So by now some of you may have seen the video B posted of me. It was not a good day but I guess that’s the point. They aren’t good days. They’re the best we can make them days. So whilst I’m so grateful for all the beautiful comments about how wonderful I look, how well I look, they worry me. I don’t want to in anyway trivialise the awfulness, the fear, the yuckiness, the desperateness, the late night bathroom floor moments, the self pitying, the pain, the soreness. It’s hard to share those moments, but it’s easy to share the smiles. It’s not always easy to smile mind you and I think you all see it for what it is, but I just need to make sure you do. A choice. A touch of lipstick, a creamy foundation, some mascara on my fast departing lashes, is my armour to fight the day. I share because I want to give strength to those who are struggling, to show how sometimes a smile, tough though it may be to smile, helps lift the spirit and does give you energy to move forward. That chemo whilst it makes you feel shit, is not something to fear. If even just one person who chose not to do chemo because of fear, fear of being bald, fear of the debilitating side effects, fear driven by others fear, fear driven by others self serving ideologies or conspiracy theories or self healing crap and then leaves it too late sees me and feels hopeful, then fuck it’s been worth it. Healthy living, healthy eating, exercising, reducing stress, being mindful, making the right choices, keeping your system alkaline, living a moderate healthy life are all fucking givens for living. I did it all. I lived it. Yet I got cancer. So, what? Am I a bad person? Do I have many lessons to learn? Fuck yes, we all do. But the one I have learnt is do not fear. It’s what kills you.
I have to admit I’m a little bored. I’m supposed to be packing and I’m sitting here researching the side effects of docetaxel and cyclophosphamide. It’s not what I’m reading that’s boring it’s actually quite interesting. Fascinating even. But nauseating. Truly nauseating for those in the know. It’s the fact that I am reading it that bores me. And that all I think and talk about right now is this insiduous, (I like that word C), fucker. I am bored at being here again. I am bored that my family are here again. Seriously if I need to be the poster child (I uses the term lightly) for anything, did it have to be this? And I don’t mean to be ungrateful, I really do get the goodness that can come from crap. And that crap happens. And what sets us apart is how we handle the crap. And that my determination to be positive (hate that word sometimes, because really what chioce do we have) and my strength to do what I must could help others. And I am so grateful for that. But I’m bored. And yes, probably mildly depressed.
I met my oncologist. She is brilliant by reputation. And I found her delightfully as insightful as she was brilliant. My brilliant insightful oncologist has unfortunately not ruled out chemotherapy. She is mindful of not overtreating nor undertreating me. So I am to be discussed and reviewed further. Love all these brilliant minds being a tad baffled by me. I think. Final decision to be made next Thursday. If you believe that you’ll believe anything. Anyway I’m not scared. It’s awful but I will do whatever I need to. And anyway I need a haircut.
I have to admit I lost the plot a little yesterday. And not because the news is bad but because the news is incomplete. And how could I have forgotten. There is nothing finite about this. We can only deal with each bit of information as it presents itself with care and determination. Well yesterday was a fuck that, what does that mean kind of day. Not much dignity around. Today is a little better. So. It appears I have invasive papillary carcinoma. The word that threw me was invasive. Not what you want on your path report. Actually what you really don’t want is a path report. Anyway. My kind brilliant surgeon is quietly confident he got it all and with safe margins. And I like him. But that damn word again. Invasive. I so wish it was that’s that. Carry on juicing, being positive and eating raw food and we’ll see you next year. Oh and sorry for the divot in your armpit. Okay so maybe today isn’t really a better day. Anyway. Now it’s over to oncology. Apparently I am a little of an enigma third time round. You’re kidding right. So my case will be discussed on Tuesday at a round table with all these brilliant oncological minds and best route foreward discussed. Whilst they do that I have to have a pet scan to see if there is any indication of invasiveness. Any need for more surgery. But my kind brilliant surgeon is quietly confident there won’t be. And I like him. And his gentle positivity. So I’ll hold onto that and retreat into my cocoon for today. Safe in the knowledge once we have all opinions I will make the best decision for me. Because only I can. And that tomorrow I’ll be in a better mood.
I’m not a fool. And I know no-one thinks I am. And I am so filled with love at the courage it takes for people to reach out and be present and try fix things. You can’t. I can’t. It’s not to be fixed. It’s to be held, accepted and faced. And responded to. And that I have done and will continue to do. Please be confident in the knowledge that I have researched the hell out of this. I have pursued alternative therapies, I have eaten raw food only, I gave up sugar, juiced myself and my family until we all threw up a little in our mouths at the thought (love you for this my friend). I too have the internet and can google and be swayed by those who feed on the fear we all have within us. I get it. I really do. And I so applaud you for your chosen path. It’s just not mine. I am too conscious of the untold stories, the swept away stories of those who didn’t survive by simply healing themselves. And sadly their slavish followers. I have not chosen my approach lightly. But with wisdom and compassion and peace. It is holistic but it also encourages scientific scrutiny. And for those who feel if I had done something else maybe we wouldn’t be here right now, or that I chose this, I hear your fear. But you can keep it. And your judgement. But I’ll take your love.
15 January. My final grateful, gotta love a leap year. I am grateful for a final contemplative moment. For a weak wireless signal, so I found myself on the balcony desperately seeking connection. To no avail. But an imperfectly perfect end to my 366 gratefuls. I am grateful for real time and real connections. They are all that matter. And for them I will never ever stop being grateful. For love. And for this glorious imperfect life.
Five years is a long time. Five years is a great time to be cancer free but not so sure if it’s a great time to have been away from where I come from. Congratulations have been offered and accepted as my family and friends all knew I was only staying for two years. OK, so they and I knew I would stay longer but happily went along with my self delusion because they all knew it was what I needed. It’s not a great time, because it is a long time and so much and so many people have changed. The gap we seem to have left for some has diminished. And that was inevitable but also sad. But actually it is also great. Because it has helped me on my journey. To truly understand impermanence. And attachment. I have definitely learnt the lesson I have oft referred to in my musings, the gift I have finally accepted. The acceptance of change. Which often is loss. I think after 5 years you get a real understanding of what mattered, what matters, of who matters and of whom you matter to. And that it’s all good. I can now smile at this journey, from the absurdity of the first visit home to the authenticity of this visit five years later. Five years is a long time to be away from where I come from, but a great time to grow.