How do you process difficult news?
This journey that I’m on has milestones of difficult news. I knew in the autumn of 2018 that my life expectancy was likely to be under 5 years. So I’ve generally got on with things.
In terms of difficult news I think the latest news is up there with the most challenging. For me chemotherapy is probably no more. I say probably because that implies a bit of hope. But my body had begun to react increasingly badly to my treatment. Many of the side effects of the chemo will now begin to lessen although some parts of me may be damaged beyond repair. I hope my feet and fingers recover. I think they might. I think I’ll dispense with the plastic handled cutlery (you know the sort, with dinosaurs on ........ only joking). But returning to normal is well overdue and don’t we all know it.
Cast your mind back to the first lockdown. Both Tricia and I were at our most feeble. About 4 weeks earlier Tricia had eye surgery so was unable to drive and as for me, 2 weeks before lockdown I had surgery to remove a cancerous growth behind my stomach, close to my spine. No driving for 6 weeks. When lockdown started Tricia had already taken the decision to retire. I, as it happened, was still employed and facing the prospect of surviving on statuary sick pay. But instead I was furloughed prior to being made redundant at the end of August. I had a new job lined up and had already begun to work as my fitness returned. We all had a glorious lockdown summer. Our recuperation was leisurely and thorough............. until July. My situation took a turn for the worse. My cancer had returned. This time surgery wasn’t an option. I was treatable not curable. For me the big story was cancer not covid.
Up until this point I’d been chronicling my journey on Facebook but I decided to write a blog as things were getting serious. Lauren was able to set up the things needed to write this blog which we launched with a touching post from Lauren on 1st August. I’ve just re-read it. I’ve posted updates ever since. Almost 200 so far. We needed to find a title for our blog and website. Easy peasy it was obvious. www.itscancernotcovid.com. In the next few days, in the interests of completeness, I’ll gather some of the Facebook musings and post them here.
Since last August little has happened that I haven’t shared. I know I haven’t discussed some things like the condition of my poo. Here’s a chart, it's called the Bristol Stool Chart. It may be of interest. Should you want to know I’ve had them all.
I’ve only dipped into the fear, the depression, the feelings of helplessness. It’s neither easy to write nor read. But dip into them I have.
I’ve looked into the abyss and I don’t like it. I don’t like it one iota but I know it’s there, I know it's getting closer and I know the distance is diminishing fast.
Since my July diagnosis lots of nice family things have happened. Two weddings and a ............... no not yet. Lauren walked back into our everyday lives in December and has now settled back into Cornish life. Abbi is now discussing working in the evenings enabling her to spend more time with me. The clan is gathering.
My heath professionals are also never far away. Any of them I can contact at any time. Claire – colorectal nurse, Caroline – oncology specialist, Ange – oncology Doctor, Natalia - G.P., the District nurses and soon Wendy – my palliative nurse. In due course there may be more.
But the closest people are you and I’m off for coffee with a few of you this morning.
Don’t forget Coffee Club on Tuesday at 10am. Follow the link at www.itscancernotcovid.com