Bumps in The Road

Not to spoil the surprise but I’m getting married next year – all the girly details on the proposal will follow, I promise.  Anyway, today I sent off for ‘save the date’ cards.  June 2012.  As it came to clicking the ‘purchase’ I paused, hovering over the button that would deduct the money from my bank account.  A thousand thoughts ran through my head but they all lead to one big question, will I be here for that date?

Three months ago Current Consultant couldn’t even guarantee I’d be around for six months, here I am planning a wedding scheduled for a full 13 months after that prognosis. Taking a deep breath, in an act of defiance I double clicked the mouse and I bought the cards.

A cancer diagnosis in your 20’s gets you thinking about things that you shouldn’t even consider.  It sounds pretty gloomy but often when I’m listening to my iPod a song might come on and I wonder whether it would make a good funeral song. Most women who are planning a wedding would be thinking about possible first dance tracks, but instead, despite myself, my first thought on hearing a slow or moving song is; could this be played at my funeral?

During my morning routine I’ll catch myself looking at how much moisturiser is left in its pot or how heavy the shampoo bottle feels.  Will I need to replenish the products or will they ‘outlive’ me?  It sounds silly really, hardly the most major of concerns; hoping the half tub of body moisturiser won’t be your last.

Then there are the things I think I might miss out on. On holiday recently I spotted a small scar on Tom’s arm that I’d never noticed before, how had I not seen this before?  What else hadn’t I noticed about him? What might I miss out on?

Last night as we were kissing I held his face in my hands and was lost in the moment, but then a cancer rudely interrupts and I think how many kisses do we have left? Is there a predetermined number we won’t get past?

If I die I want nothing more than Tom, my family and my friends to heal and move on but I have to admit something I’m a little ashamed to put into words.  It upsets me to think of my loved ones living on without me; the people I care so much about getting on with life, and me becoming a memory.  It is so incredibly selfish but it hurts to think of being gotten over.

Cancer has forced me to contemplate the consequences of my death at a young age but while I have to process these thoughts and fears, I know that the most important thing is to get on with living.


21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gill
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 23:12:26

    Well, I hope you’ll buy a case of shampoo bottles. Thanks for sharing all of those little thoughts – it gives such great insight.
    I also wanted to add – having lost my dad last year- I don’t think we do get over losing someone close, we just learn to live with the grief and sadness.


  2. Davina Bidart
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 23:38:09

    Congratulations on your wedding news you are going to be a beautiful bride and maybe you can have your honeymoon in OZ. Kick John out of his apartment and you will have a 5 minute stroll to the beach.
    Best Wishes


  3. Ann
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 07:02:38

    Contrats. from me too – do you really have to get married next year? Why not do it now – you can still have a lovely wedding, you don’t need too many trimmings, just the ones you love around, what a memorable day. I’m not writing you off, I just wonder, when we have a serious illness we should seize each day with gusto. Good luck on your ‘journey’.


  4. Rebecca W
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 20:07:04

    So don’t die any time soon then. Please xx


  5. Rebecca W
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 20:11:30

    Oh and Gill’s right, my dad died 26 years ago and my sister 17 years ago. It still hurts like it was yesterday. The pain never goes, it just hurst less often.

    I think about Dad and Vicky at least once a day. When you matter to someone you matter forever.


  6. Ellie Jeffery
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 22:24:32

    I have no plans to go anywhere soon Rebecca! Feeling well and planning this wedding has given me even more reason to be around for a longtime to come. As ever, thanks everyone for reading xx


  7. Rachel
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 23:39:55

    Ditto Ellie-I too am getting married next June!! You are showing me up on the ‘being organised’ front as I didn’t bother with ‘save the date’ cards but have had a number of people just recently (our mutual friend Matt being the main culprit) who have asked me to clarify the date! Congratulations and I look forward to hearing ‘the engagement installment’!


  8. Jo Hoare
    Aug 24, 2011 @ 15:05:21

    Stumbled across this from Twitter- this is an amazing blog. This might sound flippant but I’m a beauty journalist and if you would like any products for your wedding prep or just for some pampering I can send you a lovely big bag. Jo xx


  9. Yasmin M
    Aug 24, 2011 @ 15:14:49

    Hello Ellie,
    Huge congratulations on your wonderful wedding plans! And thank you for blogging your journey. I have to tell you, your story has some remarkable similarities to my big sister, a few years ago. Unfortunately, her secondaries were in her organs & despite putting up a fierce battle, she lost. But so many of your questions re: being written off, strike a chord with what she went through… amazingly enough, as an Aussie woman living in London, on Wimpole St.
    And yes, I agree with the others, she wanted us to move on, and you do. But you also just don’t! Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her.
    It sounds to me like you are on the path to kicking that cancers butt!!! I’m looking forward to following your news & wishing you the very best in June 2012. ❤


    • Ellie Jeffery
      Aug 24, 2011 @ 16:53:57

      What a lovely message, thank you Yasmin. I’m so sorry to hear about your sister, I pray they come up with something to stop this disease from taking so many lives that are still to be lived. Thanks for reading and taking the time out to comment xx


  10. Lou
    Aug 24, 2011 @ 20:53:39

    Hi ellie,
    Pips send me the link to your blog and its been a privilage to read. Its really honest and I think it will provide comfort and solace to others in prehaps similar situations. Keep it up!
    lou (pips sis) xx
    p.s Congratulations on getting engaged!


  11. Clare Burton
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 11:03:49

    Am imagining Dr. Hope to look a bit like Dan Snow or similar hunky/geeky type – anywhere close? Ellie you’re such a good writer, I can hear your voice in every phrase. I’m checking your page for more posts more often than Facebook at the moment. Stick a paywall up to pay for the wedding favours! Hope it’s helping to share your thoughts with the blogosphere. x


    • Ellie Jeffery
      Aug 25, 2011 @ 11:15:03

      Thanks for reading love – I’m actually working on the new one today – got a retweet from KYLIE!!!! And traffic has shot up. I’ll leave you to imagine what Prof Hope looks like – wouldn’t want to ruin the fantasy! Big loves CB xxx


  12. chantel ratcliffe
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 15:38:03

    hi was directed to this blog by your cousin Hannah and thanks for expressing in words exactly what it is like living with cancer. I’ve been battling leukaemia and currently recovering from a stem cell transplant and also have no intentions of giving up. your blog is inspirational and I can empathise with your thoughts and feelings especially the funeral song bit!! you go girl, never give up… congrats on engagement and be sure I’ll keep reading your wonderfully written blog. best wishes xxx


    • Ellie Jeffery
      Aug 25, 2011 @ 16:00:02

      Thanks Chantel, I’m sorry to hear you’re having to live with cancer too. I hope you make a quick recovery from the transplant and the treatment works. Thanks for reading and taking the time out to comment too, get well vibes being sent your way xxx


  13. Peas and Cougars
    Aug 31, 2011 @ 20:19:13

    I think you’re doing the right thing – you can’t live like you’re dying, you just have to live. Congratulations on your wedding plans!


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