Tuesday, 16 October 2007

cancer and other stuff

This morning I read a post by a very brave lady, evening, whose blog I have only just become privileged enough to read. Although I have known of her for some time through other blogs I read. She got me thinking about how Cancer has affected my life.

In some ways I think I am lucky. I am lucky that I had cancer. A strange sentiment I know. I am lucky because before I found out I had cancer I was just drifting through life without living. When I was told that I had cancer and what treatment was being proposed all I could think about was

I will have to take a few weeks off work!!

I wasn’t worried that I would die, I wasn’t worried about the treatment, I was worried about telling my boss I needed time off work. I had no intention of dying, I had 4 young sons who needed me. I had a husband who couldn’t manage without me, not that he had realised this before.

I wouldn’t recommend anyone goes through cancer treatment if they can prevent it. But as I did go through it and survived, I figured that I had been given a second chance to live. Once I had got my strength back which took months (I was actually off work for 9 months not a few weeks). I did the classic re evaluation of my life.

I began to think about the things I would like to do while I am still on this earth. I started off thinking about the big things but decided that it isn’t the big things that are important. I could do the grand gestures like freefalling from a plane or climbing mount Everest. But to me it was more important to appreciate the little things like enjoying my children. I got involved in a local soccer club that my boys belonged to. I didn’t want to be one of the parents who drop their children off but don’t see their achievements. I didn’t know how much longer I would have, I didn’t know if the cancer would come back. I wanted to make sure that what ever happened my boys could look back and say ‘my mum was there…..she saw the goals I scored/saved’.
So I got involved with the teams, I became the club fundraiser, then the club secretary, finally the club chairperson. I wanted not only to be there for my own children but to put something back into society, to give local children a chance to follow their dreams. I knew everyone of those boys and girls, I enjoyed being someone they could talk to. Someone they looked upto.

In other areas I wanted to appreciate nature, I tried to go for country walks but my children were not very co-operative. I love to hear bird song, the rustle of the breeze in the trees. I changed my route to work so that instead of driving along boring built up roads I drove along lanes and past the sea. I love to drive with the windows open so I can feel the breeze in my hair. I love the feel of rain in my face, (unless I am on my way to a posh event or a hot date).

Over the years people have told me that I am a strong woman, a survivor. To me that is a very strange thing to say. Why am I called a survivor? I don’t have any choice. What are my options? In all the problems in my life……..heart break, cancer, divorce etc I have been told I am a survivor. I just get on with what I have to do. How do you not survive. It isn’t easy, it isn’t pleasant but its life. I don’t know how not to survive. I get things wrong, I make a mess of my life, but I am still alive. I can choose to be miserable or I can choose to make the best of things. But in what way is that being a survivor? I can’t choose not to survive, it just happens. When I was going through the divorce and all the harassment/intimidation I was told how strong I was. Teachers, police officers everyone told me they admired how strong I was. What choice did I have, I had to keep everything together for my children. I didn’t feel strong, I felt weak, I wanted someone to hold me and make it better, but there was no one. So I just had to get on with it.

Now I feel as though I have come out the other end of it. I am still struggling but that is a financial struggle now. I have been happier in the last 18 months than in most of my life. I am getting back into working regularly, the boys are growing into intelligent and pleasant young men, on the whole my health is good although I have bad spells. I was given the all clear from cancer in September 2001. I have been having regular checks since then, only once a year now. I am on hormone treatment to prevent me getting cancer of the womb. I feel that my cancer has gone but it till affects me every day of my life. It isn’t something that I focus on and there are days weeks when I don’t think about it. It is a part of my history, part of the person I am today. It is not something I can take away.

I was talking to forest earlier this evening about my problems with having a very shallow cervix following my radiotherapy. Oxo is determined to rectify this problem. I was saying to forest that although a few months ago my lack of depth did bother me, now, I have learnt that it isn’t a problem, I know I can give and receive pleasure anyway. Which forest confirmed.

Now I have run out of steam so I shall shut up.


Evening said...

This is a wonderful post. You are an inspiration as not only a woman that survived cancer but as a woman in who took charge of her own life and made it what she wanted it to be.
A friend today that told me I was strong and someone to be admired for taking on cancer and coming out of it a survivor. I made the same point as you did here. It wasn't a choice, I didn't do anything except what I had to do. There was no great feat involved in getting through for me, it was only you get through or you don't.
But LIR, what makes you an survivor and an inspiration is the fact that you took control and made a conscience choice to make your life happy.
I will look to you for inspiration and motivation. I will aspire to make a choice to be happy and live well. Just like you.
Thank you Lady In Red. I am so glad you took the time to write this post. It means something.

ronjazz said...

Let me offer this to you, young lady...There is ALWAYS a choice. We don't always like the choices given to us, but they're real The choice you were faced with was between surviving or not. And YOU made that choice. With your body, your spirit, your children, your outlook and your desire to live. Now you have to know that makes you a hell of a woman. One I'm proud to call a friend.

her indoors said...

of course you are a survivor, not only did you choose to be strong, although you probably didnt think so, you fought, you became invloved with life that so many of us just take for granted, and you came out a winner, that is a survivor.
this is a very heart touching post thank you for sharing x

BBC said...

I'm sorry that you have cancer. My dad died of it at 44. I don't know what I will die of, I don't tend to sit around and worry about such things.

Shoot, I've already lived much longer than I ever expected to. And death really isn't a concept to me anyway.

Anyway, I hope that you feel good tomorrow and have a great day, hugs.

DJ Kirkby said...

I love your statement 'what choice did I have but to survive? What other option was there?' brilliant. Nipper pic is gorgeous. xo

Vi vi vi vooom!!!!!!!! said...

Yep lady, You fought it, and you won. Well done you!

Miss Understood said...

I've come here from Evening's...and I'm so glad I did. What an amazing post. You chose to take control of your life and live it. To do the things which make you happy. To be there for the people you love. And when you were diagnosed, you chose to fight it.

A few years ago, someone I knew who was a pub landlady...full of fun and so happy and bubbly...was found by her husband, dead in the car in their garage. She'd committed suicide using the exhaust fumes. Next to her was a letter for her husband and two little girls explaining why she had done it, and telling them how much she loved them, and that she was sorry.
The reason?
She'd been diagnosed with cancer, and she just couldn't face it. She was absolutely terrified. So she ended it all.


toby said...

As ronjazz says, you did have a choice. Your boys are lucky to have a mum with the courage to do what is best for them.

Emma said...

Lady, thanks for sharing that with us and more so thanks for making the choice to be the survivor you are, where would we be without you?..(((Hugs))) xxx

nitebyrd said...

Let me add my thanks for an inspiring post.

My daughter, just now 30, is a breast cancer survivor. Her attitude is like yours. I rejoice in the fact that she, as you did, made that choice to live and to get the most life has to offer.

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