A really bad novella

If you’ve slogged your way through the blog from the beginning or so, you will know that there are many things which have happened to us. What, in a tv series or book, would be held up as poor drama – over exaggerated and melodramatic at best, has really happened to us. The initial cancer, the secondary cancer diagnosed a year after finishing my last drug, Herceptin, moving house and going to Thailand despite reservations of my oncology team, managing to get the whole family together for our first Christmas in the new house and then the inconvenient  and tragic death of my father-in-law, just as he had decided to sell up and move to the same village as us, leaving us with my mother-in-law who has Dementia worse than we had even imagined. The next dramatic episode is provided by my father who telephones to tell us he has prostate cancer. Given that we rarely speak, it is momentous news on all fronts. He sounds frail and frightened, my mother having died a few years ago and he having had the benefit of good health for most of his 88 years. Every time we seem to get on our emotional feet, something comes along to knock us down.

This time, I feel trampled down into the mud, not just because of this last piece of news but because of the cumulative crap which has been thrown at us over the last 4 years. I go to my Reiki appointment at the Hospice and just talking to the Reiki practitioner, I break down and I can’t stop. Nose bleed, the full works. It all comes pouring out and I realise as I speak that I need help and am amazed I haven’t asked for it before. It’s like I’ve been blind and deaf to what’s been going on in my head and heart and, were I a friend, I would have been beating myself about the head for being so stupid (in a nice way, of course). There are lots of suggestions that I might take up but this time I am single-minded in what I want and refuse anything but those things that really appeal. So we make plans for the following week and I leave feeling I have achieved something. On arrival home, I explain to Mr Mason that I am broken and I need help to get back on an even track. He looks just a notch down from distraught until I explain what I need and how I am going to get it. Today I’m tearful, tomorrow I’ll be smiling and joking and it can’t go on. I am wearing myself out psychologically and emotionally and not really able to enjoy the health I have at the moment. I feel much better now I have confessed to the relevant people just how awful I feel and they have taken me seriously and come up with an immediate plan to help me. It’s such a relief. Next I go on line and make an appointment to see my GP so he can go through my meds and see whether we should be tweaking, adding or subtracting. My pain isn’t really under control and the Hospice staff say this is unreasonable so should be the first thing to get under control. So that’s done.

The next day I feel much better. On Friday we go to see the oncologist and I explain to him how I’ve been feeling and he tells me to do things I like, go on holiday, dance, do whatever gives me pleasure and to really live my life. I like him even more. He’s not saying “Get it done before you snuff it” but just enjoy your life and although that makes me cry, it’s a good sort of tearfulness. I tell him I would like to see him dance but he demurs.

I’m not claiming I’m going to be a new me. I’m just going to concentrate on myself a bit more (as Mr Mason has been telling me for ages). The bad novella with all the overly dramatic bits, formerly known as My Life has taken its toll and I need to re-group and set myself up properly again. Going to bed at 4pm every day has to stop. Pain has to stop. Exhaustion has to stop. Tearfulness has to stop and melodrama has to stop. That’s it. I’m signing off with one of my favourite tracks and thinking of Les in Brentford (have you seen him lately?)


Demons, dragons and zombies

At the moment I’m struggling to compartmentalise my life. I do a lot of the right things – I have a To Do list which I add to and cross things off, for example, but I haven’t got the balance of being reintroduced to work with resting and relaxing yet. The ridiculous thing is that I don’t have much in the way of work but somehow, once I’ve read emails and responded, I seem to spend an awfully long time doing admin and feeling stressed about what I haven’t done, including the rest and relaxation bit. Yes, the old demon stress is back, courtesy of yours truly. Is there anything more annoying than creating stress for yourself? Probably, yes.

The duvet sliding down inside the cover, leaving a lot of cover at the top but no duvet – that’s annoying. People looking at my shorn head on the tube and discussing it between themselves without thinking to offer me  bloody seat – that’s annoying! Rude people in general annoy me – not holding doors open, not saying thank you or please, being impatient with hospital staff, people who block the pavement and don’t think to move, thoughtless people….. Wait, this is turning into a rant! It’s too soon in my blogging history to rant. I leave that to my daughter who is a champion ranter. If it was an Olympic sport, she would be gold medallist. Come to think of it, we’re all pretty good at ranting in our family. Not all the time, because that would be, well, very annoying.

What can I do to help with this miniscule work/life balance? Life looms large and needs to be grabbed hold of. Not enough time and too much life in me. So I’ll do different things in my newest life. No more weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth – not today, anyway. I’ve been forced into changing so I want some say in some of the changes. Regain and retain control as far as possible. This is where the dragons and zombies come in. Dragon boat racing. I’ve seen it done and admired it but that was it. I never thought ‘I’ll join a team’ because it just never occurred to me. So now I have. There is a terrific team in Docklands called Wave Walkers and team members from Raging Dragons come over every other week to train with other newly emerging people like myself so we can regain fitness and have a lot of fun. Me, in a boat? Never! But I did it. I went there and did the preliminary safety stuff, helped carry the boat and then I got in it and paddled away. It was snowing, someone got taken off the boat with hypothermia and carted off in an ambulance; it was brilliant. I’m going back this weekend to do it all over again. Zombies? That’s for October. I’m going to dress up and scare people witless at some 5k Zombie run. It means makeup, walking in a funny way and moaning, as in a constant noise, not complaining. The dog’s coming, too, so I’ve got plenty of time to think of his costume. Do dogs become zombies? This October they do!