Week 3 – nearly at the half way point and I am feeling strong.
After two full weeks of treatment I am getting more accustomed to the side affects involved. Prior to treatment starting I was warned of the range I could experience. As per my previous blog the main issues have been my unhappy bowels and the fatigue – chronic fatigue! I am shattered!
Within the first few weeks of being diagnosed I felt increasingly aware of cancer in the media. It was everywhere. Every commercial break on the TV, between songs on the radio in your car, packing your bags at the supermarket – even clothes shopping I found myself being asked to donate old clothes for cancer research. During this time I found myself following Stephen Sutton’s inspiring story and similarly learnt about the death of Elena Baltacha. I found the profile of cancer at this time – parallel to my diagnosis – overwhelming. I wanted to throw my fist in the air and shout ‘F*ck Off’ but knew it would only provide a satisfying relief for a matter of seconds. Knowing there is a force inside you that is actively attacking your body, your health is something I can only describe as feeling alien. I am a healthy girl who exercises daily, I am conscious of having a well balanced diet, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink (regularly) – it simply doesn’t make sense how this can happen. On a couple occasions I took myself away from my army of support to sit and cry on my own. Once I was alone in the bathroom and the other I was alone in my car. The intent of both was to try and escape from what was happening but I found myself increasingly reminded of that fact there is no option of escape. Cancer is something living inside of me. Having a better grasp of this now I no longer feel the need to lock myself away to cry! It is far more manageable when I have Iceberg to wipe my tears or the Funny Boy to make me laugh. (On a side note the Funny Boy does an excellent impression of the characters from Made In Chelsea – always guaranteed to put a smile on your face!) Furthermore I think it is quite selfish excluding my loved ones when they are enduring this marathon too.
Amidst the plethora of articles and advertisements in the media I stumbled across the article above written by a lady who has cancer. It is a well written article which I believe to be valid, refreshing and potentially controversial. In summary the author disagrees with the use of wartime rhetoric language such as battle, fight, survivor etc. She continues to question why people describe her as being brave when her experience of cancer is something she didn’t elect to do. This is something I can definitely relate to. I have had countless messages of support from friends, family and mere strangers commenting on my bravery and strength. All of this is music to my ears and ego however I feel a bit like a charlatan. I didn’t sign up to this. I don’t have a choice as to how I respond to it. What’s more is I have turned into a bit of a diva over the past fortnight. Due to nausea I am struggling to eat my normal foods in a the pattern I am accustomed to. This has led to the Funny Boy being an on-call delivery boy turned chef. He has been known to make me hot dogs at the drop of a hat, cream tea in the middle of the night and my current favourite carbonara at a moments notice. Speaking of which I have a hankering for a curry now! In my eyes it is the Funny Boy who is being the hero. He is the one putting up with my highs and lows, my crazy cravings and the reluctant bowel movements. Although we have discovered a bubble bath and candles can cure almost anything (whilst masking any unpleasant smells!)
In response to the article’s title regarding terminology for me the war like language can stay. I have compared my ‘battle’ with running a marathon because I do see it as a challenge. Similar to the author I have days where cancer takes over; nausea, grumpy bowels and uncontrollable emotions leave me feeling vulnerable. Thankfully these are few and far between. I am realistic in the knowledge it is a long process with a lot of hurdles however I am still experiencing great highs; Getting engaged, moving in with the Funny Boy, planning our wedding, spending time with Conor and Ryan, gossiping with a friend – life is still great! Last week I had my details confirmed for being a Batonbearer for the Queen’s Baton Relay in celebration of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. I am certain this will be another high which will lead to a memory I will never forget. On Saturday 14th June at 3.47pm I will be carrying the Queen’s Baton along Hermitage Place in Leith. It was a huge honour to be nominated and I am delighted to have been selected! On Friday 13th I will be the hospital for the majority of the day getting my first bout of brahytherapy under general anaesthetic. This potentially could have an impact on my ability to run with the baton however the doctors and nurses, like me, are determined I don’t miss this fantastic opportunity. So wether it be in a wheelchair, at a snail pace or sprinting like Usain Bolt I will be there! My mantra for this week as I begin to approach the half way mark is to not worry about tomorrow – not only does this rid me of my strength but it stops me from enjoying the here and now. And I right now, I have a lot to be smiling about!