It’s been a really interesting past few weeks. Although I have been diagnosed with cancer and have a major 10-hour surgery and 3-month recovery ahead of me in the new year, I am feeling incredibly positive, upbeat, and grateful. As I was running in the park with Bonzo this morning I felt a real zest for life. I was singing along to 80’s tunes, soaking up the sunshine reflecting off the frost-covered grass and thinking about today’s entry in my Gratitude App. I wondered if something is wrong with me – aren’t I supposed to feel sad, or scared or bitter? Is it odd that I am feeling so good and so positive?
Of course I did go through an initial shock when I first received the diagnosis over the phone. I remember walking to the train station feeling like I was in a bit of a bubble, apart from everyone else around me. I was looking at people in the street and on the train thinking that I was now a person with cancer and they were not. I wondered if they appreciated the fact that their bodies were cancer-free. I then went home and Googled my strand of cancer and worried about how much time I had left, how much I wanted to do with that time and how I would ensure that my family were looked after. I even kicked myself for never having created a bloody bucket list.
However, since meeting Brendan Moran, my amazing surgeon, a week and a half ago, I feel great and I feel very grateful. I am grateful that we discovered the cancer through a routine check up, I am grateful that it’s confined to my abdomen and that it can be cured through surgery. I’m grateful that I have one of the best surgeons in the world operating on me and that he has done 700-800 of these surgeries. I’m grateful that I’m fit and healthy and am in a good place to withstand major surgery and recover well, and I am on a mission to get even fitter – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Most importantly, however, I am feeling so incredibly grateful for the loving family and friends that I have, and for all of the wonderful support that I am getting from them. It really makes me feel invincible.
One of my friends said ‘cancer connects’ and she was so right. I have been overwhelmed with all of the positive messages, lovely cards and spontaneous hugs that I have been receiving over the past few weeks. I have to say that until now, I had never realised how much love and support can be conveyed in a hug!
I have been told that my surgery will be ‘horrible’ and that the recovery will be very tough, but I can’t see the point in dwelling on it or worrying about it. It’s necessary, and it’s going to happen, and by the end of it I will be cancer-free. In anticipation of that, I’m reading ‘The 100-Year Life’ and thinking about how I can do even more post-op to make a difference with my life. In the meantime, I am fortunate that the only way that his cancer is manifesting itself is in my distended tummy and some slight discomfort. I can spend the next month enjoying Christmas activities with my family and friends, enjoy running in the park, continue to dance around the kitchen to cheesy 80’s music, and all of the other things that I love doing until I have to get worse to get better. I know it won’t be easy and there will be good days and bad days, but I am blessed to have all the support I need to cope with it. And afterwards, it will be just become part of my story.