I’d like to start this entry with an apology. I’ve been a bit slack regarding the blog this week. I did have a post ready to go up on Thursday but events since then have caused me to put that one on the back burner and replace it with this one. You’ll understand why as you read on.
A couple of Wednesdays ago I was due for another CT scan, to get a close-up look at what the devious bastard was getting up to after five cycles of Capecitabine. Was the chemo still working or did I need to swap to a different kind of cancer-busting medicine?
I’d arranged to meet my friend Chrissa at the tube nearest to the hospital. It was good to have a friend there to distract me, especially when it came to the five or so attempts to get a cannula in my chemo-ravaged veins. As the dye was injected into me I began using the breathing techniques I’d recently learned in meditation classes. In my multi-pronged assault on the cancer I’d also taken up yoga and begun to use visualisation techniques.
At night before I fall asleep I’ll visualise with each breath I take that white blood cells are surrounding the cancer, and with each exhalation that the tumours are then squashed, the white blood cells squeezing life out of them. It might sound like hippie nonsense but there are plenty of survivors who swear by the positive effects of each of these techniques. Plus, well I’ve got cancer haven’t I? I can try what the hell I like in order to get better!
The scan was over in five or so minutes. The nurse removed the cannula and I walked out to meet Chrissa. As we turned our backs on the ward and started to leave the waiting room a woman called out, “Excuse me, excuse me.” As I turned around the stranger reached out and touched my arm. “I have to tell you that I know a woman who was given three months to live. Nine years later she’s still going for check-ups. A man who was also given just months to live is still here twenty four years later.” There were no introductions, no niceties; this information was simply blurted out.
I was confused; who was this woman? As tears filled my eyes, she continued. “You must keep fighting. Don’t give up.” I was grateful for this stranger’s encouraging words but at the same time I was thinking that Chrissa must have been blabbing a whole lot in those five minutes that it took for me to get the CT scan. Caught off guard and eager for some breathing space, I thanked her and turned on my heel. As soon as we were out of earshot I asked Chrissa in an accusing tone, “What did you say to her?”
“Nothing. I was sat with my eyes closed and she asked me if I was okay and I replied that I was fine. That’s all we said to each other”
“But then how did she…” I trailed off as we looked at each other and started giggling nervously.
I would have been happy to retain the mystery surrounding the experience; take it as an intriguing yet comforting sign, but as Chrissa was keen to quiz the stranger nosiness got the better of me and I let her go.
The woman explained that she’d heard Chrissa and I chatting in the waiting room before I went in for my scan. Neither of us had said anything about my prognosis but we had talked about if we thought there was a heaven –you know the usual light-hearted girly chit chat! The woman had said she had a gift and that Chrissa must tell me to keep on fighting and that she saw me with my husband and children.
I thought about leaving this particular bit of information out of the blog, as since my secondary diagnosis I’d given up on the hope of ever having kids. It’s a heartbreaking reality, but one that you can put into perspective when faced with death. The priority has become salvaging a future with Tom; the other stuff can be dealt with along the way.
It doesn’t matter whether I believe this ‘prediction’ or not, whether this woman really has a ‘gift’ or is a bit crazy. Her message was one of positivity and who am I, or anyone, to scoff at that.