As many people who have to experience a major drama in their life will probably relate, when it happens it’s like your life is being put on hold. More so when you are dealing with a serious illness that means hospital appointments, surgery, medication and all sort of poking and prodding.
Your life is not your own any more. It belongs to the doctors, nurses and surgeons. And then, if you are lucky, one day it ends. At least the poking and prodding, the regular appointments and the treatments that make you weaker…and you get your life back.
Now, some people who have experienced cancer (or any other illness which makes you think of your own mortality and the fact that well, you won’t live forever) have a complete change. It’s a new lease on life for them and they decide to make some major changes so they can get more out of life than they did and that’s great. I am not one of those people. Of course, I had a moment when I was told I had cancer when I went “Fuck, I am going to die” – everybody does eventually but I was suddenly faced with the possibility that mine would be a lot sooner than I thought and it naturally freaked me out….for about half a day. Lucky for me I was a) reassured by my doctor and b) I am a natural optimist so in my head, I would get over this. It did help that my cancer was small, localised and not aggressive.
Once I realised that I wasn’t going to die from it, well at least not in the immediate future, I could concentrate on dealing with it one step at a time…chemo, operation and then radiotherapy. Now, all of this is done. I am left with having to take a pill a day for the next 5 years and check ups but otherwise, it’s pretty much it. Whoop whoop!
When people ask me about my experience, one question that comes back often is “are you making changes to your life because of it?” and the answer is “not really”. I was one of those lucky people who was quite happy with her life. Although I am single and childless, I don’t regret not starting a family before. I like my job, I have good friends, I had a relatively healthy lifestyle so there was no major changes needed, the only thing that I am really cutting down on is alcohol. Don’t worry, it’s not like I was drinking loads in the first place but in a city like London, with my social life starting again, it’s easy to have a drink every day if you are not careful. So my new rule is no matter how many nights out I have in the week, I only allow myself to drink alcohol on one of them and even then, in moderation. So far so good. I finished radiotherapy last Tuesday and so far I went out 3 times last week and this week is looking pretty much the same…
The other thing that I have decided to do is not to put things off till later. If I want to do or buy something (and it’s financially reasonable) then I go with it…so far I signed up to a creative course and just signed up to do a Big Ben Night Kayak in a couple weeks, through Meetup. Hopefully, it won’t be too strenuous on my arms…
On this note, last thing I have to say today is: