Cancer and other stuff

Mud and shoes

Last weekend the Boy Wonder and me packed our rucksacks and enough bread rolls and bacon to feed an entire festival, and headed off to Wales for Green Man festival. We haven’t been to one all year and I’d guess we’d normally go to at least two (last year we went to four, that was plenty!). We’ve also both been so busy that a bit of husband-and-wife time was in order, before all the madness of the W overtakes us all (four weeks to go and still a silly amount to do – HELP ME BETH). Apart from the rain (well we were in a Welsh valley), it was nice just to wander round drinking fine ale, eating too many churros and listening to bands we knew and those we’d never heard of.

Green Man is quite small, with a very laidback atmosphere so it’s the perfect place to take kids. We spent many hours watching children chase bubbles and each other, with sticky, muddy little hands and faces. And I think that’s when the penny might have dropped – I thought I’d come to terms with not having children a long time ago but that was before I married the most wonderful man. We’re still very much in newlywed mode and as having a family has never been on the cards – we both knew that, right from the start – we’ve never really discussed it, what’s the point? But that weekend, as well as being lots of fun and we were very happy to have each other to ourselves for four days, was also the first time I’ve felt the really sharp pain of never having my own child. There were split seconds where Andy and I were sat on the grass and I felt like we’d lost something, the feeling you get when you know you haven’t got your wallet or something (not comparable obviously, but you know what I mean). Silly thing is though, how can you lose or be missing something you never had, and were never even likely to have? I know how it is, I accept that me having a baby would be a terrible idea, even if it were possible at all (probably unlikely, I reckon I have a period about every four months, if I’m lucky, at the moment – sorry men reading this). But it doesn’t mean I can’t mourn it occasionally, that baby of my husband’s that I’ll never be able to give him. I know Ellie felt the same too sometimes.

Anyone in my situation has to focus their attention really hard on the short-term; you’re so busy just trying to get to your next scan, through chemo, hoping your brain doesn’t pop again, watching out for every little niggle wondering if this is the start of “it”. Trying to just stay alive and sane and live as normally as you can under the circumstances. But I forget, and sometimes I think a lot of others do too, that ‘normal’ would really be being able to make your own decisions about your life. If I didn’t have cancer, perhaps I’d be sitting here thinking “a baby? No thanks.” But I don’t have that choice any more. Perhaps maybe a part of it is that the very things that were designed for me to create and sustain a baby (BRCA1 has a link to ovarian cancer too) are the things that are trying to kill me apparently so it feels doubly cruel.


Anyway who knows? Am sure it will pass. Am starting to get a bit nervous about the wedding, the thought of people staring at us (please don’t stare!) is odd and slightly discomforting at the moment but am sure once the final plans are made and I’m in that dress, that’ll disappear. I’ve been re-reading Ellie’s blog the last couple of days and it’s really made me miss her. So many of the things she talks about are familiar, the drugs, the veins, the portacaths and blood clots, the blood transfusions. But I hear and see glimpses of other things too, undertones of where she was at that only someone who has been in the same place will ever hear and recognise. As she was gearing up to her own wedding and the start of her married life, what else was she thinking? I know how much in love she and Tom were, because Andy and I are the same. Did she too have pangs of real sadness about babies? I know that we are/were both incredibly proud of our relationships and grateful, every single day, to be in love wih our boys, and they would always come first. Babies would have been a bonus, our men are/were enough. I think I know what she’d be thinking now too – “get the shoes on love, they make everything better” and she was right. I’ve got them out of the box a few times this week and whilst I might not have a baby, I’ll always have these beautiful shoes and a husband I am nuts about.


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3 thoughts on “Mud and shoes

  1. It’s quite spooky that I tuned into your blog just now given your last post…I too can’t have children (hysterectomy for Cervical cancer) and the last thing I did last night was to look through a photo album on FB of a distant friend and their professional “frolicking” in the garden photos…they look so so happy and that’s what gives me the feeling that I’ve lost something. Every single on of my friends have children around a year old and they’re already planning more – I dont even feel connected with them anymore because all I see is the happiness i’ll never know. Like you say, we both have strong relationships – you a nice new marriage! So, I’m busy trying to compensate myself planning to buy a new house in a slightly new area…kind of a fresh start. We aren’t alone feeling like this and it’s helped me to read you feel the same xx

  2. Sophia on said:

    I stumbled upon your blog a while ago and was really struck by your honesty and brilliant writing. I’ve continued to follow you and love reading your posts, but I just wanted to not be a silent reader and to tell you that I think you are fantastic and I wish you all the love and happiness in the world for your wedding! Always remember that by sharing your story you are helping innumerable people who find strength from reading your words, and I for one thank you for that. Have a wonderful day! xxxx

  3. I just wanted to say I hope you have an amazing wedding day. I was meant to be Ellie’s bridesmaid on her big day and I so wish I had got to see her as the beautiful bride. I know she had found the perfect partner in Tom.

    I am yet to find my Mr Right and find myself (ever more frequently now I’m heading to the big 3-0) wondering when (or if) this will happen. Facebook photos of happy couples and their kids send me into a jealous frenzy at the moment! However, thinking of El and what she went through, and what she would give to be here today soon pulls me back to reality and the fact I have a pretty amazing life. I just need a kick up the arse from her every now and again to remind me of that. (She can still do that even if she’s not here!)

    It sounds cliched but we really have got to make the most of every day and it sounds like you are doing that so well done! You probably get sick of people telling you take ‘take each day as it comes’ but I suppose that’s what we’re all doing really.

    You’re totally right about the shoes too; they always make everything seem better!


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