So here we are on New Years Day 2014.
I have been very neglectful of this blog in the latter part of 2013. I’m not sure why really as it was helping me through what has been a somewhat tough year. I suppose after I went back to work in August after the mastectomy operation I wanted to just try to get on with things. I didn’t have too many cancer related appointments for a couple of months and I was just trying to get to grips with life again. Long story short – I’ve found this pretty tough. Looking back at my posts I can see how I was trying to get away from the cancer related stuff but it is just omnipresent in my life now. Then in the last month or so, things have degenerated rapidly. Since my last post my poor poor sister (who is the aforementioned close relative who also has breast cancer – I don’t think there is any point trying to mask the identity any longer) has received the news that her cancer has also spread to her brain. She found this out a week after my foob swap operation, having had a funny turn and crashed her car on the way to her pre-chemo (due to cancer spreading to her liver) blood test appointment. You couldn’t make it up could you.
She went downhill in a scarily fast fashion and spent a week in hospital being pumped full of steroids and anti-seizure medication. I visited her in the hospital. It was awful seeing my usually vibrant, happy big sister so obviously unwell. That’s probably the biggest understatement I’ve ever made. It ripped my heart out, threw it on the floor and stamped on it. It wasn’t just seeing her so unwell – she has improved a lot since that day as I knew she would given the right drugs – it was knowing that at some point she is going to go past that point and not come back… and there is nothing I can do but watch. Again.
I’ve done this before with my dad – I know how it ends.
She will be having targetted brain radiotherapy starting tomorrow. Happy new year sis. Yes, that was sarcasm.
Obviously we all hope the radiotherapy and chemotherapy work as well as they can – but the uncertainty of it all – well, I have been finding it a touch crippling. My brain is really struggling to come terms with the whole situation and I veer from “she’s not dead yet” weird optimism, to absolute terror that the same will happen to me, to general fury… and then there is the empty, numb feeling that is I think my brain deciding to opt out of life altogether as that is the easiest option.
This sounds incredibly trite and unimportant – but it’s got to the point where I can’t plan anything either to try to lift myself out of the empty numbness. She asked me the other day if we still plan to go to Florida in 2014. How do you answer that when what you’re actually thinking is “No – because there is no chance we will get insurance to cover the fact I have cancer and you have stage 4 cancer and are quite likely to die this year”. Going by the last 3 years, whenever we try to do something nice someone either gets diagnosed with cancer or dies, so it is clearly tempting fate to spend about £6000 on a holiday of a lifetime without insuring it. I know that shouldn’t be important – but realistically it is and I am just SO fucked off with cancer intruding on everything like it does. Maybe it is just me, but we have booked a couple of nice things to do in the next few months (Mark got me tickets to Matilda and Country to Country for christmas and I’ve got mum and Mark Derren Brown tickets too) and it is really difficult to actually commit to anything and just look forward to it. Always have that horrible ‘tempting fate’ feeling that makes me just want to not bother.
You can’t live like that though – and I also have this guilty conflicted “I’m not the one that is dying” (See – tempting fate again. Probably shouldn’t say things like that) feeling that means if anything, I should be seizing the moment, appreciating what I have got and throwing caution to the wind. Not sure I’m explaining myself very well here – but suffice to say I have a lot of confusion about it all.
I just wish I could do something to help her. Failing that – I wish for an end to any pain and suffering she is, or is destined to experience. Whether that is by the treatment working, or the unthinkable happening. I wish for the process to be the least painful it can be. I think I will stop talking about it now as I’d quite like today to be a good day with Mark and not end with me in a pit of despair. If I think about things too much that is exactly where I will end up.
SO – onto other topics. Christmas day was actually lovely. We all made it out for Christmas Lunch and it was just a good, relaxed day. I laughed lots and managed not to cry at all! I have been back at work this week after my foob swap op and am taking on a new role as one of my best friends at work is leaving. I am quite sad to see him go – and I’m actually quite intimidated by taking over his role. I will also have to cover my old role for the next month or so too. I’m not sure what made me think I needed another challenge in life tbh but I guess this is an example of my actually throwing caution to the wind and saying “why not?!” when perhaps “No” would have been the more sensible answer. So you can now call me a ‘Operational Planning Manager’ and I can start a new program of ‘fake it till you make it’. Wish me luck!!
In terms of 2014 – I basically ignored New Years Eve as much as possible and I’ve never been one for resolutions. I think I have a pretty good handle on what is important and what isn’t now. I’d like to lose weight and eat better – but that’s not really a resolution. Once Smithers says I am allowed to exercise again it should just happen naturally. One thing I have semi-committed to is a Photographer of the Year competition on the photography forum I frequent. I would like to get my creativity back and start caring about something that has nothing to do with health or my family – and photography is the obvious choice. I will write a seperate post about it but the competition is basically 12 monthly pictures to a specified them and/or style. Last year stupid cancer / chemo / surgery got in the way of my planned photography project so I’m hoping one photo a month is more than doable this year. Again… wish me luck!
So I think instead of resolutions and “things can only get better”, I am just starting 2014 with a few wishes…