Fresh pastures…

A recent comment by Maurice at Duck? Starfish? … but 23  gave me some food for thought as to where I go with FEC-THis. I’ve become attached to this blog over the course of the past year or so, and I am so very grateful for everyone who follows it, comments on it and generally offers friendship and support through the life-threatening events I’ve experienced. I can only describe these things as horror-movie-esque.  I haven’t watched the horror genre since I was a teenager; not because I am squeamish but because I quickly realised anything we conspire to place on film can so easily be or become real. (Think cannibalism, terrorism, torture, then stop. They don’t bare thinking about). As you might imagine, being thrown head-first into the middle of a horror story has been quite a challenge hence FEC-THis was forged in the fire-pits of adversity. Running through its core is the emperor of all maladies.

But my life is not a horror movie. No matter how harrowing things have been or might be in future  I refuse to have the emperor running through my core. I do not permit it to invade and desecrate all that I enjoy, and I work hard to ensure I’m a physically inhospitable environment for its atrocities. Cancer is just one small, stupid, selfish aspect of my life and it has taken too much already so small, stupid and selfish will be forcibly overthrown and exiled. I know it will take time and effort and I’m prepared for that task. I’m also prepared for fresh pastures.

I cannot abandon FEC-THis. Much good has come of it and to coin a phrase I can’t count my chickens. There’s a long way to go and the emperor is extremely wily. Nothing is guaranteed, but then again nothing ever is. FEC-THis is a fortress, a stronghold to help me stay strong and keep focused. However, The Asymmetry of Matter  is a new blog where I’ll post art, photography and musings free of the cancer cloud. Everything that lives there is unhindered by the emperor’s taints and trials. I have to thank my son for contributing to this fork in the road too. My illness was as hard on him as it was on me but he can see beyond it and in doing so actively encouraged me to create another blog for the non-human, non-cat loves of my life – drawing, painting, photography and poetry. The Asymmetry of Matter is a sanctuary for the tranquillity of creative past-times,  a symbol of the greater, better, unselfish aspects that make up this bizarre thing called my life.

I will support both blogs. FEC-THis to stay defiant for as long as I need to defy the spectre of cancer – that’s at least another 4 years – and The Asymmetry of Matter   as a place to create –  quietly, peacefully and light-heartedly. Over time I hope it will bring moments of quiescence and beauty into the lives of others.

Snowdrops in Fresh Pastures



Sailing Away

Sometimes I’m not good with words. Or rather I can’t string them together in the way I’d like so that I say what I really want to say. 

Sometimes I’d like to say THANK YOU in a way that isn’t just the ‘I’m grateful, you’ve made me very happy, I feel so lucky, thank you’ kind of way.  I’d like to say it in a way that conveys what’s really going on, without sounding fawning. How do you speak those two simple words as if the best firework display, most beautiful rainbow or a perfect day is dawning in your heart? I don’t have the answer so instead I send my usual heart-felt thank you’s for making this year’s birthday special and memorable, you know who you are and I appreciate it so much.

Fortunately try as it might there are some things chemobrain won’t be able to wipe away and that’s useful because it has succeeded in scrambling many of my previous memories and cognitive functions. Usually it sees me going to the fridge at least three times when one trip would’ve been sufficient if only I could remember why I went to the fridge in the first place!  Cooking can also be dangerous.  I’m an auto-pilot cook. I abandoned following recipes long ago and have sufficient culinary experience to know which flavours go together, how best to combine them and how to cook things long enough to prevent food poisoning. As long as I’m left to cook in peace all will go well… interrupt my train of thought and there’s every likelihood some essential ingredient will be omitted from the meal.  Multitasking is something of a conundrum for me these days; I find I swear at myself (audibly) at least twice a day – ongoing knee problems a fridge or cookery incident will usually be the culprit.  It sounds silly but it’s incredibly frustrating.

I was recently asked to provide some insight to the breast cancer experience for a magazine article.  What useful advice or information was I able to offer those who are newly diagnosed to help with their treatment and recovery?  I entirely forgot that chemobrain can present a number of challenges!  I did mention that the process from diagnosis to treatment may be complex and fraught due to false starts, incomplete information and new revelations every time some extra scan or tissue analysis takes place.   I also mentioned that I felt it was important everyone recovers at their own pace since there are many misconceptions about how soon we should be ‘over it’ and of course it is never really over, the scars don’t disappear (physically or metaphorically).  My other pearl of wisdom was blogging; the ability to connect with people all over the world who are willing to share insights, offer support or find ways to make us seem less alone with the nightmare.  The blogging community has been invaluable to me as a source of inspiration, knowledge, encouragement and experience so I’d like to thank  all of you too in my clunky but deeply sincere manner. 

On the day I took the photograph in this post it was supposed to rain, the day-long clothes-drenching kind of hard cold rain that makes even the most upbeat people thoroughly miserable. I decided to go out without a coat or umbrella and take my chances, after all, what could a bit of rain do that cancer, surgery, chemo and a bunch of other chemicals haven’t already achieved?

Sometimes life doesn’t turn out the way we think it will. Sometimes it does.

Sometimes it surpasses all our expectations.  Thank you 🙂