On one particular day shortly after my treatment ended, I had a day that I would much rather forget.
It was the first time that I became a little worried about myself.
You see it was a beautiful day outside – really beautiful. It was fresh with a biting chill in the air. It was gloriously sunny and much nicer than some of the Summer months had been. I could see all of this and yet I did not breathe it in, I did not appreciate the sunshine, I did not even smile at my own children. What a thing for a mother to say.
On that day it wouldn’t really have made a difference what the weather was like outside because I did not care. Everything I did was automated.
I did get up, and I did manage the school run, but I was tired and pretty low. Those are the kind of days where you jump back into your pyjamas and lay down with a cup of tea.
Yet sometimes a cup of tea is not enough.
Tea is usually my ‘go to’ when times are hard. I say this not because it has any particular healing properties, but just because I find it comforting and warm. Yet on that morning I couldn’t really taste my cup of tea, it seemed bland and tasteless and I realised that it had been this way for sometime.
I vaguely remembered watching the drama ‘The C Word’ and Lisa Lynch wishing that she could get over the ‘grieving’ part of breast cancer, so that she could just get on and enjoy all of the nice things, in the precious time that she had left.
All of a sudden I understood what she meant by this, and it was being hammered home to me as real life took hold. The guilt associated with not truly appreciating each and every single moment, when you have been gifted a second chance in life, is at times overwhelming.
I knew that it would all pass eventually, that it was all part of the process – but nevertheless it was bloody hard to go through. It was so hard and so lonely, and I was exhausted with it all.
On that particular day I was just angry – and bitter – and sad. I was tired, but the worst bit was the numbness. I’d had enough. I had well and truly had enough of ‘the bullshit’. And that is the truth. As I always promised I would tell it. I almost feel like apologising for explaining it this way, but that is the way it was on that particular day.
On that day I was not positive or ‘fighting’ but struggling, and getting by the only way I knew how. I put on my favourite old movie, I cried and I slept a little – I believe they call it ‘convalescing’. Apparently our society has lost the art of convalescing, and I can wholly understand why. Our generation are not ones to just stop or lay down in order to get better, yet this is where I found myself, and there was no way out – so I begrudgingly accepted it.
After what seemed like a few hours (it must have been six) I got up and I got ready, eventually. I got dressed, I did that school run and when I met my children I hugged them tightly not wanting to let them go. Once again they had given me a reason to keep going.
It is so hard to explain, but after a life changing illness the way you feel and the way you see things alters and shifts.
It is almost like looking through a child’s periscope as the colours change and move around.
Perhaps it is a good thing after all, as the things that I once took for granted have become all too important. Yet on the other hand there is a miss, a huge miss for things that used to be. The way I used to be.
I knew that I would get past the dark days, because I had so much to be thankful for and to be grateful for. I knew that at the end of it all I had my beautiful children, my husband and my family around me – but some things you just need to get through on your own.
On that particular day I realised that perhaps tea was not enough, and I even wondered what to do*.
I did know in my heart of hearts, (remembering the advice once given to me by a trusted friend) that I needed to just keep going.
The path to recovery is a difficult one and I am trying my very best to look forward, but it is much easier said than done.
*Visit The Haven for a cup of tea