December 4th 2015-The Friends Who Saved Christmas

4/12/15: “Its Chemo time, there’s no need to be afraid. At Chemo time, we let in light and we banish shade!”

Just less than two weeks ago I finally received a date for my first chemotherapy. Thursday the 10th of December.

Interestingly…or maybe not…after all the waiting, after all the time biding, after all the wishing away of hours and days and weeks my first response on opening my letter is to cry!

Here I am, finally something tangible in my hand, a date to plan towards, the start of moving forward again and I feel bereft and scared and so very, very lost.

And I have to admit as the days pass and the reality sinks further in I find myself slowing down, preparing for what’s to come. I find myself living in pyjamas, preparing for what’s to come. I find myself withdrawing from the world-to prepare for what’s to come.

Then…two nights ago…

A surprise text from Miss Luce arrives. Team Nurse are on their way for a pre-chemo visit!

It’s a surprise because we have had several ‘discussions’ around visitation visas:
-They have been extremely keen to be here during the chemotherapy in order to take care of me.
-I’ve been extremely keen to mope around in my PJs on my own!
-They think I should have someone with me when I’m feeling crappy.
-I think otherwise!
Did I mention what a stubborn, independent gobshite I am???

Anyhow the upshot of the afore mentioned ‘discussions’ is that my wonderful, beautiful friends deferred to my wishes. I will feel my way tentatively through at least my first chemotherapy cycle by myself at which point I shall review the situation.

Thus with chemo, Christmas and all of its commitments and responsibilities fast approaching, we had settled on a post Christmas get together.

Or at least that was what I thought we had settled on!

My friends it appears, were less settled upon this arrangement. Moving heaven and earth, rearranging their work, their families, their social engagements at very short notice to spend one last weekend with me in my now dwindling days of good health.

I re read the text then confess to my brother who is in temporary residence with me, that I have been in fact spiralling down over the last few weeks.
“Well you better bloody start spiralling back up again then!” says he in an ass kicking tone! Good call little Bro!

So here it is! Friday December 4th…

Before they arrive I have a meeting at work to discuss my sick leave following which I catch a bus into the town.

The sun shines with a brilliance I’ve not felt since Summer packed its bags and headed south; warming my back even through this heavy winter coat. Squinting in its glory, I head down to the postal sorting office, a new found spring in my step, to collect a parcel- a Christmas gift from me to me! I have spoilt myself rotten this year, let me tell you!

As usual I am securely plugged into my earphones, my music fills my head providing an energetic soundtrack to my morning. A buzzing in my pocket alerts me to an ETA text update from Miss Macey followed by a suggestion regarding this evening’s dining arrangements.

I respond, offering to cook us a chilli at which point Miss Macey, realising that I’m still not singing from the same Christmas Carol sheet as those two pesky elves, writes the following:

“We are tinseltastic! Christmas Dinner tomorrow and Miss Luce wants to watch ‘Christmas Carol’! That makes it Christmas Eve today- table booked for 20:00! We’re packing crackers, candy canes and are very excited-you’d better get your Christmas pants on!!!”

The penny drops, my heart explodes like a thousand tiny fireworks and the most wonderfully stupid grin stretches itself across my beaming face. I feel alive and so very, very happy. I could just cry with joy.

Decked in glittering red tinsel, Santa hats and flashing reindeer earrings, my darling girls arrive on my doorstep to the tune of ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ and our pre Christmas ‘Christmas Eve’ begins.

During the hours that will follow we’ll raise a glass in the local (yep!-this time they’ll take me too!!!), pick up a tree, dine out in style, put up decorations, prepare a full festive feast, open presents, eat chocolate and watch Christmas movies long into the night.

I have absolutely no idea what horrors lie in wait for me after my first chemotherapy just six days from now. I have absolutely no idea what my December 25th will be like this year. I have absolutely no idea what 2016 will bring…

But…

What I am absolutely and totally clear about is that without having even the slightest inkling of the true impact of the power of their amazing gift to me, my lovely girls have saved Christmas!

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