Time for some cheer

I know the weekend’s post was a bit hard going. I lived it and reading it back was tough enough for me. So time for some cheer.

That’s the thing about cancer treatment; one minute you are crawling on your bathroom floor, the next you are whizzing around London having a fine time. Then you’re shattered again. ‘This too will pass’ has become regular self talk for me and many other cancer thrivers.

Today I made the trip for 10 vials of blood to be taken and tested to make sure all my organs are behaving themselves and have managed to process the 10 of the 14 days drugs I poisoned myself and hopefully the cancer with earlier this month.

Good news is, my liver and kidney function and my red, white and platelet cell factories seem in fighting spirit. And so too am I.

I’m still adjusting to the peaks and troughs of this new medication, but hopefully with a reduced dose and three lots of anti sickness drugs by my side I will navigate cycle 2 (and half term (!)) with a bit more grace.

I was lucky enough to get the prime viewing seat for my bloods today. The rain stayed away too.

Today involved, being weighed (1 min incl. lace up shoes) taking some bloods (10 mins), seeing an oncologist (which was less than 5 mins as I’ve been in and out with bad reactions so they are up to speed with my side effects), making an appointment for 3 weeks time (1 min), filing a prescription (2 mins) collecting two lots of drugs from two different places (5 mins) total to collect and walk between two places. So 24 active patient minutes. I left my house at 8.30 and got back to my town in time for a work meeting at 5pm. Granted the travel time is a big chunk of that, but I still spent over 5.5hrs waiting at various places or travelling between parts of the same building.

There has got to be some efficiencies to make there surely. I even transported my own bloods and handed them to a nurse to hand deliver to the lab, because the porter system can add another hour at least. No wonder we have a productivity problem in this country – all those people not working, but waiting, or waiting with someone who’s waiting.

They even have a poster to help manage your expectation

I’m an impatient patient. You may have picked that up! I hate inefficiency. If I can see a quicker, better, different path I like to take it or find it.

That said, Knowing that today would be a waiting day, I planned some jobs and some cheer. In between sorting my annual accounts, finishing a poem, drafting this and picking up some presents I managed a bit of cheer. I stumbled upon a cafe behind the hospital and decamped for some non-vending lunch. I then met Jimmy of ‘London Hearts’ fame for a coffee and to pick up my commission of our very own ‘Cosmic Heart’.

As I had expected he was a lovely bloke and very humble about his talents. I started to shake his hand, but that felt odd, so I gave him a big hug, which felt right. We chatted a while about his work, my blog, legacy, reaching out and connecting to your loved ones and inspiring communities of people to do the same. I am so glad I stumbled upon those hearts, pressed send on what seemed like a slightly unusual email and met the heart behind some of the world’s street art.

Despite the waiting, today was a good day. I feel good.

Sometimes that’s enough.

Through the Eye of the Storm (Poem 6)

Photo credit: my icklest ickle sister (24.7.19)

Through the Eye of the Storm

Not with glee or intrepid.
Started focused, calm and steady 
Blocked out noise and emotion around me.

Leading others and letting me be,
My choices. My journey. 
They said ‘you had no choice’
I prefer to say ‘I chose’. I used my voice, 
I chose my attitude; I chose some of the path,
I decided when to make people laugh.

In the dark, tuning into something bigger, deeper and quieter than you,
Your inner voice giving counsel, in the absence of a view.
Listen beneath the raging storm for your guide,
Despite the apparent lack of control; you decide.

At the end is certain death,
Timing unknown for that last breath
But sooner by their faces,
Beating this, another of life’s races.

The search for a force to pull you through, 
No direct experience to draw upon, nothing in lieu.
Umbilical cord gives you life,
But where is your thread of survival when this runs rife?

Experiences give you strength and some knowledge of endeavour, 
Loved ones around you, people worse off, all woven and twisted together,
Guiding you, empowering you, but not holding you up, not pulling you through.
This has to come from within you. 
Trusting yourself to navigate your new norm,
Your voice, your purpose, your choice, pulls you through the storm.

May and June 16th 2019