May you live all the days of your life
Though I’m not sure I’m in the zone for uplifting – sitting in the Addies day unit having my first dose of FOLFOX (sounds sexy, eh?) – I want to try and write something a little more joyful than my last few posts. I want to write this because joyful is what I have been feeling for a lot of the last month. This feeling of wellness, of being able to bounce out of bed and play Transformers overwhelms me because of the paradox of the Nuisance inside. I’ve luxuriated in the sensation of energy coursing through my body, in pulling down the garage door and feeling muscles somewhere under my flabby tummy respond. I’ve enjoyed wanting to engage with the world, with the boys, with friends without feeling the drain of tiredness shutting down my desire to talk or read or emote. I am well over the op now. But there is a shadow of how it might feel to lose my wellness again when the chemo kicks in, when the boys bring home vile toddler germs from nursery, when I am so tired I can’t hold up the hefty historical tome/A Suitable Boy. So during this in-betwixt time which has just ended with the first injection of foxyfol into my veins, I have been trying to be joyful, and I have been joyful, and I wanted to record some of my little pleasings.
Outside. Have you ever seen Ely cathedral on a sunny day in November? It stands proud above the flat fens, their unbelievable dullness making it seem even more remarkable than it already is. The end of the autumn leaves at the Botanic Gardens and the warmth of the sun on the back of my neck when I’m all wrapped up in coats and scarves. My strong legs taking me down to the Co-Op, and my strong arms lifting Oscar onto my shoulders to watch the Chinese dragons at the Mill Road fair. Going out into the cold starry Cambridge night with Billy for a drink in the pub.
Inside. Cleaning the kitchen (oh how I love to clean, though I do it badly by Jenny’s standards). How nice 47 Ross Street is when the toys are tied up, and B and I sit in the glow of many scented candles and amidst the foliage of our weekly floral deliveries. Seeing our very best friends around our dinner table, eating too much meat and cheese, reclining on the sofas eating cake. Teaching Oscar and Isaac some Gross-dancing to Baby We Were Born to Run. Sitting quietly in my attic watching the big Cambridge sky at its bluest, like a primary school hymn.
And in my head. Being engaged by aforementioned hefty historical tome and remembering that reading is just my best thing. Letting the tome remind me that history doesn’t just unfurl itself, it is a patchwork of decisions and indecisions made by people every day. Being happy that I’ve inhabited the world where those decisions are made, though happy that I’m not right now. But nonetheless finding my hinterland come alive again as I look out of the attic to Goma, to the elections in Sierra Leone, to the dispiriting sight of our politicians cowing from doing the right thing in Europe or with the media. Not being too emotionally frail to watch Forbrydelsen III, or indeed the trailer for the new Les Mis movie (*weep* over Hugh Jackman’s guns). Grabbing control of life by setting a date for Billy and I to get married, even if it is a foxfolly to do so when my little white blood cells will be so weakened and the fall of my wedding dress ruined by a picc line.
But before I get too Livestrong on you all, let me reassure you that this is not some crazy gratitude for cancer giving me time to stop and watch in wonder at the world around me. Though, like all the best cancer clichés, that is just a little bit true. Family will attest that my joys have been interspersed with irritable, sad and tired Kate. But my betwixt-time has been properly lived. I’ve carped my diem with some vigour – because “whilst we are talking, envious time is fleeing”. I hope to carry on doing so, though I will take a while to get used to this ‘new normal’ and how my body feels with this odd cocktail of toxins flowing through it (not to mention the exciting pearls of radioactivity which will light me up in time for Christmas). But whatever it does, I shall try to be Swiftean in my endeavour to live all the days of my life. Dear readers, you have given me so much courage with your stories of how to be in times of uncertainty, and been on hand to help me pluck the day whilst it’s ripe in so many ways. Thank you.