Three months on from my last check up at the hospital and on the surface everything appears to be going well; I am back at work on a phased return and the preparations for the Junior and Adult STICK IT TO CANCER (SITC) hockey festivals are well underway. I feel like the human equivalent of the swan analogy – I may appear graceful and contained to the outside world, but below the surface I am furiously paddling.
It is no secret or surprise that cancer has a huge impact on mental well-being. I have always been open about how I felt following my diagnosis in 2014. The range of emotions included fear, anxiety, loss of confidence and in hindsight a total loss of identity. Life as I knew it was gone and I had to find a ‘new normal.’ I have worked hard over the last 5 years to ensure cancer does not define me or hold me back and during that time I have definitely grown as a result. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr ‘The Ultimate measure of man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy’.
It feels like the dust has began to settle on what has been a very demanding year and it is only now that I am adapting to the ramifications of another new normal. Despite a reduced visual field and weakness on the left side of my body, I have accepted the physical changes. It is the emotional impact that requires more tender loving care.
As a result of my seizures I had to surrender my driving license and kiss my beloved car goodbye. Making plans now includes debating if I have enough energy to endure an hour-long bus journey into the city before my day even starts. Simple things like meeting a friend for lunch and playing hockey have become a logistical conundrum. Having spent months relying on the Funny Boy and Buggernuts as chauffeur I am starting to find my independence, but it is not easy. I don’t want to be an imposition, and I struggle to ask for help which means I feel isolated.
Due to our circumstance the Funny Boy and I have lost all hope of having a little human family of our own. I am yet to fully admit how this really feels. Anger, failure and broken-hearted are the words that come to mind. I suspect it something we may never get over, but I am hopeful it is something we will come to terms with in time.
Overall, I’ve been a useless human lately. I have focused all my vigour into returning to work and preparing for Stick it to Cancer. I have skipped meals and even forgot to take my meds. I seem to have lost sight of what is important. As you can imagine a hungry Heather minus her daily dose of hormone pills is not someone you’d want to live with. As a wife I have more baggage than the average airport terminal. I am a nightmare and the Funny Boy deserves so much more.
Further treatment is inevitable. It is an overwhelming prospect and I would be lying if I said it doesn’t bother me. Quite often I think about how to prepare myself for what lies ahead but the reality is I can’t. Nobody really know what the future holds. The only thing I can do is start taking better care of myself so when the time comes I am physically, mentally and emotionally ready to fight.
So maybe I do appear calm and collected whilst deep down I fight fiercely to keep moving forward but I wouldn’t compare myelf to a swan. Most swans take a strong dislike towards Parsnip and if I can’t have human babies then I guess there is nothing to stop me from adopting another dacshund. Every cloud…
As always #FUCANCER