It may seem that I don’t write happy posts, and I apologise for that. Mainly because I am reasonably happy, I just feel that the things worth writing about are not always so.
I have a love hate relationship with the phrase ‘It could always be worse’. People always ask how I meander along in life so well and, quite rightly, I respond with: “Well, it could always be worse”.
This is the case, but, on the same note, it could always be a lot better.
You would be surprised at how well most people manage having cancer. Chemotherapy isn’t really a choice, it’s something thrust upon you that you don’t make a detailed personal decision about. You take it, or you die, it’s a pretty simple decision really. Some people get to discuss with their oncologist or haematologist about what regime they will undergo, I entered into a clinical trial, that was the extent of my choice.
What you do have a choice about is how you react to having cancer. I was asked yesterday how I reacted, and if I’m honest, it wasn’t until I received the phone call telling me I had lymphoma that I even cried at all. Most of the reacting and all of the crying was done by my family and friends. I just couldn’t process it.
I consider myself very in touch with my emotions, I just couldn’t find the right way to express how it made me feel. I was angry and devastated, but I wasn’t upset. I just saw it as a positive that it was me and not somebody else. I thought I could deal with it and for the most part, I could.
I didn’t mind sickness, drowsiness, sleep depravation, vomiting, injections, knives, pills or the pain. There’s medication for everything if you ask the right questions. Almost like a back alley dispensary.
No, what I cared about was overthinking. I couldn’t and still can’t switch my brain off. Cancer takes a hold of your mind in every possible way.
Every time I don’t catch a full breath: my tumour is back.
Every time I get randomly exhausted: my Leukaemia is back.
Every ache and pain is terrifying, every hot flush and infection is terrifying. That is what I find difficult to live with. The fact I just want to be normal and care free yet my own mortality terrifies me.
There aren’t many ways to overcome this, being around people that make you forget what’s going on inside your brain, or I’ve found loosing myself in a game or a book to concentrate on something else helps a lot. Working last week to take my mind off my friend was the key. There is no cure-all to overthinking, but, I’ve at least road tested a few methods and become relatively good at utilising some of them when needs be.
I get better every day at waking up and not thinking about it. It’s hard with everything I’ve seen and experienced, but that’s why I keep a sunny disposition, because I love smiling, and the more time I spend smiling and laughing, the less life seems so shit.
It could always be worse.