Note the capitals…
Weirdly, I’m beginning to realise that I’ve almost been prepared for a battle with cancer – and specifically with the side-effects of chemotherapy.
Because among the trademark side-effects of chemo are extreme fatigue, dizziness, brain fog and (because of all that) Black Dog depression. Which also happen to be trademark symptoms of ME/CRT.
I spent more than seven years battling those symptoms, back in my 30s. And won. Well, more or less. You can read the full story here.
Admittedly the nausea and the ever-so-exciting diarrhoea (even more fun with a stoma) are optional extras I could have done without. (Any chance we can take them off the menu?) But I have years of Stubborn Bastard training that are coming in really useful right now.
Those (hugely challenging) years also taught me something else which is important now: the way your mental attitude can directly affect how you feel and how you respond to an illness. As you’ll understand if you followed that earlier link.
If you didn’t then the executive summary is this:
The day before my wedding – for good and sufficient reason – I suffered a catastrophic ME relapse. I was just as exhausted and out for the count then as I was a couple of days ago, when my last chemo session caught up with me. There was serious doubt that I’d be able to remain upright at the altar. Somehow I got dressed, got to the church, and took my place there. But I felt dreadful.
Until the moment I saw my lovely Rosemary bustling up the aisle at double speed to catch me before I fell over.
And at that precise moment I was fine. Absolutely fine. And stayed that way. I still call it ‘the miracle of East Molesey’…
As I’ve said before, people talk a lot of guff about ‘positive thinking’. But there’s no substitute for pure joy – and that was joy in its most unadulterated form.
And my conclusion?
Seek out what makes you joyful. For me that’s (still) Rosemary, it’s singing or playing music, and it’s creative writing (and yes, even blogs like this one).
So expect more soon…