Tuesday, 3 January 2012
Happy New Year !
It seems fitting that I should decide to post just in time to wish you all a happy new year.
After a two week break from blogging to make space for a myriad of scans, doc consultations, last minute present buying and a few journeys up and down on the motorway to see family and friends, my latest new year's resolution almost definitely includes a visit to this address more often. And boy, what a rollercoaster of a year it has been ! From being diagnosed with metastatic cancer, to the race for blood tests and scans before starting a pretty caustic combination of chemo and targeted therapy, then straight into major, major surgery and then some complications involving a plastic bag, a leaky wound and a 3am trip to A & E, and then... not content that this should be more than enough for any woman to experience, let alone one who has just become a mother of a baby who spent the first month of his life fighting for breath in a neo-natal unit.... I get diagnosed with cancer again ! Just five months after the operation. I think it was Woody Allen who coined that famous saying... 'Want to make God laugh ? tell him about your plans' and well, in my case, he surely must have been splitting his sides.
But I digress. Since self-pity is not one of my strong points and an activity in which I refuse to allow myself to wallow, I'm going to focus on the good things that have already happened this year. Yes, dear reader, the good things. Because there have already been some good things this year, such as my return to work. 'Work ?' I hear you say, who enjoys going back to the grind after a two week binge fest of stuffing, turkey and copious amounts of champagne ? (well, perhaps it was more like sparkling wine this year since we're all on a recession session at the mo). Well actually, after not just a two week break, but listen up folks, A TWO YEAR one, I found myself this morning casually sauntering into an office that I waved goodbye to when I was about three stone heavier and a whole lot more hirsute. Would I have had the courage to do this if I hadn't been faced with all the challenges of last year ? Probably not. I may well have wasted much time wondering what my colleagues were really thinking of me, or whether my stand-in did a much better job while I was away. But today, I walked in, sat down, switched on my computer and calmly reclaimed a part of my life that I really had begun to think had vanished as quickly as, well part of my sternum had all those months ago.
And while I felt dog-tired after only a few hours there and also felt a touch guilty for being able to casually scroll through my backlog of e-mails while sipping on a cup of tea when I knew that only a few miles away, my partner would be at home wrestling with a tantrumy toddler, it felt good to feel like me again. My new hair, which is still a very close crop, a kind of Grace Jones look without the quiff or the attitude, brought me a whole host of compliments despite the fact that it really wasn't of my own doing. Of course, I made sure that I piled on a bit of slap before venturing out of the house, mostly to cover up the fact that the current course of oral chemo tablets have made my face and hands just a touch patchy in places. But a more interesting revelation, was just how much I'd forgotten while I'd been away. My journey from train station to workplace involved taking a few wrong exits, a trip to the wrong floor which almost found me making a beeline for the editor-in-chief's office, and a momentary panicky lapse of memory when I realised that I couldn't quite remember where the toilets were. But fortunately, despite the fact that the chemo probably didn't help matters, I'm pleased to say that my memory for such things returned pretty quickly. And the most brilliant thing to happen, beyond having had a lovely Christmas and an eventful New Year to relay to my familiar work colleagues, was just how little I thought about Cancerland for a change. And the luxury of being able to lose oneself in an activity or a conversation however small, is far more therapeutic than any spa treatment that I've ever indulged in. Of course, I know. It's only been a day. Ask me how I'll feel after a year's worth of morning commutes and office politics, and I'll tell you. But not until Jan 3rd, 2013.