It is the eve before. Archie is nowhere to be found and the 5th of August is my cancerversary.
A year ago, I was catapulted onto a path I didn’t choose and had no desire to follow. But here I am in August 2020 and about to complete the journey. It’s been one hell of a ride and I am glad it’s almost over. I look back on all that’s happened and can hardly believe it did. “It’s not going to be a walk in the park,” Dr G said on the day she walked me to the chemo room. And it wasn’t.
When I replay the journey in my mind’s eye, I remember all the fear and apprehension. I pause at the near death experience and then flick forward to the next red devil encounter. Yes, there were some pretty hairy moments and no I wasn’t sure I’d survive them all. But I linger on the memories that are filled with love. The oncology team at Vincent Pallotti and The Kingsbury showered me with meticulous caring. My family and friends rallied in astounding ways. I never experienced a single treatment on my own. In fact, I often erred on the side of too many visitors at one time. And I made new friends too – fellow travellers who inspired me and cheered me on from week to week. I looked forward to seeing them. We shared intimate details of our own journeys.
I could not have done without the big guns of medicine. Similarly, I needed my own cobbled together approach. Conversations with God, meditation, homeopathy, hypnotherapy, reiki and energy clearing, expression through art, vision boards, dietary tweaks and last but not least, my body’s innate healing abilities. And Archie. I notice that he hasn’t come to treat me this morning. The urgency has gone. These days he arrives sporadically and often only for a titbit, even if he has gone a’hunting the night before. I miss the intense massages but not the reason for them. His role has truly reverted and that’s just fine by me.
It’s time to look forward now. The rest of my life is waiting. And boy, am I ready for it! Lockdown is a handbrake on celebrations of course. And quite rightly so. The Corona journey is far from over and we all need to take heed of that. But planning is not prohibited. In my head, I am seeing a pink picnic on the beach. My sulphur free bubbly has already been promised, a death- by- chocolate cake is slowly sinking in the middle due to 65 candles balancing on the fudgy icing. My family and friends are shrugging off beach wraps to dive under the waves…
I learnt so many lessons on this trip, some that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life. Cancer has changed me in a multitude of ways…too numerous to go into here. People say all sorts of things about this disease. Some even go as far as to call it a gift. The image I hold onto is of me being picked up, taken to the edge of a cliff, dangled over said edge by one foot and then asked, “Do you really want to live?”
You’ve already guessed my answer.