Cancer and other stuff

Every single second

I always assumed that, if and when ‘the end’ approached, I’d have some warning or at least some idea. And the fact is I may still do, when the time comes. Alison may, at some point, be able to give me a rough estimation. I’ve got one more cycle of this current drug, starting on Wednesday, then scans on my brain and my chest in a couple of weeks to see what’s going on. Of course it’s entirely possible – keep praying people – that this is the one that nails it. That the tumours will have shrunk, that my brain looks healthy and normal post-surgery. I don’t feel unwell, a bit more tired than usual, and there is still this nagging feeling in my side that doesn’t seem to be getting any better (it’s not painful, my breathing is fine and I’m not coughing. In fact I’ve cycled all over town the past week – who needs a driving licence when you’ve got a lush new bike and a cycle satnav app? – so I’m not panicking too much just yet but I am preparing myself for what could be a difficult results appointment next month). Anyway, we’ll see. Obviously I’ll post an update on that score in due course.

But what if everything I assumed is wrong, and one minute I’m fine and the next I’m gone? Before the ‘think positive’
brigade start piping up, I AM being positive. I’m not curled up in a ball weeping every day, I’m still working, still planning our wedding in September (btw, what is it with weddings? Why does everyone want to bleed me dry?), still making plans. But it would be silly, and actually maybe a bit unhealthy, if I wandered around pretending it’s not happening and that there is absolutely no chance I could die any time soon. Especially after what happened to Ellie. I hope it doesn’t, and I’m not planning to pop off any time soon but neither was she. Nor are people who get knocked off their bikes, or step into the road and get hit by that bloody bus everyone goes on about. None of us ever really thinks about our own deaths I don’t think. I suppose I’m just forced to, knowing what I know. Perhaps you should all too as its the only thing that’s guaranteed in life, that we’ll all die eventually. I’m not afraid of dying, but I am afraid of regrets and opportunities that, once missed, you can never get back again.

It’s hard to get the balance right between being ‘prepared’ and living normally. I mentioned in an earlier post that it’s a bit like someone holding a gun to your head and you don’t know if and when that trigger will be pulled, perhaps it never will and the bus will get you first. Then again, perhaps that miracle is just round the corner. There have been times over the past week when Andy has left the house in the morning, and as he’s closed the door behind him, I’ve wondered, for a split second, if that’s the last time I’ll ever see him. It’s hard to feel like you’re somehow saying your goodbyes when you’re still here, alive and well – ironing his shirts, watering the plants and putting the rubbish out. All it would take is for some nasty to have sprouted in my brain again and ‘pop’, I might not be so lucky this time round. But then I make a cup of tea and pull myself together and it’s all fine again.

It’s a process anyone in my situation goes through but what I’ve realised is that it shouldn’t be unique to us. Any one of you reading this could disappear tomorrow. I hope you won’t and chances are of course you won’t. But what I mean is it’s important you don’t waste a single second of your life and I don’t waste one of mine either. Weeks and days are precious. Life is precious. Regrets can haunt you for a long time. If I died tomorrow, I would have no regrets. There would be nothing I wish I had said or done, because I say and do a lot of things – I know a day will come when I can’t any more. There is not one second in any given day that Andy doesn’t know how I feel about him because I tell him and I show him, all the time. When I am gone, my friends and family will always know how much they meant to me.

If you are reading this, I hope you can say the same about your loved ones. If you can’t, pick up the phone. Right now. And watch out for those buses, eh?


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