Hello friends, it’s been a while but here I am still alive and kicking.
Recently I went for my six month checks, a CT scan with iodine marker for my lungs and a month later an MRI scan for my liver. It’s funny, as I approached this milestone I was totally thrown back to the first tests I had when they discovered I had cancer. The same deep seated dread, the mental turmoil, like a hurricane in my head (picture the Wizard of Oz scene with houses and cows spinning around) infecting my every waking moment and also some bladder trembling nightmares.
It’s really hard to keep the thin mask of normality in place while all this is going on and some days it slipped. The trouble is, that after the ‘big’ news of cancer and then the apparent miracle cure, everyone else seems to accelerate into the distance as they continue with their normal-speed lives, leaving you behind with your ‘revised’ view of life and death, like a Sunday driver on a busy weekday motorway.
My six month CT scan was done by the same person who gave me such good advice so many months ago, when we both thought I was going to die. She didn’t remember me at first but her eyes suddenly lit up when I reminded her. I let her know how grateful I was for changing my life with a few simple words and for taking the time out of her busy day to comfort a scared man. Her eyes filled with tears as she smiled and wished me well, it felt good to give something back, I will never forget her.
My Dad died…it was just the other day. He was 92.
That’s how it can be, abrupt, peaceful, soul ripping and silence.
I need to adjust…again.
The approach of Christmas marks another year almost as certainly as New Year itself and I have changed. It is for the better, there are so many things I feel grateful for. My new perspectives are certainly more real and not the sugar candied versions of the marketing people or popular culture. I pay more attention to family and people in general. I pay a lot less attention to self perpetuating, self important beings at work. Bless them, they can’t help it, but I’ve grown beyond them. I try to be kinder to myself, those that love me and even people I don’t know.
In some ways, this year has been like Dickens’ ‘Christmas Carol’, starring me as Scrooge, my divorce as the ghost of Christmas past, Cancer as the ghost of Christmas present and my family and loved ones, the ghost of Christmases yet to come. Does cancer change you? Yes it does, but not always for the worse. Does it change those around you? Yes, and it’s important that they get my support when they don’t know what to say, or how to make me feel better when I have sunk to such depths, that fishes have lights on their noses.
Like a child, I am looking forward to Christmas, the magic it brings and the spirit of being alive. I wish you love, whether you are a friend or just a casual reader, but above all, make use of the 25,000 days in your life, don’t waste any of them.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.