An open letter...
Don't I? Heaven forbid I should be out enjoying myself too! What do you think I should look like? A bald fragile heap confined to my bed? That may well be yet to come, but right now I'm waiting to find out.
It's a horrible time. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Waiting to know your fate, have they got it all? Has it spread to my lymph nodes? Will I need another operation? More tests? There's still a lot of unknowns and I cope by getting through one stage at a time and dealing with it how I can.
The hospital signed me off work for a month and I am not allowed to drive. Insurance reasons for both and they consider me not fit enough to return.
I'm not a person who has a lot of time off work with illness and I've beat myself up on days where I feel like I could be well enough to go back. But you're going out - you're on social media, you're blogging. Let me tell you, there is a huge amount of difference between getting up in the morning, going to work and facing the public than sitting in your bed in your pyjamas tapping on your computer between naps and pain killers. But you've been out and dressed - What do you expect me to do? lay in bed and wait for 3 weeks - (yes it's 3 weeks for results - which feels like a hell of a lot longer) Should I be throwing up? Googling my fate - No, what I need are good friends who keep in touch and come round and take me out - give me a reason to get out and get motivated. To feel alive and take my mind off my current living hell. So sorry if it looks like I'm enjoying myself and if that bothers you when you think I shouldn't look happy, but what you don't see are the sleepless nights, me unable to get to sleep at night as different scenarios and outcomes go round and round in my head, not to mention the nightmares I had for a week after the operation - then when I finally get to sleep, my lack of energy, desire and motivation to get up in the morning.
Do you also realise that when I have been out I've not been alone? There's been someone on the other side of the camera taking my photo, driving me there, making sure I'm OK. You won't know that today I went into the Coop alone and had an anxiety attack and couldn't wait to get home.
Having had Cancer once, it doesn't make it any easier the second time. In many ways you're more aware of the possibilities and the effects of Chemotherapy. Sitting in that waiting room for your turn to learn your results. Not to mention the fact that its a worry in itself that it has come back - if/when I get through this one - will it come back again?
So maybe I do look OK, maybe I don't look like I have Cancer - but you can't see what's happening on the inside, physically or mentally. So, if you see me out and about, smile - because as the saying goes - you never know what kind of personal battle people are going through. This is mine, and it will be someone else's. Just because right now we don't fit in with your stereotype, please don't judge until you are in my shoes and if you are, do what's right for you. Live for today and hope for tomorrow.
Love T xx