Lessons Learned

“I’ll put you out of your misery, you’re in remission…” 

It has been a long six weeks since I last posted. Christmas was lovely, I have been away a lot and keeping myself busy and on the move. I have spent so long observing everybody else doing their usual thing, and it’s safe to say I have already made a permanent imprint on our couches, so I couldn’t do it any longer. I have so much to spill that this could sound like word vomit, so forgive me for my eagerness.

I had a very candid conversation with a friend a couple of days before Christmas. I told her that I don’t always want to be known as that girl that had cancer, and I just want to go back to being who I was on May 30, before knew I was sick. She said to me, ‘but you will never be that person again.’ It hit me like a truck. This whole time I’ve been so concerned with getting back to who I was, but the fact is that nothing can take this experience away. I have learnt so many things about my priorities, about the people around me and about myself. Let me list a few for you:

1 – No matter how far I move away from home, my family will always live in my pocket and that is not a bad thing.

2 – Good friends aren’t the ones that come rallying to you when times get tough, they’re not the ones that say all the right things and buy you gifts, they’re the ones that see and speak to you when life is boring and mundane, and the ones that you can fall asleep on. Always value the people that don’t care when you fall asleep on them. 

3 – Sometimes, despite how uncomfortable it makes you feel, you have to let people do what they need to do to deal with the situation. Everyone is different, some people pray, some people raise money, and some people call you six times a day just to see how you’re going. I wasn’t going through this alone, so if doing these things made those I care about feel better, then that’s ok too. 

4 – Stressing about the uncontrollable is a waste of time and energy. Just don’t do it.

5 – Endorphins are undervalued and you don’t know how great they are until you haven’t been for a run in seven months and you get cranky at the drop of a hat. 

In my last post I mentioned my friend who was about to embark on a similar experience as mine. If all I can do is reassure him that it is all going to be ok then all of this has been worth it. I’m not an inspiration, I’m not stronger than anyone else in my situation. I maintain that I was really lucky, not only was my cancer very treatable, but I was surrounded by people that cared about me. All I did was what I needed to do to be able to get through each treatment and onto the next, and then the next. Small victories always count.

When George gave me the news I thought I would be elated. I thought I would cry, scream, laugh – the whole mixed bag of emotions, but I didn’t feel like it. I was stunned, and I was scared. Yes it’s gone now, but what if it comes back? What if in a years time when I have my life under control again that something pops up? This experience will never leave me. My scars are permanent, as is my medical history. I’m going to have to remind myself everyday of point number four, and I hope that it’ll get easier to remember as time goes on. 

I started this blog because when I first got sick, I felt quite alone. All I wanted was for someone out there to find my experience helpful. I know that sometimes when I found it too hard to talk to those around me it was easier to blurt it out in a post. I have received a lot of support from those I know, reading about my new normal; and although I have responded to very few of your messages, I have read and appreciated every single one of them. I can’t thank you enough for your kindness and your encouragement. 

So in the words of the Von Trapp family, So long, Farewell… And as I enter remission and go back to normal life, who knows, I might pop up again.

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