12/04/16-Doorway: I sit at my back door and watch the advancement of a new spring across my garden. Daffodils dance, calling to the tulips to wake up and play.
The Sun shines brightly. She’s working hard to remind me that winters do pass and so to will mine. “Soon,” she promises, “…soon.”
Soon my winter of utter depletion, of baron landscape will pass, making way for new shoots, for vibrant colours, for my own re-blossoming.
Soon I will start my radiotherapy.
Soon I will reclaim my time and my body back from the treatment regime they have endured.
Soon I will return to my work and University.
Soon my life will jerk back into motion, moving forward once more like a movie released from pause.
My sixth and final chemotherapy has been and gone.
My three week recovery period is nearly at an end.
In just a few more days I will be breaking new ground. For the first time in eighteen weeks my cells will be left alone, left to recover, to count their losses and mourn their dead.
My red blood cells, my white blood cells, my platelets, my neutrophils; heroes all of this my ‘Great War’.
My sixth and final chemotherapy has been and gone, passing by me in a drug induced, sleep deprived, energy depleted blur. I have only incomplete snapshot memories, like a roll of damaged film. Enough to piece together these past few surreal weeks of my life.
‘Click’-My beautiful friends arrive for my final chemo full of kindness, love and an early Easter. They are wearing bunny ears and chick beaks and bearing sweet treats and coloured Easter baskets filled with tissue wrapped, Easter themed gifts.
‘Click’-Easter egg chocolates and biscuits and cakes, fruit and Hot cross buns and Prosecco cover my kitchen table.
‘Click’-My last chemotherapy and I’m ringing the bell and laughing for the camera and saying goodbye to my chemo comrades at the hospital.
‘Click’-I wave my friends off as they begin their long drive back to their own lives and I prepare for my final battle.
‘Click’-Steroid fuelled nights following manic buzzing days.
‘Click’-Little coloured plastic eggs holding tiny toys and personalised messages all over my home-in drawers and cupboards, the tea caddy, the fridge, my pockets, my mittens, my bags and purse, in plant pots, on shelves and everywhere…But I’m far too tired and far too grumpy to fully appreciate my amazingly thoughtful friends and their fabulous, love filled Easter egg hunt.
‘Click’-The stillness and the quiet as Easter tiptoes all around me while I fall in and out of my final chemo coma, this one seems to last forever.
So today as this Docetaxel dose ebbs from my system for the last time, I sit at my back door and watch the advancement of a new spring across my garden. Fresh leaves fill out the gaps in my neighbour’s hedge and the tiny pink flowers on my ornamental current bush stretch and unfurl and it finally feels safe to stretch and unfurl the fragile petals of my hope as I begin to imagine a future.
I imagine the late summer filled with family, friends, weekends away, eating out, fresh air, new hair, endless possibilities and I’m filled with hope and excitement.
And Cancer walks alongside me now, like Peter Pan’s shadow stitched on by Wendy it is firmly attached to my heels, always there. Never again will I have the pure luxury, the simple innocence of not knowing its company.
Still, I imagine the coming months of blissful remission.
I imagine a beautifully calm and precious time, a unique time of a new kind of ‘not knowing’. A space somewhere between the horrors of past diagnosis when everything that can be done has now been done and the terror of some future diagnosis, the discovery of a new cancer or the metastasis of my original one.
And it is true that I may never have to deal with either scenario again but unlike before, I now know that I am living on borrowed time. I have to find a way to live my life with this knowledge. I have to find a way to live again, not just simply waste my life waiting…I have spent too much time waiting already.
Soon, very soon this time will pass. This tiredness will abate. This waiting will be over and I will grab up my life with both hands.
I sit at my back door and watch the advancement of a new spring across my garden. I watch as each new day begins to build upon the last, reclaiming first minutes and then hours from the long nights of winter and I imagine with each new day that passes, I am reclaiming a little more of myself back from the long cycles of chemotherapy.
Soon, this waiting will be done.