Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Unwanted Gift

Photocopy:Maggie May

It was late in 2009 when I was diagnosed with cancer. I was completely shocked and unprepared for it. After all, wasn't this what happened to other people? Surely not to me.
I was just one of the people who statistically would be the *one in three* so why wouldn't it be me? Christmas of that year was to change everything because I started chemotherapy and a long, hard slog to get where I am today.
Three years on and in remission, I still can hardly believe everything that has happened. 

It was the little brown diary for 2010 that got me into the habit of writing everything down on paper, though I was already writing my blog. In the first place, the diary wasn't meant for me but was given as a Christmas present to my husband, Harry by someone who obviously didn't know him well at all because if they did, they would have known that Harry didn't like writing and would consider diary keeping as a terrible chore.
I decided to take the diary off his hands and made a New Years Resolution to write in it every day. The  first one was filled with my struggles of fighting the effects of chemo and trying to push back the disease which couldn't be cured because it was in its secondary state before it was noticed. I felt writing the diary was very cathartic so I made a New Years Resolution again to fill up a second one. 
That book was also filled up and then the third one was bought. I am amazed that I got this far because at first Oncology weren't too hopeful for a reasonable survival time.

The three books are full of my emotional and physical turmoil and as the anniversary of my cancer discovery has already passed I am so grateful to all the hospitals, treatment, doctors, specialists, nurses and family and friends who have helped me get to the stage where I am in now.
Although buying another diary does make me wonder what the next year will throw at me, I am determined to buy the next one and do my utmost to get through it and hopefully start a fifth.

Somedays when I'm filling in my daily account of the day, I look up to see what was happening last year and then again the year before. It is encouraging to see an account of what I went through and how I managed it and I am reminded of how strong I was in 2010 compared to how I am today because chemo and radiotherapy have certainly taken their toll on my body. 
I have come to the conclusion though, that we are a lot stronger than we think.

27 comments:

SueAnn Lommler said...

And I am so glad you are!! Welcome to another anniversary...may you have many more
Hugs
SueAnn

dianefaith said...

Your post is inspiring. Those of us who do enjoy writing are very lucky because it gives us an outlet in tough circumstances. Would I have the courage to keep writing in the way that you do? I don't know, but you make me hope that I would.

Expat mum said...

You have certainly had a rough time of it, and have handled everything with grace and courage. x

Alyson (New England Living) said...

Beautiful post! So wonderful to see how far you've come, and what a blessing to have those diaries to see what struggles you are capable of beating. Happy anniversary! xx

Celia said...

Congrats on another anniversary and another diary. Those little books are our friends. Glad to hear from you.

Retired English Teacher said...

I believe in the healing nature of writing. Your well documented journey is one that will last down through the generations in your family if you choose to share with those who come after you.

Your courage, determination, and grace truly is inspirational. Day by day, you have recorded so much. God bless you as you begin to fill yet another book.

Jackie said...

Your strength is a pillar of strength for me, Maggie.
Love you, my friend...
J.

Leave It To Davis said...

I wish I had kept detailed accounts of what my dad went through when he was going through treatment, but I was sure he would make it and just wanted to forget the entire portion of our lives. Now, I would treasure an accurate account of what he went through. Too bad I didn't have a crystal ball to see the future. Good for you that you had the will to write it all down, not just for yourself, but for your family. And congratulations on starting yet another year! I hope you have 20 more!

Akelamalu said...

You've been through a lot and come through. I think the next diary you complete will show how much further you will have come. Get a big box to put your diaries in - I have a feeling you're going to need it. xxxx

cheshire wife said...

I am sure that those dairies make interesting reading. Maybe you could convert them into a book. I hope that the record of what you have been through inspires you to keep going!

Irene said...

I do all the recording of my days and the sharing of my thoughts in my blog. It is like writing in a diary. I don't know if anyone close to me will read it after I am gone but it does not seem so important. I write mainly to get things straight for myself. I'm glad that you are filling one diary after another and I have the feeling that you will be doing this for a long time to come yet. You will leave a legacy. XOX

Dimple said...

I have started a diary once or twice, but have never kept at it. I am blessed that you are doing so well now, and that you have something to remind you of the road you have passed over.
I believe it is true that God never gives us more than we can handle--with His help.

Wendy said...

Yes we are, Maggie - much stronger than we think. Bless you for having the courage to write about your struggles with cancer. Some wouldn't bother. Writing is healing (at least I think so) and a good way to look back, like you've done.
You are an inspiration to us all with your strength and down-to-earth blog posts.
Sending hugs

Suldog said...

Maggie, I'm thankful to your doctors and other helpers, too. Without them, I wouldn't have had the pleasure of reading all of your words for as long as I have. Here's hoping for a fourth, fifth, sixth, twentieth, thirtieth diary.

Brian Miller said...

i think that is a wonderful conclusion and cool you can see that over time...i have kept journals for quite a few years and love to look back...smiles.

Ayak said...

Just keep writing those diaries for many more years to come Maggie xxx

Mimi said...

I am so glad that you're still with us, still writing, because I love to read your blog.
Maybe, little by little, you'll regain strength. I agree that those treatments take a huge toll on your poor body, but I've seen people get strength back, slowly but surely.
(((hugs)))

Formerly known as Frau said...

You have amazing strength and fight. I wish I was a diary writer....I think it provides a certain cleansing of the soul. Keep this fight up and Harry too...my hope and prayers are cancer is a thing of the past for you both.

Jeni said...

By posting your thoughts and feelings in that diary, you are, in essence, doing a cleansing of sorts of the bad vibes that haunt all of us throughout our bodies, especially when trying to cope with a particularly nasty illness. And cancer sure as heck does qualify as a particularly nasty illness, doesn't it? By doing that though, by taking a bit of a cleansing on your own, you are hastening getting better. At least I feel that way. Just another example of the power of positive thinking. So go out and get that next diary and plan to have it to read next year at this time as you shop for another one then!

Secret Agent Woman said...

I think journaling your experience is part of the healing, and I'm so glad you bought another diary. Here's to many more!

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

How marvellous that you have come so far Maggie. So pleased to know that you are well now. Keeping those diaries must have helped you to cope with your difficult times and now, as you say, you can look back and see just how far you travelled in those 3 years. Long may it continue. A x

Hilary said...

I think you're one of the strongest people I've never met! And I hope that there are many more diaries in your future. And many more of your blog posts in ours.

Rose said...

I hope you not only fill up a fourth and fifth diary, but many more, Maggie! Keeping the diary has obviously been a benefit to you, but writing about your struggles here has also been an inspiration to all of us. You've shown us all the meaning of courage and a positive attitude.

Suburbia said...

That's a great post Maggie. You are a brave and strong lady, here's to your next set of full diaries :)

Carol Buehner said...

Maggie....sometimes unwanted gifts end up being blessings! I love to journal, checking back at previous years like you did. Definitely lets you see how much you change and survive. We women are a strong breed!! xoxo

Helena said...

When I was little I had a 5 year diary given to me with a little padlock on the front. It had 5 sections on each page, one for each year. So you could automatically see back to previous years straight away. I wish I had kept it up. It's the longest I've kept a diary, ever!

You are very brave and strong to get through what you have, and it was such a great idea to write down the journey. I hope you have many, many more to fill in!

Gypsy Lala said...

Yes, you are! I am so touching to read this post.