I have tried to write this three times now-hence the delay in my blog post. I think it’s been hard to put down some of the things I have been thinking of this week. What sad times there have been over this period. As well as national news stories I have also had some closer to home. One of my friends from the leadership dialogue has been killed in a road traffic accident. I have found myself very affected by it and moved too. A life cut short feels so wrong and there is no doubt many will miss him.
The national news has been relentless too. Losing your child from famine, murder or addiction is not something you should have to experience; it’s not the natural order at all. As an emotional being at the best of times I do find myself easily moved to tears at the moment and this week more than others. But I won’t apologise for that-its allowed I guess.
So the other news that has had a huge impact is that one of my friends and has also been diagnosed again with breast cancer. She faces extensive treatment and I feel so upset for her. I am having difficulty finding words but I know I am so angry for her. It’s just not fair. Life really shouldn’t have to be like this. I also feel overwhelmed and angry too at the relentless impact this has on so many women and those who love them. And I am scared for her too-knowing what she has to face. It’s not just the treatment, it’s the times in waiting rooms waiting for results, it’s the “what if’s” in the quiet moments when no one is looking, it’s the uncertainty. There isn’t a pill that can take that away. Just the love and support of those around you can make it easier to bear.
It might not be logical maybe but I feel guilty that I have got off more lightly than she has. I can’t change that-you feel what you feel- I just have to accept its part of it too for me. I have had this experience before when I have lost friends to breast cancer-survivor guilt I guess. But I also realise and value how lucky I have been so far and do count my many blessings. It sounds a bit cheesy, I know, but its true.
I remember my husband saying after going with me to a follow up appointment many years ago“ It never goes away, does it?” And in those early days it’s true, each appointment is accompanied by fear of recurrence and the clinic environment evokes the emotions again. But in time that fades, as it should. But I guess what that also does is leave you ill prepared for being back there again. Maybe that’s a good thing after all. I know it took me a while to realise that all was not well during my appointment. My self-protection mechanism kicked in and I slowly absorbed the information that instead of going home I was heading for a biopsy. Denial can be useful I guess.
As can regaining an element of control even when not everything else is not in my gift to control. I have found that getting back to walking has helped me feel more like myself. I have walked to work listening to music. The Travelling Willberies are good for a decent walking pace unlike Leonard Cohen. Thanks for the other suggestions to listen to-not sure about them all but will widen my options nonetheless. But dancing down the road to work will just get me locked up guys! So my big tip would be do whatever exercise you can, if you can. It has really lifted me, not just the endorphins but knowing that I can do it too. Small steps lead to bigger ones.
Reasons to be cheerful? I am really struggling today with this because of the news this week. But reasons to be thankful are that treatments are improving and I know my friend will have the best people fighting in her corner. Our research at Breakthrough Breast Cancer is saving lives and progress continues. I just wish less lives were lost and affected by it. And for those who are grieving just now, wherever you are, you are in my thoughts.