So…life eh? Doesn’t it just get in the way sometimes? You’re going along, minding your own business, about to launch a new book then a doctor says, ‘yes, I’m afraid the tests show it is cancer.’
That was the end of September. Since then I have been poked, prodded, hugged, barcoded, scanned, prayed for and operated on, and now, hopefully life is carrying on again. The writer in me always says, shyly and from the back of the room, ‘you can use this in a book.’ The realist at the front of the room says with loud scorn, ‘I’d rather not have gone through it personally in the first place.’ But what can you do? There were a few dark times, times when I sorrowfully wondered if it was worth bothering to finish up the new book and get it released. It felt like a trivial, transient, shallow kind of thing to bother about. My whole life felt kind of pointless. And I felt so guilty for putting my lovely family through so much anxiety. They have been amazing.
And I still don’t know if it’s all gone, or if there is further treatment waiting for me. But I can now smile, and think positive thoughts, and I feel pretty good actually, and yes, there really is so much mileage to be had from my experiences. Is there anything more sinister than a hospital corridor late at night? One person in a gown and mask looks pretty much like another – are they really who they say they are? What was that shadow that passed across the curtains surrounding my bed? Could someone substitute a poison for the meds I have to inject myself with? And then there are the life stories of the other women I met on the gynae ward. If anything I realised how good I had things: at least I didn’t fall over in the shower and set back my recovery by several weeks; I had a family around me, I was not alone like many; and I was not losing my womb at an age when I had yet to have my babies.
Many times lately, someone has said that thing about life and lemons and making lemonade, but it’s so true. And there no one as good as a writer for making a drama out of a crisis.