With my wedding day happening in a matter of weeks I find myself being overly aware of time. It has been nearly 10 months since I was diagnosed. On Wednesday I return to the hospital for my 6 month check up. My grasp of time is divided: on one hand I can’t believe this whole marathon (which is ongoing) has not even been a year in the making. I feel so much has happened in the short space of time. On the other hand it feels like time is going very slowly. I sense this has something to do with an over zealous ambition of wanting everything to be normal.
In the grand scheme of things I am doing great. I am fully into the swing of things at work with a new job I enjoy. I have returned to my daily workouts which leaving me feeling energised. The wedding to do list is under control. I recently got selected for the Women in Sport Leadership Academy and I no longer feel completely out of control of my life. Considering the year I have had – I would say I am doing pretty well. However I do have days where everything can change in the blink of an eye. When my emotional thermometer goes from a comfortable room temperature to breaking point in a matter of moments. When this happens I, once again, find myself feeling vulnerable, out of control and, much like the thermometer, at breaking point.
I am currently in the final stages of preparation for a conference I am hosting for work which brings its own stresses. Couple that with my impending nuptials and a 6 month check up at my oncologist then it is no surprise that the past fortnight has left my feeling a little stressed. Someone once told me the definition of stress is fear of something not getting done. Until recently I probably would have continued to believe that but not anymore. The conference and wedding bring pressure but they do not cause stress. I know that all the deadlines for the organisation and planning will be met and ultimately will result in a well orchestrated event. Stress for me is fear of the unknown. Fear of the uncontrollable. There is literally nothing within my power I can do to secure a good result on Wednesday. That is what causes me stress. However I am beginning to learn ways to control it. Exercise is a massive ali of mine and being able to talk openly helps. I doubt there is anyone who knows me who is unaware of what I have been through and the lasting effects it has brought. I know it makes some people feel uncomfortable but I have come to accept that it is their issue. Cancer, much like mental health, is a taboo subject and this is something I am keen to challenge. Furthermore, I think it is important that people around me know that although I am doing the normal things, for me life is still far from it.
For example, this week I found myself working at an event targeting children and young people in care. My infertility is a grieving process which I am still going through. As much as I loved working at the event and meeting the children and their carers, I found myself feeling emotional on the drive home. In my ‘normal life’ I knew that if the Funny Boy and I wanted to have children it would simply involve us taking our clothes off and having a good time. Now, I have no idea where to start. That makes me frustrated. What hurts even more is the prospect that the fact I have had cancer could prevent me ever being a mother. I have read horror stories online where adoption agencies have used it against people who are looking to adopt. Is it possible that Cancer could deny me ever being a mum?
I do my best to stay positive. I try to focus on the facts and ignore any negative thoughts. With the stress of my 6 month check up slowly mounting I set my attention to areas within my control. As it is the weekend, I had planned to do some training for the half marathon I am doing in March and tick a few errands off the wedding to do list. At 9am this morning I could be found in the midst of a nine mile run at the top of Arthur Seat. The sun was shining above me, Edinburgh was looking beautiful below me and I was feeling fit. As far as Saturday mornings go – this was picture perfect. I met the Funny Boy and Parsnip at Portobello beach where we stopped for a well-earned breakfast which was intended to fuel us for wedding tasks. Unfortunately the happy mood was not set to last. A phone call to our travel agents to enquire about our honeymoon led me to breaking point. Bad customer service, a broken promise and an additional uncontrollable stress led me to tears. My emotional thermometer had reached breaking point and once again, I found myself feeling unable to cope.
It may seem like an over exaggeration but this is what my new normal is like. My life is now measured in three-monthly increments. As each date draws nearer I find myself hoping, wishing and praying that all is ok. On one hand I welcome any appointment so I can breathe a sigh of relief. On the other the prospect of another three months vacant from doctors, nurses and tests is a treat because at least ignorance is bliss. Regardless this is the new norm that I am growing accustomed to. I refuse to let Cancer deny me the good things in life. It may have left me with a set of redundant ovaries and a faulty emotional thermometer but I am stronger. In light of my fascination of time I have plenty to look forward to:
2 weeks til my Hen Weekend
5 weeks til my Hen Night
6 weeks til my holiday with the Iceberg
8 weeks til I say I do….