I don’t want this blog to be depressing in any way, but my aim was to reach out to anyone else who might be going through all off this or making some decisions to start it. With that in mind, it would be wrong not to talk about what’s going on in my head every now & then.
In general, I think it’s fair to say I am a very optimistic person. My partner always says that if you ask me what I’m thinking about if I look pensive (not that often) it’s usually kittens and puppies. The family joke is that my sister and I would open the curtains on a rainy day and say ‘Oh look, it’s raining la-li-la’, so you get the general idea.
In 2004 when I had the first melanoma, I never worried about the outcome and I certainly never considered that it might come back. This time is different. I’m not sure if it’s just that I’ve got older (haven’t we all), that I know more information this time, that I’ve become more dramatic, or that I’ve become frightened by the stats the doctors have given me about melanoma recurrence. But at my darkest hour – and it is always in the middle of the night isn’t it? – I have imagined a pain in my ankle must be cancer, or a tickly cough; well that’s definitely lung cancer. I guess we all do it. The important thing is to fight the voices and to never, ever, ever use Dr Google. Easier said than done I admit. I’ve taken to putting my mobile in a drawer now so I don’t have a sneaky peak at what terrible illness I’ve contracted in the last 24 hours.
As I told you previously, I had hoped to attend the wedding of one of my best friend’s daughter – we are talking wedding of the year in a fabulous stately home. I asked Katrina (guardian angel nurse) if there was any chance the operation would be moved forward – there wasn’t. I think I forgot for a while that other people might actually be waiting for surgery as well (the cheek of them). I even asked if the surgery could be put back – the answer was a stern no and the question left hanging in the air of did I really understand the seriousness of the situation I was in and that time was of the essence. Having resigned myself to missing the wedding I had to tell my friend who was desperately disappointed. Of course she knew my health was more important but right at that moment, it really didn’t feel like it – I wanted to be at the wedding damnit.
Having told her and cancelled my leave from work, I really went down hill in my own head. I felt really angry that I was missing out on this event that I had looked forward to so much. I had already missed out on the hen weekend as I was having the biopsy, and let me tell you, I love a hen party. I was angry with myself – why hadn’t I done something about the damn lump in January when I found it? Could I be all done & dusted by now? Why did there have to be a Bank Holiday holding things up? Why did I move back to Ireland? Why did I bother with Factor 50 in the sun? Why did I try to eat healthy? Maybe I should drink less red wine? I crossed the last one out immediately, nobody needs that foolish talk.
To try and verbalise this to people who love you is so difficult. When I cried about not going to the wedding to Paul, my partner, he couldn’t get his head around it. I didn’t cry at the thought of yet another scar on my body or the thought of any pain I might go through, yet here I was having a sob about not getting into my posh frock and fascinator. He tried to help with mumblings about going to see them at Christmas but he just couldn’t grasp the disappointment or the unfairness that I felt right then.
I’ve always been pretty good at giving myself a dressing down. We were very lucky to have lovely parents who gave us oodles of common sense and taught us to be independent. They are sadly no longer with us but that meme that does the rounds on social media about remember who your mother is, straighten up your crown and get back out there rings very true for me.
So that is exactly what I did, back to work until the pre-op……