It’s one in the morning, and as I sit here during my second night as an emergency in-patient at my local hospital, I’m smiling. No, they haven’t given me some of the strong, ‘fun’ meds. I’m grinning simply because I’m feeling so incredibly lucky.
I want to chronicle this feeling for when things aren’t feeling as positive. Something to look back on and to help me remember that better days are coming.
Lucky because I can rely on our world-leading NHS to look after me, to grant me access to medicines I need, and to help me heal without worrying that getting better means going bankrupt.
Lucky because I was told going into this battle that, despite being stage 4b, the treatment I am undergoing is with ‘curative’ intent. I can focus on that when I’m scared and overwhelmed by the enormity of a cancer diagnosis.
Lucky because, during the toughest time in my life so far my partner, family and friends have stepped up and supported me to a level I couldn’t even have imagined possible, and have convinced me time and time again that I am loved and that I am worth fighting for.
Lucky because I have people on the internet who I’ve never even met showing me endless compassion, persistence, and humour. A kind tweet here and the odd comment there might not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, but I can’t tell you the difference they make to my mood and mental health.
Lucky because it turns out that the cancer community kicks bloody arse. Never have I encountered more determined, resilient and well-humoured people, all of whom are ready and willing to share invaluable insight, pool resources, or just have a mutual moan.
Lucky because I have a job, a boss, and colleagues whose love and care for me goes well beyond professional niceties. I am missing being with those people and at work more than ever, but they remain vigilant in checking in on me and making sure my guilt about not being present doesn’t consume me.
Finally, and the original prompt for this whole post, lucky because over the past couple of weeks I’ve met a group of women who will forever impact my life. The ways in which we lift each other up, how we can talk so openly about every aspect of our diagnoses (from pubes and tattoos through to in-depth medical experiences) has astounded me and gladdened my heart immeasurably. As one of my newest and dearest friends Lucy (check out her blog here) so eloquently put it: your strength feeds my strength and my heart aches for your struggles, because they are my struggles too.
I am lucky. I am grateful. I am still here and I am going to persist in persisting.