As the festive season rolls in and the number of days until Christmas rapidly decline I find myself in disbelief that 2015 is merely days away. It is a feeling shared by many at this time of year: where has the time gone?
For me, it has been a year where I feel like I have missed out. I don’t think I appreciated how much of a social creature I was before cancer. Being a member of the hockey club brought regular training and fixtures with my mates and the club socials too. Despite trying to stay involved on the sidelines I found it too difficult. It was frustrating seeing my friends running around without me. Cancer excluded me from my favourite pastime leaving me with empty Saturdays. Even as I return to work I have struggled to reacquaint my body with the working pattern I once did with ease. Every year our team nominates awards based on our areas of work and achievements. For the past two years I was the one who was crowned Most Passionate. I was the one who was at my desk at 8am everyday and out and about most evenings. I was the one whose hours could never be questioned. Now I am the one who is here one minute and gone the next. I missed my final working week in 2014 thanks to a mixture of Noro virus and bacterial tonsillitis. Again, it is so frustrating to be forced to miss out on something you love to do. I find myself feeling envious of my colleagues. Missing the office Christmas party on Friday simply reminds me of the number of other social occasions I have missed; birthdays, leaving do’s, engagements. Cancer makes me feel forgotten about. It is such a horrible disease and even now, 3 months in the clear, I am overwhelmed by how much it still impacts my life. I feel as though it has stolen my lifestyle and with it my confidence. It is almost a day to day struggle where I feel like I am fighting towards my new normality. Friendships, priorities, outlook on life are all different now.
For anyone looking in, I think it is fair to say my year has been a challenging one. As much as I hate cancer and what it has done, I am thankful for what it has shown me. It has reminded me that I have a very special family. I always knew that in the family department I was blessed. Growing up my brothers, though irritating, always had my best interests at heart. Thanks to Owain, I now have something I always wanted: someone to call my sister. Angela is like an Iceberg in the making, very strong and kind but with a wicked sense of humour. Angela and Owain have blessed me with life’s greatest gifts, my nephews. Throughout everything they continue to put a smile on my face without fail! As for my parents they are simply the most selfless people I will ever know. There are not enough to words to express my gratitude for my family and cancer simply reminded me how proud and lucky I am to have them in my life. Cancer highlighted I have a fiancé who would literally do anything for me. Not many relationships get tested like ours did within the first few months. I am truly blessed to have him by my side.
Although I feel cancer has stolen my confidence and certain aspects of my life I believe this to be temporary. And the reason I believe this is because cancer has highlighted a strength within me that I never knew existed. I have overcome one of life’s greatest challenges and I refuse to let it hold me back. Through my strength I will achieve my new normality and I have every hope that it will be better than life before cancer. I move forward in the knowledge there is a possibility of cancer recurring. This does not scare me – this is something outwith my control. It would be like living my life in fear of getting hit by a bus. The greater fear for me is to not live my life the way I want with the people I love. Bring on 2015!