Life before cancer was 100 mph and everything I did was with 110% effort. Really – it was, I was like zooooooooooooooooooooom, and pit stops here and there to grab a bar of chocolate to refuel and 16 hour days of combining way too many job titles and a blur of distractions. Jager bombs and smiley smokes blocked out bad work days- and giggly memories of the weekends helped me to get through Monday’s. Was I happy ? Yes, in my way. I was juggling the day job with my therapy work, that was expanding and I was at a crossroads of where I wanted my career to go. Life was very much about my career too, as it made me or used to make me feel good about myself , until the year of brutal restructures that left me gagging to get out and stop being a leader. Let’s be independent and not responsible for others for a while. Great idea !! So I was heading down the practitioner role to get away from the demands of my heavy burdens of managing people and resources and still having a soul in a sector where most are now pale, clammy and self centred ‘yes’ people. Mehhhhhh .Alpha bitches dominate in flight sock meetings, full of self importance and seemingly more important than anything else in the whole, entire universe, shame they didn’t disappear into super massive black holes !! Massage was my escape from hell and I loved it.
Cancer called a time out on this unhealthy lifestyle of neglect and discontent and wasn’t I grateful for it in a strange and bizarre way after the first few weeks of absolute shock of the diagnosis hit me ? Not in all avenues, it was a rude and uninvited visitor, not guest, not made that welcome to stay !! Not that I wanted the cancer – I wanted the career break ! Ok, a career break in Thailand with out chemo would have been better, however it has to be said that after the shock waves had hit and the sea calmed before the real treatment began I had time to appreciate the benefits of not being in the pressure cooker at work and being given me time to reflect and rethink. F**K Work was the motto before being replaced by F**k Cancer. The summer had some distinct and happy memories fuelled by the threat of a life limiting illness, the brakes came off (as did my boob) and I lived, accepted invitations and took chances, really lived.
I would agree that in keeping with my optimistic nature I made the best of a bad deal and my early days of my cancer career break and adjustment weren’t so bad. Always look on the bright side of life…de do ! I enjoyed reading time, eating, not dashing around and the quality time with friends that cancer brought to visit & support me. I enjoyed getting to know me and what I did and didn’t want, obviously priority became living and defeating cancer very quickly ! I met new friends online in advance of the real battle and that’s where changes occur. Joining the cancer community early on in my diagnosis and bobbing along in that sea of support was incredibly useful and became day to day life as the chemo took old and the winter set in.
My real life friends were there in person, ok, well some vanished and some became closer, and yet you really shared the fears and sleepless nights full of side effects with your new peers. This was the time for them to come into their own, as they experienced things along side you or slightly ahead of you. The new friends held your hand tightly on appointment days, results days, shared the fear of side effects and the laughs of embarrassing bodily functions or changes or facebook messaging on the nights full of insomnia.Empathy in numbers !!
Treatment ends and the wobbly Bambi like legs are teetering forward and you are met by both sets of friends. The original G’s and the newbies united in celebrating the end of months of cut, poison and burn. The newbies fresh hair growth and unsteadiness are walking beside you and understanding the highs and lows you are feeling better than anyone else possibly can. The Ol G’s , well some gave up trying to understand back at the beginning, some disappeared half way through, some fell at the final fence, it was like Cancer’s version of the Grand National. As let’s face it being a friend of someone with cancer is exhausting isn’t it ? Having to think about someone else or having to stifle your own fear or emotions when seeing them during treatment is sooooo hard. She snorts in a jovial way ! Maybe it’s better out of sight and out of mind. Like Marilyn Monroe said, if you can’t cope with me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best’. Now run along and delete me from your contacts too … And so you’re back, From outer space…..
I just walked in to find you here, With that sad look upon your face…when I start to look for like ‘me’ in a few months time. KMT.
It’s very wise to consider in life the ones that stayed and not concern yourself with the dearly departed/exited friends. I remind myself that life is a relay race, so the baton gets exchanged and people will pop up throughout. So I guess the previous paragraph sounded ungrateful or sulky, indulge me, it’s not written with malice, purely my reasoning of change, which is where the changing of the guards comes in. Maybe everyone in life really is for a reason, season or lifetime. Reasons will happen and go once you realise what they were, like the person you meet who says’ there is a bus coming – look out ! Seasons well, they last the time they are meant to and give you a longer period of time or more lasting lesson you need to learn and those lifers, they are have that message or purpose that needs to be there beside you for as long as you both shall live.
With a return to work imminent , will the guards change again ? Now that I am feeling so much stronger and I’m building up my atrophied legs to a more grounded fighter’s stance will I lose some of the new friends that we made along the way ? I cut off my Macland account weeks back as felt I needed to move on and away from it. Is this part of recovery, cutting the ropes of support bit by bit, taking off your stabilisers and facing the world again ? Will the sea weeds of work and the commitments it brings drag me to another level and restrict my time with my friends once again, and won’t we all be back running on different treadmills ? The commitments and circles of old life drag us back in ?
Now in some respects I see this is a validation that I have graduated from cancer camp and it’s a sign that I’m well enough to return to ‘normal’ , a new normal sure, that incorporates healthier options, boundaries and fresh coating of fear – do not waste precious time, kind of fear. It also includes a balance of old and new, as that’s what I am after all. What’s meant to be will remain and what’s not will disappear.
Time is the most precious thing we can give one another, not only does time reveal who is meant to be in your life, but it is also made to be shared with others that matter to you. So here’s to managing and prioritising time to spend with loved ones and friends.
Here’s to a new restored and healthier me ❤