Cancer is a particularly cruel beast when it comes to patients mental health. Physically the toll is great, but mentally can be just as tough. Not just the fact that cancer is your own cells rebelling against you, but the treatments are a particularly harsh water torture. In my last stay in hospital I left my room precisely two times in three weeks. Solitary confinement prisoners get better treatment. Most of the time I was hooked up to intravenous drips so I was confined to bed. Chemotherapy also stripped me of my ability to concentrate on anything for any period of time, soreading books was out, as was watching films.
All this makes dealing with Cancer a profoundly depressing experience. The lows can get pretty low and I found myself wondering how I was going to cope with another day / week / month of harsh treatment and endless hospital visits. Now I've finished my treatment I'm faced with another big mental task, what I do next. I do not subscribe to the belief that surviving a critical illness bestows wisdom or insight on you. I mainly think it's a huge drain on many people's lives which leaves permanent scars. Never the less I have been given the time to reflect on what's important to me and how I can integrate that better in to my life. At the moment that consists of doing normal everyday things, like meals with friends or going to the cinema. When your life has been abnormal for so long, the most banal things can be infused with wonder and joy.
Pulling your life back together after a major trauma like cancer is often difficult and bewildering, like listening to an Aphex Twin record. Over the course of the next few weeks and months I'll be using this blog to chronicle my attempt to make sense of it all.
Currently I'm.. Learning how to use the gym equipment at my local centre. Everything aches right now...Supporting the Junior Doctors strike. Real-time pay cuts for your core staff is no way to run an organisation.