Dear Cancer Part 6

Dear Cancer,

Well, this was never a letter I expected to write… 4 years we’ve shared this curious relationship of ours. 4 years. Who’d have thought it? 

Last time I wrote I was incredibly frightened. You had woken up just before Christmas and caused no end of issues. I’m not sure if I was more fearful of the impact of you on my creaking body or the impact further chemotherapy and the associated unrelenting infections were going to have on me. 

I struggled so much with the poisoning this time, not just physically, but mentally too. It was almost as if every little essence of Kate was trickling away with each infusion. I don’t mind admitting to you how down I was, especially when I decided enough was enough on chemo front. I didn’t want to work. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I guess I just felt weak and lost. Looking back on that difficult time I wonder if I was actually having some kind of delayed adjustment reaction to your presence in our lives.

It has taken what seems like such a long time to get back on my feet, although in reality it has only been a few months. Gradually, little by little, with our ‘one day at a time’ mantra I have managed to claw back my sense of self, and am finally feeling some semblance of normality again. Restarting clinical work, charity fundraising, ticking a few more items off the Bucket List, #hellomynameis and spending precious time with friends and family have all helped to discover me again. 

Are you asleep at the moment? Other than the annoyance of the frequent stent infections I have had a good few weeks of actually feeling well. I have become strangely and acutely aware of your activity or lack thereof after living with you for 48 months and the tell-tale signs of your wake up stretch. However saying that every little twinge in my tummy will get analysed, probably overly so. And these last few days those twinges have been occurring too often for comfort, especially during the night. Then there is the firm lymph node that has recently recurred in my left supraclavicular fossa. I find myself palpating it almost constantly, wishing it wasn’t there…

I don’t know how long you’re going to give me. I don’t know if I’ll be able to face future treatment. I don’t know if I can even face a scan. I just don’t know. Uncertainty, for me, is by far the worst aspect of our relationship. I know I keep saying that and you can’t give me any answers. But I cannot stress enough the burden of living with uncertainty day in day out. It really does takes its toll. The trouble is taking your picture doesn’t always resolve this uncertainty; just because you might appear stable on one scan I know how quickly you can get on the move again…

So we just have to take it one day at a time and be grateful for the well time, and deal with the not so well time. I guess that’s what we’ve tried to do the whole way on this journey. Perhaps the end is becoming gradually more visible on the horizon. However there is still so much to live for and difficult decision making awaits over the forthcoming weeks. For now though I’m going to try and ignore you as rude as that sounds. I’ve only just got back to work and all I want right now is a few more weeks of doing the job I love… I am determined you are not going to take that away from me.

Best wishes,

K

Advertisements