It’s been a long time since I posted on this blog but I’m sure that those of you who’ve had cancer will understand why. There comes a time when you have to switch off from that somewhat grisly conversation with disease and get on with the business of living, armed of course with the learnings, lessons and experiences you’ve found along the way to keep you well.
Today I return though to celebrate and reflect.
It’s been 10 years since my journey began. Ten years since my relationship with that offensive lump changed the course of my life forever.
I still don’t like saying the word. You know, that C word. The one that can subdue a conversation the moment it’s mentioned; that lingers in the air like smoke until an inevitable platitude of sorts shifts talk to something else. Easier to chat about the weather, politics, family; anything other than our own human frailty.
I would like to say that I’m as far away from that experience as I can be, but to be honest, whilst the cinematic horror of that time is tucked neatly away in a place that I would prefer not to revisit, memories have a way of nosing their way into our reality when least expected.
I’m not going there today though. I’m here to celebrate.
I’m told that I now slot firmly back into the general populace, with the same risk of cancer as everyone else but for whom is that reassuring? What about the doctor who told me that having had it once means that my body has a propensity towards that trajectory. Or the hospital I visit for yearly mammograms that initially made me feel as if they were touting for return business.
Too fatalistic to sound like celebration? Not really. My journey in wellness hasn’t been about dismissing what I would prefer not to hear. Quite the opposite. I work instead on arming myself with the knowledge and information that will allow me to have some measure of control over my “physical destiny.” More reassuring to believe that it’s in my hands.
I’m very grateful to be here; ecstatic in fact to be so far removed from that gut-wrenching moment when I realised that there actually was something under my skin that shouldn’t be there; something that I couldn’t ignore. It’s taught me vigilance about every aspect of my body, health and wellbeing; about the need to be happy; about mindfulness and the precious gift of each day and those that I hold dearly.
I know that so many have not survived this journey; that so many are facing their own battles right now. For me, time may have diluted the past but it can never efface it. It’s marked indelibly on my psyche, part of my vernacular even if I try to limit that to my own internal conversations.
Time to shake off my retrospection though. I can’t change what’s happened. I know though how much it’s changed me and continues to shape my direction. That’s my focus. My celebration.