wanted photos and updates and you had a constant stream of visitors and flowers until one day people stopped asking and coming around and life went back to normal. It can feel a little deflating when you aren’t so interesting anymore, but life moves so quickly it’s to be expected. It’s the same when you get married, or someone dies, it soon becomes old news and people stop asking. Pretty soon you are left to adjust to your new normal alone.
Having secondary cancer is not that dissimilar. You’re diagnosed and it’s a horrible frightening time. If you’re lucky you will have a lot of people that are concerned for you. People will send their love and want to know how you are. Sometimes it will feel like it’s too much, and you wish you were getting all this attention for something different, but then, when it tails off or stops altogether, it feels like you’ve been forgotten about and that’s not the best feeling either. At some point though there needs to be a time where you adjust to your new normal even though you can’t be cured.
It’s now been 6 months since I was diagnosed all over again, can you believe it? I have tried to lead as normal life as I can. Some people I’ve not seen for the entire 6 months because they’ve not tried, the timings not been great or they expect me to work around them and I can’t do that. The longer time goes on the more I’ve got used to the small circle of friends and family who’ve always been here and the more I feel I don’t want to see anyone else. What does someone like me say to people I’ve not seen for 6 months or a year? It’s so awkward for starters, at least for me. I’m in my bubble and I’m very careful who I let in. People around me know what to say to me, how to deal with me, they’ve had 6 months to learn. The last thing I want is someone I haven’t seen for a long time saying the wrong thing or upsetting me. It’s sad but I’m not sure anybody could possibly understand how regimented and carefully orchestrated my life is now; how much effort it takes everyday to be upbeat and positive. Ultimately I need to feel safe and the more people I see and let in, the less safe I would feel. Sometimes I feel let down and think people should have tried harder, but I don’t have time to waste thinking about that or dwelling on things that aren’t really of any benefit to my health and wellbeing. It is what it is.
Part of me worries when I reach a milestone like 6 months. I worry what I’ve done with my life in that time. (6 months for me is possibly 15-20 years for somebody else). For much of it I’ve felt very ill, but minus all the hospital stays, my operation, chemo and time in bed I realise just how much I’ve managed to fit in!
I went to Edinburgh
I went to the South of France
I visited New York
I’ve been down to our caravan in Rye many many times.
I met and fed an elephant at Woburn Safari park (honestly a dream come true).
We put our house on the market and received an offer, that’s all going through right now. (Stressful).
Last week we went to a spa and hotel in Sussex
Not bad going for someone with cancer in their bones, lungs and liver really. Between all the worrying, scans and needles I’ve been living my life my way, and I’ve mostly been enjoying it.
Isn’t that how it should be? X