I would say laughter has been the thing that has characterised this week for me.. How therapeutic that has been. A heady mix of time with my wonderful children, my wider family and good friends too. Throw in a great Firebugs gig ,several very competitive board games and time to chew the fat..creating new memories as well as revisiting some precious ones too ,it's been wonderful. As a result you find a much brighter Audrey writing this piece. I know the quiet house to follow will be hard but there is also the anticipation of more good times to plan in the year ahead to fill the gap. Of course my decision to have further surgery this year will have to be factored in so some plans need to be on hold till I know what will happen and when to proceed with it. I see the plastic surgeon next month and I recognise I now need to get on with it...whatever it is!
Time off has taken me to a more reflective space which has been helpful ( while peeling sprouts you understand!). It's given me time to recognise a couple of important things for me around the writing of this blog. Firstly I have a ways recognised that I am someone who likes to talk things out and through but not with everyone. And it's that withholding that can take huge energy to contain. So my commitment to authenticity in my blog has meant that I haven't held on to as much. I haven't protected people I love from the truth as would normally be my drive ( I know many of you will recognise that one) And strangely they have coped with that......as have I. Recently I have been more honest about feeling low too and I have tried not to hold this with any sense of failure but see it as a natural and normal part of my recovery and experience. Again saying that out loud has shifted the burden a little and I am not saying I am top of the world now -these journeys are never that straight forward-but something has lifted. I understand for many women ( and men) who like me have strong drivers to care for others, admitting the need for support and understanding will feel foreign. I know of women who have hidden their breast cancer from their families and paid a high price to keep life normal for them. There is also a part of me wonders that one of the reasons to not spmakes out it is to make it seem less real. Denial can be a helpful mechanism at times i have found but its not usually sustainable in the longer term without a cost. So maybe blogging will help others like me, helping to lay down burdens in safe place and find a route to out the other side?
One thing I worried about when I started my blog was would it then define me. I didn't ( and don't) want to only be known for having had breast cancer impact on me twice. I guess what I have recognised recently what defines me through my blog is how I am responding to this experience, not the experience itself. And also the significance of that in professional life. I feel strongly connected to our mission with in Breakthrough Breast Cancer and the wider health campaigning work I am involved in and perhaps my recent experience has further strengthened my connection to promoting person centred health care in a valuable way. I look forward to utilising opportunities like the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Service Pledge to allow me influence this more in the year ahead.I do also know I love writing and hope 2012 provides me with more opportunities to write more.
Reasons to be cheerful. Precious time with the people I love has to be top of the charts in this blog of course. And Molly and Koshka have met and no fur was lost.....I am not saying they are friends yet but so far so good.The board game fun did result in a minor injury ( don't ask!)and the next charade was met with the plea to disclose any previous injuries.....don't touch her boobs was called out....indeed!
So also as positive end of year reflection I faced one of my demons this year, in that the cancer returned-thankfully in a very treatable form-and I have coped.Wondering what 2012 will hold now.....wishing you a very happy new year and as our national bard would say
For auld lang syne me dear
For auld lang syne
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne
See you next year.