Cancer, like any other illness is a bore - Alan Bennett
Things that have happened to me that have generated more sympathy than depression..living in Hull in January - Matt Haig - Reasons to stay alive
Have you noticed everything's gone really Cancery right now? Not just just the celebrity deaths (does anyone *not* die of Cancer these days? Where art thou heart disease?) But the campaigns for funding seem to be ever present, the TV ads more frequent, charity events every weekend? I know part of this is cognitive bias on my part. The more you are invested something, the more you will seek it out even unconsciously. But really it's getting so prevalent now it's hard to turn off from.
I know the irony of writing this on World Cancer Day. It's a great campaign which I obviously support. Awareness is important, but action is vital. Do you feel a lump on your breast? Go see your Doctor. Have a cough you can't shift? Go see your Doctor. Feeling run down and lethargic? Go see your bloody Doctor. Half of all people born after 1970 will get cancer at some point in their life. It's not a strange boogey man which only affects others. It will affect you or someone you love. Them's the facts, we just have to deal with it. I at the moment whish I could get away from it all. Not read about a famous person "bravely battling" the disease, not have Philips corps promote CT scans on my Twitter feed or Cancer Research UK do heart wrenching videos on my Instagram when I just want to look at cats and cycling photos.
Talking of campaigns, Time to Talk has been trending all day on my social feeds. It's again a great idea to get more people to talk about mental health issues. I haven't talked too much about my own mental state as it's weirdly easier to talk about chemo drugs, losing hair and vomiting than it is about your brain. What goes on when all your neurons fire is deeply complex and slightly baffling. Are your thoughts real, or just thoughts? The process that made them is real enough. As with most people I have good and bad days but amplified because I have a chronic illness. My stressful day will be compounded by dealing with all the cancer stuff. So when last autumn I was told my treatment hadn't been successful, I went and sought help in coping with it. I'm lucky in having a great GP, brilliant McMillan nurse and fantastic psychology team at Barts. I go to therapy and Mindfulness sessions every week to pick through the maze of emotions and thoughts that week has thrown up. Everyone should have access to the same care as I'm getting, but they don't and it's a scandal.
So all this is a roundabout way of saying I've managed to get through the first week of this phase of treatment OK. The chemotherapy hasn't left me too exhausted. I've gone to work and kept all my hospital appointments. I'll keep on doing that until I can't, because I don't know any other way right now.
Currently I'm... Listening to the new Bloc Party album, Hymns...watching David Englemans The Brain on BBC4... Reading up on Radiology.. I get to have a tattoo!