Sunday, 22 November 2015

So, How are you? Now theres a question!

We are now well into November, so its just over a year since I started my third course of chemotherapy.  It also means that its 5 months since I finished said course of chemotherapy, and I finished it o
n a high with No Evidence of Disease in my body (again).  As a recap, that's the best I can ever hope for now, NED, I will never get the All Clear or be told I'm cured.  The reality is, I'm living with cancer and always will be.  But, at least I'm living.
So, I very often hear "wow, you look great", "how are you?", "OMG,look at your hair", "Ooh, im loving the curls" Most of the time I can reply with "oh thanks" (ive never been that good at accepting compliments! or  "yeah, im fine ta!" etc, etc.  Oh, and yep, I love my curls too, im choosing to embrace them this time in the hope that I can avoid a 6 month period of looking like Subo's body double.
But, in the last couple of weeks something has changed and im not sure what.  Maybe I have just worn a brave face for a little too long, seven years of pretending to myself and everyone else that Im fine maybe is taking its toll.  I remember having a conversation with a colleague last time I was diagnosed in 2012, saying  that 95% of the time I sleep exceptionally well, like a log in fact and she explained that people react in different ways to trauma, some stay up all night, worrying and not sleeping, yet others can shut their troubles away in a box and almost just ignore the problem and tuck it so far away, that they can then get a great nights sleep with no worry.  I think that's what Ive done, maybe not so much buried my head over all of this, but put my head in the sand and kept digging.
I read a magazine or newspaper article a number of weeks ago written by a lady who had just finished treatment for breast cancer and she had been diagnosed with PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) which I almost scoffed at when I was reading it - how can she compare this to going to war? I was kind of perplexed to say the least.
But as I have been on some sort of emotional rollercoaster from hell over the last few weeks, I have found myself thinking back to this article more and more, Im still not sure that the comparative is quite right, but I do think maybe I need to take stock of what I have been through and try to think less of what may come up In the future. So what has this rollercoaster from hell done to me - again, I don't know exactly, I just dont know how I feel, teary, emotional, maybe even irrational (I know, me, irrational, who would have thought!).   Situations that I wouldn't even have thought about twice before, can bring me to the brink of tears on a daily basis, I get cross with myself at work when im asked a question and I cant give an answer without referring to a notebook, I have folders, files, spreadsheets coming out of my ears because I cant trust my memory and thats without the worry of remembering where ive filed things!  I get upset as I feel most people expect me to be on the ball as I was before chemo, but how are they supposed to understand that they grey matter doesn't work as it once did?
General opinion is that I do too much, went back to work too early and didn't give myself enough recovery time from eight months of tough chemo.  My opinion is that "they" are probably right, but it still makes me reluctant to slow down  -   Im my own worst enemy obviously.  I couldn't do anything for the first seven months of this year so I feel im packing it all into the last 5 months!   When you have been faced with the very real situation that your life could be cut short, not once but three times if kind of makes you feel like you have to make the most out of every day.  Theres a lot of life out there to be had, places to go, people to see, things to experience it and I want to do it all!!!
the good news is, I've read other blogs and a lot of people feel this way.  Having cancer and loosing people along the way does make you look at life differently, it does make you want to live life to the full, but by doing just that, you then realise just how much you don't want to leave it. It makes you realise how precious life is, how we need to live our dreams as much as we can and fit as much into life as we can.  Just maybe not all at once though.  Time is a great healer (apparently) so im banking on that helping me and sorting me out.  This cancer malarkey to be quite frank is a bloody pain in the arse and a major  inconvenience for all involved!
I know I will pick myself up, I have good people around me, maybe I need to be more honest when they ask me how I am, come out from behind the brave face and admit that im not feeling great, I do need a hug and I do need to slow down.   Its hard though, I don't like the thought of people worrying about me.  But still, its very nearly Christmas, time to shut down for a couple of weeks and for the Burton family its time for the holiday of a lifetime ready to pick our selves up, dust ourselves down and be ready for whatever 2016 decides to bring us.

Big love to all those that take time out to love and care for me.
I couldn't do it without you.

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