This is a strange story for me to write. It will at times be a sad story, in many ways it will be happy and perhaps even funny. It will be an adventure that entails anxiety, flirting with danger, fortitude in the face of adversity and many attempts to look on the bright side. There will also no doubt be moments of anguish and despair, and a lot of uncertainty. It's a story that will hopefully be cathartic for me, but also interesting and perhaps informative or even entertaining for others.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Why worry?

Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.
~Benjamin Franklin

I really like this quote. It's very applicable to my situation. I have no idea what caused my lymphoma and therefore there is nothing I can do to avoid its return. So why worry about it?

Perhaps easier said than done though...

One Year Cancer free!

A month or so ago I had a scan and the world's worst blood test. As you will have read I'm absolutely terrified of needles, so I therefore hate the blood tests. This time the needle was faulty and the whole thing fell apart in my arm. The nurse was digging around in there for what felt like forever, while I was crying my eyes out and yelling at her to hurry up and get it out of my arm. Once it was out and I had calmed down she had to try again in the other arm. I know the fear is totally irrational, but I just can't deal with it, and situations like this just make it so much worse!

Anyway, I was meant to go to my oncologist a few days later for a check up and to get my results, but I got a phone all from the clinic saying he was stuck in Tasmania due to the Chilean volcano ash cloud, and couldn't get back to Melbourne. So my appointment was postponed. Then after a few other delays I finally got my results…cancer free!

It’s quite funny that I get so worried about the checkups and then when I get there it’s such a relaxed and laid back encounter. I walk in and sit down, my oncologist tells me my blood tests/scan was fine, he feels around for lumps, listens to my chest and then I leave. Easy. Then I spend the next three months worrying again!

So I’m not really sure how you’re supposed to measure this type of thing. My treatment finished on the 15th of June last year, but the PET scan that officially showed that I was cancer free wasn’t until the 5th of August. Either way, I’m now more than a year in remission!

Moving on has been a challenge in many ways. Physically I am only just starting to get my energy back. I still feel constantly tired and achy, but lately it’s on the improve. I still don’t have feeling in my finger tips and I have very little saliva, but I don’t have cancer, so who cares about those things?!!!

I think this next year will in a lot of ways be a year of reflection. I already notice myself thinking a lot of the time “a year ago today I was ...”. In some ways it seems like it only just happened, in other ways it seems like it’s been forever. Some things feel like they never happened to me. Perhaps it was all just a really bad dream that I can just forget ever happened.

I’m having a bit of a tough time lately thinking about others who aren’t so lucky. I know that there’s such thing as Survivor Guilt, but I’m not sure if that’s the right way to describe how I feel. It’s an incredibly strange concept. Obviously I’m so grateful be here, but I’m so angry for those that lose their fight to this terrible illness. It’s so unfair and is just another reason I’m so angry at cancer.

One year out, once again I need to thank everyone close to me. Without my friends, family, colleagues, students and friends, there is no way I would cope with any of the things I’m faced with. I love and appreciate you all very much.

Finally, since beginning this blog, I have 11,500 page views. I have received such great feedback from other lymphoma sufferers about how helpful they have found it to read my journey, and that makes me so happy. It’s a pleasure to know that my experience can help others facing the same problem.