The following is written retrospectively and NOT in real time. I am currently four years in remission and intend to be so for the foreseeable future...
I've really been neglecting my blog big time as any of you who have followed me will very much know. It's not out of laziness, or writer's block or that I don't actually wish to write it anymore. It's just that life is moving on and I'm getting further away from that person who first started writing this. It's not that I'm at all thinking "I'm alright Jack, stop bleating on about cancer!" That couldn't be further from the truth. Of course there is an element of wanting to live life and not spend too much time on reflecting on those darker, scarier days. However I never, ever, ever forget that where I am right now is really just a moment in time and I still don't know, as do any of us, what time we have left. I am never complacent about my current good health because I have lost so many close friends and family to this unforgiving, uncaring and indiscriminate disease that I never take my current cancer-free situation for granted. I am permanently in remission until I'm not! That's the way it is. I no longer begrudge it. I just accept it as my life and get on with it. But in getting on with life I've neglected my writing.
My writing of this blog was so incredibly cathartic for ME. It allowed ME to just pour all MY emotions into one readily accepting receptacle. I could just churn out MY thoughts in a very self indulgent way, selfishly focusing on ME and what happened to ME, how I dealt with it and what it did to ME. The situations I encountered and the people I met, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...So as you can see, by highlighting certain words there was a lot of 'ME', 'MY' and 'I' going on. Actually Joan Armatrading wrote a fabulous song (and album) entitled, "Me, Myself, I". However my sentiments are certainly not the same as Ms Armatrading. And as for what Freud would have made of my "Ego and Id"! I think he'd have had a field day!!!!!
So in the midst of the "Me-fest" (tickets available through Ticketmaster!) life started to change and I was reminded that it really could not continue to be about me. There were others who, as Derren Brown might say to a hapless hypnotherapy victim, needed me "Back in the Room".
So my elongated silence is because I have been concentrating on those who have needed me, who have lived through the cancer with me for way too long and needed a big dose of attention and love - my dear, dear family. Unfortunately on the way one of my 'tribe', my gorgeous mother, passed away. Although in the latter years of her life she had dementia and was, in fairness, unaware of my battle with cancer, she was still very much part of the world that had endured the full on aftermath of diagnosis. It was only right in her last few years that I put 'me' on hold to look after her as she had always looked after me in life.
A year and half has passed by and even though missing her madly every day, the pain of grief is subsiding and I am now left with so many happy and joyous memories that I am eternally grateful and honoured that this amazing woman was my Mum and made me into the woman that I am today. I hope I'm doing her proud.
So life is taking another turn. I quit a job I love as I refused to let the stress of commuting via Southern Rail (don't think I need to say anymore) take over my life and impact on my precious family especially my little boy. I hadn't gotten through my cancer battle to be spending inordinate amount of hours waiting around on cold station platforms for trains that never came or if they did were so rammed you couldn't get on. It was a very poignant and difficult decision to make as it was the first job I took after recovering from treatment. I felt so lucky to have an amazing manager and fantastic colleagues and the work was so interesting. I don't think I have ever said or remotely thought this about any other job, but I just loved going to work which is quite something to say. I honestly thought it would be the one I would stay in until I decided, on my terms, that I would leave. However that was taken out of my hands.
Ever the optimist I try to think that maybe it was for a good reason in the end. I have thankfully found an interesting job nearer to home (20 minutes on the bus, as am now traumatised by train travel for life or even in the summer an hours bike ride, though who am I kidding!). I am starting to remind myself of the things that I loved to do before work, responsibilities, ill health, money worries, anxiety, stress (the list is endless...) got in the way. So I've started to explore other things beyond work and my family that give me my identity back. So I'm hosting a weekly radio show on a local internet station, I'm singing and playing ukelele and jamming with proper musicians and am about to embark upon running some local music club nights in the New Year. I'm going to be around more for my family, take my little boy to school which he's delighted about and still get to do a job I enjoy along with those extra curriculum bits and bobs that keep me happy. So in the end all is good.
But lastly it means I can get back to writing my blog. Finishing off this story which needs to be finished and really moving on properly with life. Because right here, right now there is definitely life after cancer or a cancer diagnosis and even though time, at times, can be tricky and challenging (because nothing is ever the same after the 'C' word!) there's also no reason why it can't be uplifting, joyous and fun too. I never thought it ever would be again, but slowly and surely its getting there. I'll try and keep the momentum up from now on I promise...