Getting on with my life…

February 22, 2011

Someone asked me yesterday if I had by now put all the cancer stuff behind me. Wow – that made me stop and think – it’s a real toughie. The person who asked is currently in the midst of his own cancer battle so I wanted to answer him seriously, but the answer I ended up giving was pretty incoherent, I suspect. I hope he is reading this because I will try to do it more justice.  

On the surface of things I have put it behind me. I started working full-time again at the start of January (I also did a little part-time project in November and December). Now, it you haven’t been following my blog since the beginning you may not know that I actually got my cancer diagnosis just as I quit my job to launch myself as a working-from-home freelancer (yes, they didn’t warn me about that at the “start up your own business” course). So for me it isn’t even really a case of going back to work after sick leave, but starting from scratch with my new business. The good thing is that when I was in treatment I was such a zombie that it didn’t even cross my mind to worry about how this was going to work out. And then by some kind of miracle the work has rolled in all by itself and I now find myself booked full-time until the summer and already discussing some possible projects for the autumn.

Physically, I’m also feeling good. It hasn’t been a one-day-to-the next improvement, nor even a one-week-to-the next, but has happened gradually. I’m finally sleeping better and I wake up in the morning feeling enthusiastic for the day ahead. I probably have almost as much energy as I had before – certainly more than some people ever have! I still have problems with my hand, but hopefully that it is going to be fixed at some point. The running I have already written about. And the hair? Well I think I will save that for a separate post in its own right!

Despite all that though, I not sure I can say I have put the cancer fully behind me. I’m not sure I ever will, really. I’m not sure that I even want to. Certainly I no longer think about it all the time. I’m not sure I’ve had a whole day yet where I haven’t consciously thought about it, but I certainly  have long periods where it isn’t in my thoughts and they are getting longer. I’m also conscious that it is no longer in the thoughts of people around me. I’m starting to get used to the idea that when people say “how are you” they are just being polite and it isn’t the deep meaningful “how ARE you?” from the cancer days (thank goodness, because I never managed to figure out how I was supposed to answer it!).  

But it is there.

In the history. A part of me. The little scars from the biopsy and the catheter and the five little blue tattoos on the outside and the big scars from the whole experience on the inside.

And, however much I wish it wasn’t, in the  future. Every time I think about planning something there is a little voice “what if it comes back”. But I’ve decided to accept that that is how it is and how it is going to be for the next few years and so be it.

So have I put it behind me? Heck, I don’t know…… But while I’m figuring it out I’ll just get on with my life!