” Hello, how are you?” say the cheery bank teller, checkout lady, bus driver and many drama bods. “Fine thanks” say I . Well , let’s face it, one can’t very well answer “just diagnosed with Grade 3 cancer” can one, especially when the questioner is just being polite. In any case, I AM fine. I am actually probably physically fitter now than I have been for a good few years – the irony is not lost on me. I am fine, honest, I’m not just ‘being brave’.
Since Monday’s diagnosis, when my wee world imploded on me, I’ve been totally fine for a few minutes every hour when I was being distracted by a Fringe show or something, but it was not long before my brain flicked back to this greedy thing inside my womb. I can’t claim to have been worrying about it per se but my brain was going over all sorts of things, drafting random ramblings in my head, almost as if I were blogging. (!) It was as if there was a little engine chugging away trying to get my brain in gear. As with a dream, despite being clear at the time, few thoughts were able to be recalled afterwards, though I know some were predicated on the fact I have good genes so expected to live another twenty-odd years, after recovering from pneumonia and getting the all-clear after breast cancer.
However, something happened yesterday – Friday. I wasn’t aware of any reason in particular, but I suddenly felt quieter inside, as though that little whirring engine noise had switched off. It’s as though my brain has finally processed what’s happening so is now just getting ready for whatever lies ahead. Maybe this is all par for the course, and my state of mind-cum-emotions will fluctuate often – I don’t know. All remains to be seen.
I’m aware of the ‘blogger mode’ thingy-wotsit in my brain is still chundling away, but its effect is different, I don’t feel ‘boverred’ by it as I was earlier in the week. In particular, I feel far calmer about my decision to step down temporarily from some of my drama responsibilities in order to give myself a less-stressed few months. Luckily this is the ideal time to hand over – after the Fringe and before the organisation of the following year’s one-act festival starts – so whomever stands in for me will not be thrown in at the deep end right away.
A very supportive friend referred to cancer patients as having a war to face which consists of many smaller battles. One has to make sure one’s army is in the best possible condition for the skirmishes ahead, there being no point asking them to fight if they are undernourished and/or tired. This wee scenario of the fighting force preparing to do battle with cancer for me really appealed because it chimed exactly with the theme of the recent film ‘Inside Out’ which had quite an effect on me. (I’m a simple wee soul really) . There’s a place for Fear and Anger but I’ll just keep them both busy with trivialities like world politics so that they don’t have time to bother me much. I dare say Disgust will get a larger role, especially if I do have chemo which makes me sick ( I cannot stand vomit – urrrgh!). I accept that Sadness has her role to play, but Joy will continue to be in charge at my control panel, strengthened when I go feeding my soul with Scotland’s wonderful nature and refuelled from the support of my partner and friends.
So, I might have cancer but I’m fine really, just fine, how are you?