Although chemo isn’t over yet and I don’t want to say too much about the route to the summit in case this
happens again, I’ve been trying to regain some sense of normality.
Living on a three-week calendar – week one chemo, week two side-effects, week three get ready to do it all again – is like being on a hamster wheel. You run fast but get nowhere very quickly and somehow the scenery never seems to change. It’s a pattern that will probably be imprinted on my mind forever and I’ll be glad if I never have to follow it again.
My Doctor recently said I’ve done remarkably well; I haven’t been hospitalised through infections and in her words I “look pretty healthy considering all the drugs.” Avoiding hospitalisation came with a price tag called avoiding other people, especially crowds and anyone with obvious ailments. I’m happy in my own company and curious by nature so can always find something to occupy my mind but I’m not totally reclusive. I enjoy spending some time with others and have missed the richness of various social interactions. That said, at least I haven’t been scaring small children with my Nosferatu plus permanent nosebleed look!
A ‘normal’ existence where the words cancer, treatment, blood and tests don’t come up in everyday conversation has some appeal. After 9 months on the fast-track programme for non-medical personnel to become genetics, surgery, oncology and haematology experts the weather, the economy and the potential psychological damage inflicted by too much daytime TV are more attractive topics.
So in my quest to rediscover a sense of normality I went walking with my son recently, squelched through lots of mud and startled a few pheasants hiding in the woods. I admired the tall pines, easily ten or twenty times my own height and wondered at the signs of life coming and going just as the seasons come and go. Dead tree stumps covered in brilliant green moss, leaves from deciduous trees blanketing snowdrop shoots and the remnants of wild clematis ‘Old Man’s Beard’ clinging amongst some very early immature catkins. I could have walked for hours but we went out late in the afternoon; being lost in the woods without a torch wasn’t a prospect I much fancied.
On the way back I captured a photo of the sun setting behind the trees. Looking at it now makes me feel at one with the universe.
It’s amazing how much good a walk in the countryside under a pink sunset through some tall trees and plenty of mud can do!