Photo Copyright: Maggie May
As the week is passing by, I am reducing my pain relief considerably, and apart from my usual arthritic pain, I am enjoying the freedom from that dreadful bone pain I had prior to the radiation treatments.
Pain is the very opposite of all that is good in life.
It has the power to impair a brain's functioning. It drains your energy. It takes over your mind, your body, your thinking, your creativity.
Like the pains of childbirth, when it has stopped, the severity of it disappears somewhere into the unconscious mind and a little door is shut on it. It isn't until there is a repeat experience of it that you remember how awful it is again.
At present, I am just having to wait and see what happens next and try enjoy each day as it comes.
This doesn't come easily to me.... the born worrier.
Will IT come back?
However, each day is a gift of extra life...... a bonus.
All that I know is ..... that I feel things more intensely. My family and friends mean more to me than before. The sky, the garden flowers and colours all seem more intense than they did before. My freedom seems more important too and I am making plans to go to the singing group again and take trips to the sea.
Everything that isn't life threatening seems to be quite unimportant to me. I used to worry about the most ridiculous things. I wasted so much time doing this.
People, on the whole, seem to be friendly and supportive towards me. However, there are still some who feel terribly awkward when they spot me and would rather run into a shop than to have to say anything.
I feel it is better to risk not saying the right thing than to run away. I don't think there is a right or a wrong thing to say anyway. Just be yourself.
I don't think people find it easy to meet up with anyone who is having a close brush with death. I think its not in our culture. "If I don't have to talk about this, I don't have to face up to the problem of cancer."
They feel threatened when they get close to someone with persistent cancer. It makes them feel under threat too. "If this can happen to her, then it could happen to me. I'd rather not think about it right now."
It is a big problem. One only has to spend a short time in Oncology to realise just how common the problem is.
I hope by talking about it that I will help others to drop their barriers a bit, though much of the time I want to be treated as normal. I am Maggie, the same person as I have always been ..... I experience the same things as you and face the same fears as you.
I just happen to be battling cancer.
I don't always want to talk about it but sometimes I do because my whole life is so tied up with how it affects me and how it makes me feel.
One day it will get me but not yet. I have so many things I want to see.
I want to see my granddaughters at least get settled into Secondary school. I want to share in the joys of their new house. I want to be able to do things with them again.
Amber, my eldest granddaughter, on hearing that I had finished my treatment, said to me, "Oh good now you can start doing things with me again."
She knows that I have cancer and she also knows I've had a problem with a sore bottom. Goodness only knows what she has said at school. (Don't forget that I used to work there.)
Some people see me standing in the playground and look the other way. Some of them are work mates or parents I knew very well. They are not all like that though, by any means.
I often just open my arms and say, "Yes, I'm still here." That seems to break the ice and put others at their ease.
One person who I thought I knew extremely well said to me. How can you just keep acting normal when this is happening to you?"
Well my answer really is, "What else can I do? Do I just lie down and wait to die? It might take a long time and it would be a bit of a waste of time, don't you think?"
I am learning to laugh at this because it is a terrible problem and one that any body might have to face sooner or later.
So how about seeking out someone you know who might be battling cancer or any other disease (that people find difficult) that takes you out of your comfort zone?
You might make a difference in that person's life. More than you think.