22/10/15- Some days I get so excited just sitting in the university library. I want to shout out ‘Hey, I’m at Uni!’ but of course that would be a bit weird because so is everyone else here and they’re not making a fuss.
I feel an overwhelming sense of privilege, being here. All of these books and journals. These spaces and places to sit and to read and to think and to grow. To research and review. Contemplate and consider. Reflect and observe. Wow!
Today however I’m distracted by a particular set of observations I have been making.
I observe that it is three days since I found I was eligible for the clinical trial.
I observe that I’m still patiently waiting for news of which trial group I will be selected for.
I observe that I am emotionally and physically tired with so much waiting.
I observe that my body aches and that the breast I no longer have is weighing heavy on my chest.
I observe that my desire to see the day out is outweighed by my need to get home.
Defeated and deflated I sit on the train which rocks me gently and rhythmically in its carriage cradle carrying me home. ‘I’m carrying you. I’m carrying you. I’m carrying you.’ it whispers and I want to give in to the tiredness as it washes over me and I feel a strange sense like I’m dying already and nothing that I or my team of professionals can choose to do will have any bearing.
Like a game of chess already won we are only thinking two moves ahead whilst all the time our brilliant companion has already worked out how to get us in check mate in six!
I feel so sad. It’s hard not to cry. Here in our carriage my travelling neighbours and I. They with their bustling lives and busy schedules and no time to think about the life that they are living and me with my quiet cancer and my life yet to live, on hold.
And just as though it were a movie playing out the scenes carefully sequenced, the timings set for maximum effect, as I step from the train heading for the bus my phone begins to ring in my pocket. It’s my consultant. It’s the news I’ve been waiting for. It’s not the news I’ve been hoping for and though my heart sinks I keep the conversation afloat long enough to get the gist.
“It’s more surgery.” I tap out to my waiting troops scattering them this way and that, sending some round and round in circles and while I’m furiously blinking back tears on this crowded bus and swallowing hard to hold down the sob that keeps rising in my chest, my phone lights up like Christmas as the people who inhabit my world clamour for clarification.
Once home I crumple then dissolve. And as the evening softly closes in around me I do what my particular type of cancer loves, I drown myself in drink. And in this hazy place I recall the sense of frustration and anger I had experienced earlier at what I had believed to be my loved ones’ attention deficit and in this moment my selfishness hits me, painfully.
These wonderful human beings are desperately trying to make sense of something that just will not make sense. This awful thing is happening to someone they love and they are helpless to understand it or to stop it.
This is not just my journey. This is not just my cancer.