Apologies for being away for so long. Remembering to update this blog has most certainly been on my mind. But, like my desire for time travel and tele-transportation, I have not yet found a way of extending a 24 hour day into a 48 one. I'm learning that 'having it all' (which I secretly think is just another way of society making women feel as though they can actually juggle work and childcare without heading for a nervous breakdown) really is possible - just as long as you don't mind missing a substantial chunk of that precious commodity called sleep every now and again.
So where do I start ? Well, the good news (and I'm pleased to report that at this very moment in time I'm able to use this word generously) is that my last scan result showed 'no significant change', which I'm told is not just a good thing, but a great one. OK, so things might still be a little complicated between Ned and I but the radiotherapy that I reluctantly signed up for a few months back seems to have worked, there are no other areas of concern so, at least for another three months, I really should be throwing backflips and enjoying the result while I still can. And I guess I did in a less physical way which involved copious amounts of red wine and cake with lots of sugary icing on the top. But the problem is, even though my body hasn't found a way of transporting my good self into the future, my mind certainly has. Even though I really should be 'living in the moment' and rejoicing in my good fortune, however long it may last, I find myself instead feeling more concerned about when it might end. So even though I haven't quite made it back to my meditation classes just yet, a dose of the old mindfulness might just be what the Yogi ordered.
But there's also another reason for me being strangely absent for so long. Unfortunately I have heard in the last two months two lots of bad news. Two deaths have happened since I last booked in, two deaths of two women; two mothers who had the same disease as me. I knew neither that well but enough to feel a wave of sadness, anxiety and guilt all at the same time. Both women looked 'so well' when I last saw them. So well that I had no idea that it would be the last conversation that we'd ever have when I spoke to them. And for this I feel guilty that I've spent so long feeling pre-occupied with my own thoughts and fears that I missed the chance to help someone else. I also learned how easy it is to simultaneously feel sadness and selfishness (will I be next ?). Yes I may have grieved for both women on those days but if I dig deep within that grief, I'm sure that I'll find myself somewhere, hoping and praying that I won't be next.
A few posts back, I talked about the experience of metastatic breast cancer feeling more like hurdles than a marathon. Only what I failed to realise is that the bar keeps getting higher. Just as you've cleared one hurdle and you're running on solid ground once more, enjoying the wind in your air, the feeling of freedom, seeing your friends and family smiling at you in the audience, you're faced with another hurdle, a higher one this time, and once again you wonder how you might ever clear the bar without touching it, or falling over. But you can't stop because they won't let you. You must keep running, even though you may be tired and angry and bored of having to stay on that track and clear that next bar. Because the funny thing is, even though you might look like the finest endurance athlete while you're out there running and jumping for your life, you know that the reality is, you really have no other choice.