UPDATE: 5.30am, Saturday, 21st May…
OK, last night I started to write a blog post about the end of my fifth week of cancer treatment – and it’s true.
Just one week left to go.
However, while writing, a few negative feelings which were lurking at the back of my mind hijacked the post, waved an imaginary sword around (I don’t do guns, not even in my imagination), and steered the post off in a different, darker direction.
I woke up this morning planning to rewrite the post – but now I don’t know if I should.
What I wrote last night came from the heart (with a quick pass by the spleen, just to make sure it was sprinkled with sourness).
If I go back and rewrite it, it will be as though I’m denying myself having had those thoughts – which I’m not.
Which I never will do on this blog.
That was genuinely how I felt last night – and this is how I feel this morning…
Well, maybe not exactly cartoon-like, but certainly much happier (and high thanks to Steve Beckett for Beano-ising me!)
I mean – come on… I’ve had to endure this nonsense for five long weeks. Over 1,500 miles of motorway to get to a place where I’ll struggle to park, and then people much younger and smarter than me strap me to a table and blast me with radiation!
And there’s just ONE week left to go!!
So, here’s the deal…
I’m leaving my original blog post live below. If you want to read how I was feeling last night, please continue down the page.
Don’t worry, it’s not that dark. I just allowed the late hour, fatigue and painful mouth ulcers get the better of me.
And I was most likely off my tits on nutrient-heavy strawberry milkshakes.
If you’d rather just revel in this bit, where I am (partially) rested, warm, fuzzy and jolly – stop right here.
Well, not right there – I’ve got one or two more sentences to type first.
Still with me? Good.
Written and posted in the evening of Friday 20th May…
Week five of my cancer treatment is now done and dusted!
Today’s session – R25/5 – went smoothly enough, once we’d sorted out the tight mask issue one again. No-one seems quite sure why that is happening…
So, I have just one week of cancer treatment left to go!
Five sessions of radiotherapy, and one of chemotherapy.
My feelings on the subject are mixed. Obviously, I’ll be delighted when the constant back and forth to the Royal Preston Hospital is finished with (major thanks to the lovely George Kirk for today’s driving duties!)
But, everyone at the Rosemarie Cancer Foundation has been SO wonderfully kind, caring and patient that I will miss seeing them each day.
I won’t miss the sessions themselves, of course – although I’m told the side effects will continue to worsen for a week or two before they subside.
So, there’s that to look forward to.
Radiotherapy – the nuclear-powered invisible laser medicine that keeps on giving!
And, finally, this has got to work. Should the cancer ever return in the same place, treatment is out of the question.
I can’t have radiotherapy on the right hand side of my throat and neck ever again.
If it returns elsewhere, it’s a possibility. Just not the same area.
Which is nagging at me a little.
Since I was diagnosed, I’ve received so many lovely emails from people telling me their stories in the fight against this horrible illness, or the way their close friends and family members battled onwards.
I’ve heard all kinds of amazing tales: ‘five years free’, ‘ten years and no return’, ‘in remission’, ‘cured’, and many more.
But, and this is where things start to get darker, folks – so feel free to click away or tune out if you’re currently enjoying some kind of fantastic Friday feeling. There’s probably something good on TV right about now…
OK, have they all gone now?
Right… Here’s what I think.
I think the cancer will come back.
This is what is going to get me.
In the end.
I always suspected it would be my breathing. Asthma, chest infection, pneumonia or one of those jolly wheezing japes.
But, no. This is the thing.
I watched it take both of my parents and then turn around, hungry for more.
Of course, I’ll be trying with all my might to stop that from happening. Once I’m well again, everything changes – choice of diet, cut out drinking (bar special occasions), regular exercise, (more) weight loss, etc.
But, that’s no guarantee.
You see, cancer’s had a taste of me now. And I genuinely believe it will come back, sniffing around for seconds. Maybe not for many years, but it will.
And then I have to decide whether I can go through all this again. If not for me, then for Kirsty and the boys.
I’ve just paused to read back what I’ve written so far. Not exactly uplifting stuff to be writing at the end of week five, is it?
Sorry about that.
It’s just that I really can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. And part of me is scared to step out into that light…
…in case there’s just another tunnel waiting dead ahead.
Does that make sense?
What worries me is that I’ve never felt that way about anything before. In fact, I’ve always relished that leap into the unknown; jumping in with both feet to see where and how I land.
Making the most of the unchartered lands ahead.
Except, I really don’t want to come back here.
Not to this place.
And I’m almost convinced I will do just that.
Plus, if this is what it takes and feels in order to get well again, imagine what not getting well from this bastard must be like.
I accidentally typed that in an email to my agent the other day.
I meant to say that ‘I will get well, and crack on with Project MH‘ (a potential new series for her to take to publishers).
But, I didn’t write that.
For some unknown reason, I actually typed: ‘I will not get well, and crack on…’
She made me delete the email.
But that little typo has been bugging me ever since.
Reading too much into a silly mistake? Perhaps.
Letting the black ferrets of darkness emerge from the shadows and scarper up my trouser legs? Almost certainly.
But it’s there. Gnawing at my every thought.
This isn’t over.
Cancer will be back.
And, when it arrives, I’ll have to be ready and waiting.
Added after a 20 minute break from the computer…
Well, wasn’t that fun? Today’s rollercoaster of emotion was brought to you by the letter ‘C’. Sorry about that. I had every intention of writing a ‘hurray, I’m nearly there!’ post to celebrate the end of my fifth week of treatment.
But, as I’ve frequently stated, this blog isn’t just for the positive stuff. If this disease and resulting treatment brings me down, I think it’s only honest that I share that with you.
Bet you wished you’d nipped off to watch telly earlier when I gave you the chance, eh?
I can’t even think of a picture I can upload to illustrate this post. So, I’m about to delve into my had drive and choose an image at random.