Sometimes things happen in life that you take in your stride.
Sometimes things happen that knock you sideways, but you dust yourself off.
Sometimes, just sometimes, things happen which are out of your control.
Just when you feel that everything is getting back to normal, all of a sudden cancer catches up with you – it taps you on the shoulder, just to check if you had forgotten that it was once there.
It all began one day with a niggling feeling and then slowly I realised that it had been weeks, not days. The pain was still there and the numbness in my foot had not gone away. A few weeks of back pain, ongoing aches, paracetamol, and then.
Then it hit me. A small reminder of something that I once read.
I vaguely remembered Lisa Lynch describing the daily use of paracetamol, and all of a sudden a thought dawned on me please no, it couldn’t be. I desperately searched for the book I had once read called ‘The C Word’ written by Lisa Lynch, looking for an answer that really wasn’t there.
When did she know? When did she realise it had come back?
It played on my mind & it just wouldn’t leave, and in the end I knew that I would have to say it out loud. I knew I would have to explain my fears to my specialist, even though I would look a fool if my fears were misplaced. Once again I reasoned with myself that to look a fool would be the best case scenario, especially when you are staring ‘down the barrel’ at the alternative. Once again I trusted my own instincts because really what else do we have?
What followed were all the normal obligatory tests. The ‘belt & braces’ approach, for which I was most thankful.
What followed emotionally for me, was not so normal. You see, I am unsure as to how to explain my feelings surrounding this except to say that ‘scared’ is not quite enough. Scared implies a little fearful – and yet this feeling was so much stronger. I had never felt anything quite like this, the physical grip of something that you can’t quite shake – almost like being frozen.
I had known deep down that it had been lingering for a while. A bad feeling. It was there but I almost did not want to admit it, to face it, to say it out loud, because to say it out loud would have meant that it was real. Secondary cancer cannot be cured.
And so the appointment came and I went along to the hospital at the crack of dawn, driving through the empty streets. I listened to the radio to take my mind off it and I concentrated unnecessarily hard on the road ahead. Once there I was scanned and then I waited. We waited, for what seemed like forever. We waited for the results. Again.
In only a matter of hours the results came through (it seemed like an eternity). They were clear. Thank god. The waves of relief came flooding over me at very random times for the rest of the day and I let the tears fall, I could not stop them. Afterwards I felt foolish and naïve, like a silly girl – and yet it was something that I just could not ignore.
At times cancer can make you feel very small.
And so it seems that the inevitable poor health has begun to take hold, perhaps sooner than I ever imagined. Chemotherapy seems to have made everything that little bit weaker and even small things are now causing unforeseen problems.
Catch 22 for me it seems will now and forever be to get on with life and to live it. To ignore those aches and pains or to voice them, only to be proved wrong. I would happily be proved wrong all day long I have decided.
Once again there were tears and sleepless nights and worrying, whilst everything else around me stayed the same. And yet, I seem to have come out of the other side by some small miracle.
I know in my heart of hearts that it is time to move on and to accept that ‘whatever will be, will be’ I guess. Acceptance is a tricky thing.
Catch 22. To be the fool who mentions something, or to be the one who does not?