Since having cancer my determination to stay alive is something that permeates my consciousness. I am ever-aware of my fight for survival. Stronger still is the need to make the most of each day. At first this was a pressure which had the effect of stifling my creativity. I was so desperate not to waste time that I cupped it in my hands like a trapped butterfly, afraid to let it go. Once I became aware of what I was doing I slowly unfurled and now my spirit feels free again.
But once again I am facing uncertainty. After a visit to my GP I have been referred for more tests, which are scheduled for July 13th. The familiar feeling of not knowing what’s in store, not really wanting to know yet disliking being in the dark – it all buzzes round my head like a swarm of angry bees. It’s possible that the changes in my breast are due to lymphoedema, but it’s also possible there may be a more sinister cause. I’m so scared of the worst scenario becoming a reality. I feel as I’m in some kind of limbo. Being suspended from a great height and looking down at my situation has its merits in that it stops the panic taking hold of me. But then there’s the frustration that I might be wasting precious time. It’s that not knowing – it gnaws away at you like an invisible worm.
I think this is something I may have to expect from cancer. Overcoming one hurdle and then stumbling upon another when you least expect it. I wonder if I’ll ever feel truly free from the shadow of cancer. If this latest scare turns out to be just that – a scare – I’m almost certain there will be more.
But whatever happens I know that I won’t go down without a fight. I am very clear about what I value, and I’m not going to relinquish what I value just because the mountain I’m climbing suddenly gets a thousand feet taller. July 13th will come and go. Before then I’m going to London as my Guide dog Trudy is a finalist in the Guide dog of the Year Awards.
Trudy’s award is a welcome distraction from my anxieties, and I think if I look hard enough I’ll be able to find a few more. But although distracting myself is one way of dealing with anxiety, I’m also trying to accept what I think and feel. Learning to accept that this is what I’m feeling rather than always trying to push it away, might well preserve my energy for when the fight is really on.
I will be so relieved when this particular uncertainty has evaporated – whatever the tests reveal.