Tuesday, 19 April 2011

how am I?

How am I REALLY you ask? Well! Well…

A lot of people have asked recently; "how are you doing really?" by DM's, messages and comments, as I suppose most of my blog posts now are 'normal' stuff – fund raising, Kenya cycle, kittens [translate as Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan in fur], my dad dying and sundry other blathering. The blog isn't really a 'cancer' blog any more. Yay me – it's a survivor blog. Happy day.

I forget to 'report back' and I know the people who follow this blog would like to know quite where I am. Because they are either going through what I went through, or worse. Probably worse. 
So. Ok. You want it, you get it :)
I have FINALLY started to feel 'normal' again after all this time. If I think about cancer it is mostly in relation to the cycle and my fund raising. I think I may have walked [walked? fought!! swearing all the way!] out of the fugue that is a cancer dx, chemo and the horrible and [barely noticeable when you're in it] aftershock. It has taken what? Feb 2008 until now…over 3 years. Physically, definitely. I am now strong again where I was so, so weak and exhausted. I never thought I'd be able to do the things I do now…ever again.

But I did struggle to get here – I did circuit training classes. I have been doing high intensity spinning classes. I dislike both – I am not Sporty Spice – my ideal is to loll about and read a book, drink some wine, have a cigarette. But I forced myself – and I mean, really. I had to FORCE myself to do these things. Plus last year was a nightmare as far as earning money was concerned – BUT, I think everything happens for a reason – I was cleaning 2 bed chalets, hauling laundry, digging gardens…the first few weeks of the chalet cleaning I used to cry making the beds, as the laundry was so heavy that I was in agony. But over last summer, I got strong. And I intend to remain that way. Winter, I was carrying tons of laundry on my head through 11 inches of snow for Pete's sake…even people who've never had chemo etc would struggle with that. My bloody feet and hands were blue! But I did it. And this may sound facetious, but I am quite proud of myself for that. I am.

Thinking back for this post, which I can honestly say I rarely do now, makes me feel a little sick. It makes me feel like crying – remembering the horrible exhaustion; the pain during chemo which I tried [I think I failed!] to play down – the horror of having no hair [which now seems so silly – but at the time it really was a serious nightmare. And I know I'm not alone in this!]…the every day terror of the next chemo, the next CA 125 result. Ugh. Smashing my head open and needing stitches  when I passed out - luckily that only happened to me once. My friend Tracey stills suffers with that 'side effect'. Hoo. Enough of that! Now I am stopping with the memory BS. It's not worth it. Other than to gauge how far I have come.

I have 'proper' work now. Graphic design, freelance, but still, work I know I can do well – thank God for that. I am so grateful. It's non stop, and it's taking me a while to get back into the throes of it – in fact, that's crap – I've NEVER worked like this! It's a frenzy from morning until night – a lot of the work we do is for newspapers and publications – sometimes a job comes in, and has a deadline of 30 minutes…NOT at all like the sedate and cumbersome pace I knew at Cinca. I am now a whirling dervish! And the chemo brain is extremely frustrating. But it seems to be improving. Or I am getting better at taking notes?

And. A lot of people have NOT asked how I am. Which sometimes strikes me as odd, as I know very well that in an inverse situation I would ask. But then again, I have the 'advantage' of having had cancer – it makes me so open to other people's problems. IF they want. But, *sigh*, it's to be expected I suppose – some people seem to think that once you've got your hair back you're fine, and should 'get over yourself'. Hmm. If only it were that simple. If only there was NO chance of a recurrence eh? If only.


  1. Perhaps those who don't ask are seeing how well you are and are afraid they will bring you down. Of course, there are those who are just self-centered too!

    Even though it's painful for you to remember where you were, it has to be wonderful to see how far you've come.

    You are, indeed, a survivor!

  2. Cancer is a diagnosis that stays with us forever. How are we really - most people don't want to know and if they ask on a down day wish they hadn't. It is easier for them to believe that once we have our hair back we're back. You have travelled a long way and given hope and courage to many who have read your blog and drawn inspiration from your words, wise, witty and sometimes sad but never self pitying.

    From one survivor to another - stand tall and be proud you are one special lady.


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