A Year to Remember

I’ve just had my latest consultation, including the ‘Snotcam’. We talked about all the various issues and after-affects that beset me, but the consultant is satisfied – nay, happy – with my progress; enough to reschedule future inspections on a quarterly basis. Not much I’ll miss about those trips to Clinic 6, except seeing the Duracell-powered Marie, my wonderful Macmillan nurse. 

My next visit is planned for early December, and this one (hopefully all being well) will be a bit of a landmark. I was first diagnosed last August, but my preferred ‘C’ birthday is 11th December; marking one year from the day I was told by the Oncology team that they believed the treatment regime to have been successful (cue loud synth-led fanfares). 

Before today’s consultation, what struck me whilst absent-mindedly peering up from my book (they were running late) and looking round the waiting room, was seeing people who were not just going through the same inspection process, but also those who were being told the news for the first time. I saw such a person today: I started to recall that afternoon last year, and felt a cold, dark shiver. No insult to the staff at Lincoln Oncology Department, but my obvious preference is to never have to go down this road again – and my daily regime has changed to hopefully give me the best chance of achieving this aim – but I find it interesting to look back and realise that everything about my outlook to life and future expectations is now different. It’s also comforting that so much of what surrounds me remains the same – my wonderful family and friends, home, favourite places – but I seem to love them all even more. I find it difficult to explain why this should be… 

I’ve conversed with many wonderful individuals through both this blog and online forums, and the ability to share experiences – both good and not so good – with new visitors who are just about to embark on this journey (hopefully providing a level of reassurance), is very satisfying. Reading through other people’s experiences post-treatment makes you understand that no two journeys are the same: we’ve all reacted differently regarding our ability to cope with the consequences of cancer, both mentally and physically – pain management, fatigue, work, daily routine, interaction with loved ones, etc. I’ve met with / chatted to a number of people in similar positions, and one of the things we do share is ‘gallows humour’ – comparison of scars (ranging from ‘wow, that’s neat’ through to ‘urgh’); painkillers (from useless, via valiant attempt, through to mind-blitzing); food (disgusting, manageable, verboten); drink (when did a beer start to taste like beer); sleep (can you catnap standing up?) – basically, whatever it takes to get you through this.  

Sadly, one person whose blog gave me many laughs and thoughtful moments passed away last week. Even though I never met him, his ability to cut through the crap and fully understand his situation (making you question your own thoughts and feelings), whilst smothering the whole thing with a layer of vicious humour and liquid prose, filled me with admiration. My thoughts are with his family: I hope they understand how much he brought to others. 

Let’s look at cheerier things: we’re off to London soon for a very late Birthday treat – a rather special restaurant. We tried something similar just before Christmas last year, but it wasn’t a great success for me, and I didn’t have the balls to get our famous-name chef to liquidise my main course. I’m sure this one will be far more successful 🙂

Until the next time!

PS. 101 uses for a Radiotherapy Mask No.6: turn it into a spooky desk lamp.

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