Well I’ll admit I am a little emotional today, and its understandable. A year ago today, the 19th of September 2011 I was diagnosed with cancer, as you know, but lets not look at the sad things, as my Mum keeps saying – look to the future.
Who would have thought, a year later, here I am – with a great job, a wonderful boyfriend who has insanely not only stuck by me but continued to love me even more (sickening huh!? Promise not to be so soppy throughout) and I am happy, more secure in myself than I have ever been. A little chubby but grateful, not grateful I guess for having cancer but maybe grateful for it – my life has changed and for the better.
The long term goal of weight loss is still there and hopefully when I write this post again next year I will have lost it. I’ve still not met Gary Barlow or visited Coronation Street and now my hair has grown, I no longer look like the girl with cancer who people will sympathise with, so those dreams might not happen.
I’ve been in remission now nearly six months. And I’ve managed to squeeze in a few holidays and I have a few more to go before the end of the year. Seeing the world is my priority – before I have a baby – but I never know when or if this will strike again. If it does, I’m ready and I know I can cope with it. Six months ago I wouldn’t have said that, straight after radiotherapy, I would have refused treatment if the cancer had come back but now, its like a distant memory.
The cancer seems like a bad dream, people talk about when they have a baby but they blank out the actual birth. I have almost blanked out the six months of treatment and the radiotherapy. It almost seems like it happened to someone else or I watched it on TV – its weird. Straight after treatment finished I moved house which I think helped a lot, all the old memories and sadness was left with my old flat.
Richard and I were only talking last night about it all, neither of us know how we did it, during it, I never once questioned it, I just got on with it and knew I had to do it but now when you look back, it was horrible. It was much bigger and much harder than I gave it credit for.
Jeez, I’m going to say it, I’m so fucking proud of myself for getting through it and for everyone that got through it with me. I know it wasn’t easy for my family and friends and know I was probably a drain on a lot of you but you stood by me and supported me every step of the way and I feel blessed for knowing such amazing people that could help me.
My world changed overnight, its funny, I will never forget this time last year and what happened the next day. You don’t prepare yourself for it, I don’t think I have told many people this but the day after I was diagnosed, I got up and went into work. I didn’t have to, I just didn’t know any different and didn’t know what to do. Rich wasn’t around as he was on holiday so I went to work. That night it hit me more and that week it started sinking in.
I can’t believe how my day to day life changed, the days spent in bed because I was too tired or sick to move. The fact my hair fell out – must admit that was a really hard thing to happen. And then now looking back and seeing the horrific pictures of how I looked. I remember thinking throughout, I wonder if I can ever go back to normal.
The steroids massively messed my head up – made me sluggish, made my personality change, made me paranoid, think all the time, I did lose my spark – despite wonderful people telling me I hadn’t. And my body changed so much but the steroids gave me the strength to fight the disease.
I remember daily looking forward to hospital visits knowing the quicker they were done and out of the way, the sooner I could get on with my life. I am so fortunate to get my life back. I am so genuinely so grateful I have fought this disease for now. Every day though I will think about what happened but it doesn’t get in the way or stop me doing anything.
A lesson for me and for anyone is to live life and do what you want to do – its something I find I tell people in life now, if I don’t see that they are happy, I tell them to make themselves happy. Everyone should do all the things they have on their life’s to do list. Mine are mainly places to visit and trust, I’ve booked a lot of them already!
I look at how I look now and the steroid face weight is going and I’m almost getting back to the averagely pretty girl I used to be. If you have time, scroll down to my pictures in March and April and look at how fat my face was and how it is now. Richard – I don’t know how you could even kiss me like that!
Me then –
Me now –
There’s an online, I guess you’d call it a vault, an online vault where you are asked 10 questions every year (its here in case I am not making sense! http://www.doyou10q.com/login) and you send your answers away and a year later those answers are sent to you, its meant to remind you of where you are and where you have come. A week after I was diagnosed, I answered my 10 questions and sent the answers away, last week, for some reason, they sent them me early. Here is what I wrote, I wonder what I will write in a year –
Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?
Last week I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphona – pretty significant. Feel numb, on auto pilot to get through it. I am worried and just want to fight it and cannot wait for it to be over
Is there something that you wish you had done differently this past year? Alternatively, is there something you’re especially proud of from this past year?
I want to be more secure and in future I want to work on that. I am so proud of my relationship, I am so happy to have met Richard and for his support. I want to work on that and continue to make it stronger and more secure.
My life has changed in the last two weeks with the cancer. Before now, I probably had a lot of things I wish I had done differently. I couldn’t have prevented the cancer so am grateful I have found it.
I love my friends, my boyfriend, my life, even my family, my job.
I am proud of my job and where I have got to, the amazing people I have had the joy of working with and when I am better want to continue to be good at what I do.
Think about a major milestone that happened with your family this past year. How has this affected you?
I hate to have all the attention but think my cancer has been a horrific milestone. I hope by next year we are over it
Describe an event in the world that has impacted you this year. How? Why?
Well the passing of the 10th anniversary of September 11th was poignant, I watched a few films and documentaries which were very interesting. (note today, this question and answer is highly irrelevant but thought I better leave it in….! I’m deep in thought lol!)
Have you had any particularly spiritual experiences this past year? How has this experience affected you? “Spiritual” can be broadly defined to include secular spiritual experiences: artistic, cultural, and so forth.
Not that I can think of.
Describe one thing you’d like to achieve by this time next year. Why is this important to you?
Being free from cancer and still in my relationship. I would say weight loss or travelling the world but the biggest thing to me is surviving this disease right now and being happy with Richard – he is just wonderful.
How would you like to improve yourself and your life next year? Is there a piece of advice or counsel you received in the past year that could guide you?
Myself – I would like to be thinner, I have always wanted to be a size 10. However I don’t think I ever will. Also there are more important things in life.
I want to be more secure with my looks.
Once rid of cancer, I want to be healthier. Think that will do. Spend time on health and fitness.
Is there something (a person, a cause, an idea) that you want to investigate more fully in 2012?
I want to give back something to my friends for what they have done for me during my Chemo months.
I also want to raise money for MacMillan who gave me money during the Chemo months.
I will probably find more that I want to thank.
What is a fear that you have and how has it limited you? How do you plan on letting it go or overcoming it in the coming year?
My fear used to be cancer but now I am here, I hope to get over that fear.
When September 2012 rolls around and you receive your answers to your 10Q questions, how do you think you’ll feel? What do you think/hope might be different about your life and where you’re at as a result of thinking about and answering these questions?
I hope I am cancer free. That is all I want.
What are your predictions for 2012?I say it a lot but thank you, to everyone who got me through it and who was there for me. I couldn’t have done it without you. And you know who you are.
I am hoping house prices go up so my current place is worth more!
Would quite like a book deal too for my cancer story!
Seriously, I just want my health. That is all I care about. That and my family and friends.
Right, now better try to get through the day without crying…. Mission Impossible I fear. Probably Mission Impossible 2 as that is one my favourites.
Oh and just had a text from my friend Alice and already crying again. My brother and Mum started me off this morning… I’m not sure why I’m so emotional!!!!
Anyway no more tears, tiny tears