After much deliberation I finally got around to writing my side effects page. I held off from doing this for several reasons. I wanted to make sure nothing else was going to happen a few weeks out from the final chemo, I needed some time to get my head around what had just happened and I wanted to ensure I could give as accurate a reflection as possible of all the things I had encountered.
Writing about the side effects has been a cathartic experience; placing them on the screen means they no longer have to linger in my mind. They are out here, separate from me instead of rattling around in my head and part of me. I can put some distance between me and them and bring some small element of closure to this part of the journey. Of course it isn’t over and this is not the end. A cancer diagnosis is never over, it never really goes away but at least I feel I can start to move on from it and regain some semblance of ordinariness. I still look far from ordinary, I stand out like a sore thumb because I have that cancer patient hairlessness, puffiness and pallor but I know this will disappear in time. Or I can just slap on loads of make-up, get an orange spray tan and pretend I’m an extra from ‘The Only Way is Essex.’
At this point last year I was embarking on a very exciting phase of my life, so many things were going well. Just a few months later everything turned upside down and backwards; life became one long series of tests, investigations, surgeries and treatments. Today it feels like I’ve taken two steps forward. The chemo really is over and its effects – physical and psychological – are starting to fade away. I won’t be swinging from the chandeliers any time soon but dancing the cha cha cha might be a possibility 🙂