Saturday, 10 February 2018

Flying Solo

I'm very fond of my own company. I have never been afraid of solitude, sometimes relishing it so much that I might appear unfriendly or rude. I just really like silence and free space to think and absolute personal freedom. 

Where the diddly-feck am I going to get that then, with a husband, a job (that by its nature requires there to be another person in the room) and three needy need-sponges. 

Through a clash of scheduling there arose a situation where I went one way, my children went another, and my spouse went to a fancy restaurant with his dad. 

I travelled backroads in the dusk, roads that I have known since I was a child and yet I asked Little Miss iPhone for her assistance. She is irritatingly wrong-but-right. I listened to 76 minutes of a rugby match, got out of the car at a garage, got back in, heard the commentator lose his nut and then opened the door (thus turning off the radio) just as the ball went over the bar. (Watching that in French is wickedly sublime).

I joined a social occasion, in a place with which I am increasingly familiar and with faces that I have been looking at now for over twenty years. While the hair distribution has changed, the giggles remain the same. 

What I enjoyed most of all though was hearing new stories. 
[*Corn-alert*]  Listening to people, and finding out more about how others live their lives, is really quite enjoyable.

Yeah so I'm supposed to do that all the time at work, but that's an uneven transaction; they tell me what I need to hear in order to help them. Or I ask them questions and only listen to the answers I want to hear.*

But I've become genuinely interested in other peoples' lives. Possibly because I drone on and on about my own now, and I'm bored to tears. Or, subconsciously, maybe I'm storing up interesting stories to write about...

I probably didn't spend enough time catching up with my old buddies but, it seems, they are in it for the long haul and we will meet again soon enough (camping in the back garden guys; it's in the diary. And now the blog. Nailed on.) 
And I'll be back for the Rooibos.

Anyway, I liked being master of how late I was going to stay up and how many pints I was going to drink and what side of the bed I was going to sleep on. Just for one night though. Trusty companions have their place in the world, after all. 

*I like this from Joanna Cannon's "The Trouble with Goats and Sheep"

And I like this from the Waterboys. It's not about me, like. It's just lovely. 

Sunday, 28 January 2018

My Brain is Full

Too much stuff going on.

I have to keep most of it in, because of patient confidentiality/loyalty/employment law/defamation/tact (hah! me??)/fear of finally, finally getting carted away by the white-coat lads

Elder care
Sore shoulder
Sore neck
Car rental
Ski socks
School books
Email the lady to give out
Email the man to please fix our house without breaking my heart
Phone the insurance company again because I don't believe what they said the first time
Don't stop
Keep going
Keep it under control
Sleep, for the love of god
Stop staying for the love of god, it's confusing the children
Decide if I did like the movie or not
Despair about the shafted doctor
Regain the fire in the belly (you'd think the radiotherapy would have done that for me)
Think positive thoughts
Be critical
Be hopeful
Be kind
Buy new clothes
Care more
Care less
Eat more bloody vegetables - I'm not going to "beat the odds" without the flipping kale
Let go
Take it back




Saturday, 13 January 2018


I wrote before about having middle-class guilt.

Now I have acquired another strain, of the survivor's variety. 
This is a common phenomenon; research articles and personal stories abound. 
So it's a thing, and I have a dose of it. It's one of those vicious circle ones - the more you think about it, the worse it gets.

Why am I doing so well, after getting a diagnosis that generally means it's all over? 
Even if/when it does go belly-up, I have had such good quality of life in the past three years (she says in rose-tinted hindsight), that I really can't complain. 

I have embraced social media for contacting and engaging with fellow cancerheads. It's been very reassuring and comforting to hear other people's stories and share experiences. But I feel like an imposter now, because I'm not receiving any treatment, I don't take any meds, I forget to get my bloods done, and scans have become so routine now I am back to enjoying them again (almost). 

The downside to making a load of new virtual friends with terminal cancer is, well, that they die. Or get sicker. Or go through the hell of repeated bad news. I feel that my story might be a comfort to them, but it could also just be a kick in the teeth. "Yeah yeah, bully for you with your miraculous recovery, you poxy wench", I hear them say (in me head). It is very upsetting to hear of people who have been in a similar boat to me, but theirs has capsized and is foundering. 

I have met the relatives of people whose cancer experience was just plain hard all the way to the end. There were no glimpses of light at the end of the tunnel, no moments of joyous dancing with their hands up in the air. Just pain and suffering and hard bloody work. 

So I feel bad that I feel good. And I worry about saying that, in case I jinx things.