The Big One

7 06 2013

Look, I could write another post here banging on about how crap cancer is. But if you’ve any sense about you at all, you probably already know that. Yeah, there have been some rubbish things I’ve had to deal with (calling my parents to tell them I had cancer wasn’t one of the easiest things I’ve ever had to do) but there have also been some lovely moments, some lessons I’ve learnt, and pals who have proved that sometimes, other people can be excellent.

So where to begin? When I told everyone I had cancer and wrote my original blog, I was amazed at the incredibly kind responses I got. I mean, I wasn’t expecting everyone to tell me to bugger off (I don’t think that’s the done thing when someone tells you they’ve developed the Ultimate Lurgy) but the overwhelming feeling I got was of love and kindness. You’re only as strong as the people around you, and from the beginning I could tell I was in safe hands.

I know everyone deals with bad news differently, but every response was appreciated. Whether you texted, tweeted, hugged or gave me a smile of solidarity, you’re in the good books. You’ve no idea how much it meant for someone to ask how the treatment was going, take it in, and then carry on as normal.

I think a lot of people expected me to run home, live with my parents, and retreat. But as far as I was concerned, that was admitting defeat before I’d even fought the battle, and where’s the fun in that? I admit it did get hard- I feel like the last six months have been mostly spent in waiting rooms and hospital appointments. I am genuinely excited at the prospect of summer, of having fun, and of not travelling home every two weeks to gear up for the next round of treatment.

One thing I should stress is that I have never been as popular as when I had cancer. Seriously. Suddenly my diary was full of coffees and dinners and lunches and brunches (I put on some weight at this point). I think a few people were suddenly jolted out of that mid-twenties fog, and realised that life is short, friends are important, and I like food.

One good friend asked me if the whole experience has made me love life more- do I want to seize the day, jump out of airplanes, swim with dolphins? Um, no. But it has made me more aware of what to worry about and what just isn’t important. In a way it’s given me a perspective and focus in my life that I didn’t have before. (I guess cancer is a pretty heavy way of learning that lesson. Sometimes I think a stern talking-to would have done the same thing…)

The weirdest thing I noticed was the amount of people who asked if I would take part in Race for Life this year. Hey, I know it’s a great cause and if you’re doing it I doff my cap to you. But I cannot stress enough that getting cancer has not made me enjoy running.

And now, it’s near the end of my treatment and it looks like maybe-hopefully-perhaps the cancer has gone away. That doesn’t mean it won’t be in my life forever; I now have to take tablets every morning to replace my thyroid, and I have a lovely scar on my neck to remind me of what I’ve been through. The whole experience has changed my reactions and thought processes (for better and for worse), and it’ll always be something I carry.

But I am lucky. Because I’ve got through it, because I have friends and family who were nothing short of perfect, and because I’ve got my last check-up in July, perfectly timed to make sure I manage to wriggle out of the Race for Life.




One response

7 06 2013

Wow. Aren’t you just a fantastic one, Bexy.

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