For now….

December 30, 2010

One more day left of 2010 and I would be lying if I didn’t say I’m rather glad to see the back of it. However, as I sit here on the cusp of a new year, it isn’t regrets about the year about to end that dominate my thoughts and feelings, but happiness, optimism and excitement about the new year about to start.

When I sat facing the Doctor on 17 December as he told me that I was now in full remission he quickly added “of course I can’t guarantee that it (i.e. Hodgkins) won’t come back”. He’s got to say it. But actually it didn’t feel like a bucket of cold water, as I might have expected. Rather I thought to myself “well, none of us have any guarantee that we won’t get ill or have terrible things happen to us, but for now I am healthy and that is good enough for me”.

I’ve thought a lot about this idea of “for now” since then and I think it is a pretty damn good life philosophy to have. You will never ever get me to say that I am glad that I got cancer, but there are some lessons I’ve learned in the last year that are a real gift and “for now” is one of them. I do realise that there is a risk that the Hodgkins will come back or that I get some other illness as a result of the treatment I have been through – and I have just the same risk as everyone else that other terrible things could happen. And if something like that happens, well, we’ll deal with it. But “for now” I am going to enjoy my life as best as I can.

As the year turns, I’m feeling better than I have done for months. Once again they showed they know what they are talking about at the hospital and for a couple of weeks after finishing the radiotherapy I was feeling pretty rotten – sore throat, sore lungs (not helped by the sub-zero temperatures outside), no appetite, my running form worse than during my worst chemo days, and worst of all, feeling totally exhausted. It peaked the day before Christmas Eve and since then I’ve been feeling a bit better every day. Not only that, but I am starting to sleep better and my hot flushes have stopped (only time will tell whether it is because I’m full blown menopausal or whether my system is about to kick start again, but either way I don’t mind, it’s just lovely not to wake up 5 times a night totally drenched in sweat). I do still have problems with my hand which they now suspect  is carpal tunnel syndrome rather than peripheral neuropathy and I am waiting for an appointment to have it investigated.

Oh, and my hair is growing back thick and fast! I’ve even had to trim it around my ears and I don’t think it will be too long before I have enough to be able to go to the hairdresser and have something that actually looks like a hairstyle again!

So, all in all, for now life is very good indeed!

Happy New Year!

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I’m in complete remission!

December 18, 2010

There has been a statement popping up on twitter and facebook recently which has run particularly true for me: “Most people have 1000 wishes for Christmas; a cancer patient only has one, to get better”. A few weeks ago my husband asked me to produce a Christmas wish list. Normally I have no problem trundling out a list of things I would really like. This year you would think it would be easier than usual since the financial constraints brought on by not having been able to work for 6 months have meant that I haven’t been unable to indulge my every whim as I usually do (well that might be a slight exaggeration!). However my mind was blank except for “I just want to be well” pounding through my head.

Well yesterday I got my biggest Christmas wish – it really doesn’t get much better than this! The CT scan I had a few weeks ago (before I started radiotherapy) showed that I was completely clear of cancer. This is going to be the best Christmas ever!

The new me

December 12, 2010

Well, almost 6 months of cancer treatment are now over and life is returning to normal. It is definitely a different normal than before, and I expect that it will be a while before it settles down completely, but still…..

 You often read articles about people who have completely changed their life around after having cancer, but for me the change is much more subtle. I’ve always been a planner, with my thoughts full of what is going to happen in the day, the next week, the next month and the next year. So much so that I have often forgotten to enjoy the moment I was in. However it has been almost impossible to plan anything for the last six months, so I’ve had to learn to appreciate the moment! But it is much more than that…… It’s like having gone through this horrible, horrible time, nothing else really seems like such a big deal! It’s a cliché, but I’ve absolutely realised what is important – my family and my friends of course. And another thing, I’ve learned that is if I can deal with this, I can deal with anything, so what is the point is using my energy in planning and worrying – life can throw me whatever it wants and I know I can deal with it!

The manifestation of this is that I am much more relaxed and laid back – much more “there” – and I expect that my family would agree with this! So much so that this week – after many years of vetoing the rest of the family’s wish to get a dog – I capitulated gracefully (while we were out for dinner on Tuesday celebrating the end of my treatment!). So on Friday we welcomed wee Muffin to our family (no time was wasted in case I changed my mind!). And no surprise to anyone but me I am completely besotted!

It’s going to be a challenge to keep hold of the “new me” once this honeymoon period is over and I get more into work  again, but hopefully when I look at Muffin she will serve as a reminder  not to return to my old ways!