So I've been thinking a bit this week of this talk by Dr Liz O'Riordan, entitled " Jar of Joy"
I don't know what you think about TED talks, I can be quite ambivalent about a lot of them. They are very easily mockable. Liz's though is heartfelt and obviously well thought through. We cancer folk are often given labels which don't reflect the reality of our situation. Words like "brave" "fight" and "inspiring" often are default settings when talking about someone with this disease. So it's heartening to know that others can be as scared and as confused as you are, even if they experts in that field.
The hook of the film is the "jar of joy" a little corny I guess but what it's getting at is a truth. I'm heading to Barts this afternoon for another major operation on my right lung to get rid of three cancerous spots. It's pretty much dominated my thoughts in all the waking hours of the day. When something so big, so significant is coming fast at you down the slipway it's hard to find any j "joy" at all. Reminding yourself that there are still good things that happen every day even in the middle of a massive dumpster fire of a life is quite important.
So putting my cynicism aside I've been trying this last week or so to carve out at least one fun thing a day just for me. It didn't need to be a big thing, but it did have to make me smile. I didn't go full on and get a jar but I've kept to my word and got my arse off the sofa and done lots of fun things. From taking my mum out for cake and coffee at the canal side cafe, watching a couple of films at the cinema, making time to see friends to even stopping on Blackfriars Bridge to take in the view as I cycled to work. Moments that I can relieve and relish when I'm in a morphine haze the next few days.
I guess it's that old adage of counting your blessings. It can be really hard to do especially after over two years of dealing with the most awful crap. Good things still happen though, fun is still about, it might just be crowded out at times by hospitals, drugs and the rest of the Heathrow arrivals hall of baggage that goes with chronic illness.
Hopefully this surgery will be a success and after a time of recuperation on the sofa with Netflix, they'll be many more moments of joy to come.
Currently I'm... listening to Oliver Burkeman on the power of negative thinking (R4).... Reading Joseph Connelly Men and Women.... watching Planet Earth 2 - dancing bears!