Thursday marked a year since the phone call that changed my life forever - the one where I was told instead of a tumour at the base of my spine or in my pelvis there were in fact tumours all over my lungs and a couple in my liver. A year of blood tests, scans, countless stays in hospital, surgery, emergency admissions, chemo, agony, bodily waste coming out of places it shouldn't and not where it should. A year where the man I loved made his choice and I wasn't it. Many, many weeks of being alone day after night after day alone with my thoughts. But it was also the year my kids came closer, growing up at the same time and giving up their time to keep me company. Where well intentioned plans to "do things" fell by the wayside as inevitably do. A few hardcore friends surprised me with their continued ability to keep me going - visits or calls that aren't made out of pity or duty. Spending time with people who understand my limits but don't draw attention to them, work around them, don't give them recognition so even I forget for a few hours.
The hard times are those I'm expected to dwell on my situation, to bemoan my lot. I'm not interested in how hard things are or have been I'm interested in right now, this minute. Why worry about what could have been? Taking advantage of everything. Am I in pain? yes - so I need to do something distracting, read a book, play a game on my phone, make something, study the birds and the insect activity in the garden. I don't need to sit (or more often lie) and concentrate on the pain, to give it recognition and let it take over.
It's hot, wonderful, I can spend most of my day revelling in the sunshine and listening to the birds, checking their nests, watching the butterflies, admiring the many shades of green in my garden, the flowers, I've even fed honey to bees who get locked in at night and are too weak to fly. Have you ever seen a bee feeding up close? No neither had I until I got cancer. Nor did I know that an admiral butterfly has a fluffy body - that I can still remember the common varieties from primary school I'm glad but I've taken to examining up close every insect that comes into the conservatory. Black jackets are like black and white wasps or hornets but they buzz quietly, have a pearlescent sheen to their bodies. I didn't know that before I got cancer.
It's raining - great I can curl up and listen to the rain on the perspex roof of the conservatory and read more books under a blanket with a mug of tea. I can make something with clay knowing it won't dry out before I've decided what I'm doing
Why are we never happy with the situation we're in, always looking for something better, but not in an ambitious way, in an ungrateful way? I don't know, but that's how I spent over 35 years of my life. I finally, really understand "stop and smell the roses", I get it. I don't just understand it, I feel it, I live it. There is so much wonder in this universe, even in the small patch of land I occupy, so much life. So here's to another year of enjoying it.
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