My Three Year Tumourversary

Today marks the three year anniversary of being admitted into hospital, rushed into a CT scan and told ‘there’s something in your head’. This may seem an odd thing to celebrate, but I think it would feel more odd to ignore it. Celebrating it also means I get cake (currently being made by my mum – she has promised a chocolate banana brain cake!) All celebrations should involve cake.There are several things to celebrate today, mostly that I’m still alive! I also feel stronger than I did, even if everytime someone or something touches my skin I bruise. I’ve been able to attend Zoom conferences and use my brain – this is tiring but makes me feel good, even though I’m just listening to other people sharing their ideas. I’m also reading a lot, as I blogged about the other day. In fact, my tumourversary present to myself (which arrived today!) is a very big pile of books!(From top to bottom:
A Theatre for Dreamers, Polly Samson
Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman
A Discovery of Witches, Deborah Harkness
Blonde Roots, Bernadine Evaristo
Soul Tourists, Bernadine Evaristo
Wicked, Gregory Maguire
Persepolis, Marjane Satrabi
Made in Scotland, Billy Connolly
Brit(ish), Afua Hirsch
The Story of Silence, Alex Myers
That Reminds Me, Derek Owusu)Hopefully these keep me going for a while!There are obviously things that are not so worthy of celebration – being so sick that you end up in hospital twice on quick succession, losing the independence you had, not being able to nip out to go to a shop or see friends, having much of your identity ripped away from you. But I am trying to focus today on the positives, of which the most important one is, of course, Arya, who is currently catnapping on my lap!I’ve begun using the abbreviations BC and AD (Before Christ and Anno Domini) to mean Before Cancer and After Diagnosis. Strictly speaking, it wasn’t until after the biopsy that I knew what kind of tumour it was, and it had probably been there for a while before July, so there was a liminal period where I knew I was ill but not why.I don’t remember very much about Diagnosis Day – I’ve told the story so many times I’m not sure which parts I actually remember happening and which parts I just know did. This is especially true for the time after my first operation – I can’t remember how long I was in hospital for and when I got moved from one ward to another.Obviously most people have been on lockdown recently – for me, that doesn’t actually mean an awful lot has changed (although I will be glad when I can get to garden centres and restaurants again!) It does give me a slightly different perspective on it though – for me, much of this is normal life but moreso, whereas for those who have dependents or are working, the change in how things work and what they are doing must be really difficult to handle. Not being able to see people is hard too – because I live with my parents I’ve been able to see them, but not having visitors is difficult – I’ve found social media a godsend over the last three years but the last few months in particular.I’m going to finish by sharing one of my favourite photos from when I was in hospital in Italy. It’s of me and my brothers – on that ward I was only allowed one visitor at a time so Dave had to stand on the doorway to take the photo while Nathan was next to me (in my very fashionable hospital gown and bandages!)
Update: here is a photo of the (very tasty) cake my mum made!


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