Today marks the end of my first three years of treatment following my breast cancer diagnosis. It was just before Christmas 2010 that I learnt that my cancer would never be cured, but it could be suppressed. Even so I remember spending a very anxious Christmas wondering if I would live to see another one.
Yet here I am, three years on, and, to date, the treatment has worked. There are no further lesions in my bones, and other suspicious looking shadows have completely disappeared. I am able to get on with my life and do the things I want to do. In fact, the last year has been my best yet and has seen the publication of two of my books as well as acceptance as a member of the Society of Authors. Little by little I am achieving my childhood dreams, and it is largely thanks to cancer that this is the case.
Cancer acts as a great spur to get things done before time runs out. Without it, I could have spent all my life always planning to write a book but never getting on and doing it. I could still be working in an office seeing all my efforts disappear into one huge black hole. Instead, I have the satisfaction of knowing that everything I do counts for something, even if inevitably some days are more productive than others.
But am I in danger of sounding blasé about cancer? I hope not. I still remember the fear when I was told that I had cancer, and I have the same feeling of dread every time I have a CT scan just in case the cancer is no longer under control and has spread. Recently, when my husband was diagnosed with an enlarged thyroid, I immediately expected the worst, and the old fear and sense of helplessness came back. Fortunately, it is now almost definite that my husband’s condition isn’t cancerous but is due to some infection. Nevertheless, I will be relieved when the matter is resolved and we know for sure.
In the course of the last year, I have met a lot of other people who either are or have been cancer patients, and I realise that I am one of the lucky ones. It is always said in cancer circles that no two “journeys” are the same, and, while most of my suffering has taken the form of mental anguish as opposed to any physical pain, the same certainly cannot be said for many of my new friends.
So gradually, as my contact with cancer and knowledge of it increases, I am beginning to do my bit to help the cause, and a donation from all sales of both The Art of Killing and The Silence of Killing goes to help the invaluable work of Breast Cancer Care.
Last, but absolutely not least, I would like to thank all the staff at my local hospital for their unerring kindness and expertise. Without them I probably wouldn’t be here today, and I would like to wish them a very happy Christmas and prosperous New Year, even though they’ll still have to put up with me – I’ll be back in January to embark on my fourth year of treatment!
- I Got Cancer. I Asked WTF? I Gathered a Tribe to Make a Movie (wonderfultips.wordpress.com)
- After Beating Breast Cancer, Regular Exercise is Important (dkfitsolutions.com)