Yes, if you’re a fan of Belle and Sebastian you might have noticed a theme in these blog post names! This is not accidental.
I’ve never been a huge fan of the metaphor of cancer as a fight or a battle. It works for many people, but not really for me, though it’s so ingrained in our language. Part of the reason it doesn’t work for me (or the situation I’m in) is because someone has to lose a fight. We can hope it’s the cancer, and sometimes it is. Sometimes, though, it isn’t.
That metaphor doesn’t really reflect my feelings about it either. Like the title of this blog post suggests, it feels a lot more like a rollercoaster. Appropriately, I’ve never liked rollercoasters, especially that bit where you go upwards very slowly! It feels right as a metaphor though – once you start, you can’t get off, and you just have to stay and see what happens. However much you dislike it, there’s no point in saying ‘can someone else do this?’or ‘actually, I’ve got other plans, I want to get off now.’ I’ve had to not go to wonderful friends’ important occasions, like weddings and baby showers, and have had to withdraw from festivals and planned conferences. I’ve really enjoyed living vicariously through photos and stories though!
I’ve also had to stop doing my PhD, and I’ll probably write more about this at a later date. Those who do or have done PhDs will doubtless be fully aware of the multiple conflicting things that it can do to your identity and sense of self.
It is hard not being able to go to things, though at the time of writing, I’m hoping to get to Twycross Zoo today – I’ve been told it’s wheelchair accessible, which is something I ashamedly was very bad at noticing before I needed one. I’m also hoping to get a surprise visit tonight from one of my oldest friends. Tomorrow might well be an exhausted day, but if everything goes to plan, (insofar as plans are possible at the moment!) today should be lovely. And one thing at a time is the motto at the moment!
Perhaps even more relevantly, I’m already discovering that there are ups and downs. One day I can be feeling relatively fine, eating properly and up for most of the day, even going out occasionally or having visitors. The next I might end up in hospital having been very sick, as happened last week. I am hopeful for more of the former (and fortunately, at the moment it certainly seems to have been a streak of ‘good’ days) but who knows what the road ahead holds? Taking it a step at a time is all I can do, and while that doesn’t come naturally to me at all, perhaps it’s a skill I’m discovering. Remembering to pace myself and that ‘good’ is relative is also hard, but it is a skill I am trying to learn.
(A bonus picture of my kitten, Arya, in a cardboard (empty!) sick bowl. She ate part of it and promptly was sick afterwards! We tried to stop her, honest…)