I can’t really believe it’s been more than a year since my last blog post. A year since I’ve written a creative sentence. And suddenly here I am, hands on the keyboard, words appearing on the screen.
I won’t go into the ups and downs of the journey so far, except to say the downs have been breathtaking and the ups hard won. Some days I can hardly believe I’ve made it this far. And I feel better than I felt when I was first diagnosed in May 2015. I have been very fortunate. I have a gene mutation called ROS1, which is found in only 1 in 100 non-small cell lung cancer patients. This means I have been treated with some new immunotherapy drugs which have not been suitable for other patients.
I have been on the latest one for just a few weeks, so until the scans and MRI in a couple of months I won’t know how effective it has been. The word used by patients for the feelings that prevail at this time is ‘scanxiety’. As we are usually waiting for a scan date, or the subsequent results, it tends to be a more-or-less permanent state of mind and nerves.
But the bottom line is I have seen another summer, been well enough to spend long weekends in Hereford and Edinburgh and had more days out having adventures with my wonderful husband than I can count. I have bought spring bulbs and planned what to do in the garden next year, and we are tentatively planning a river cruise (with a late booking).
Now, as I look back, the weeks spent in bed recovering from chemo, the days being wheeled round in a wheelchair because I was too weak to stand, and the days when I slept and slept and slept, seem as insubstantial as frost when the sun comes up. The bright memories are of the lorikeets perching on my fingers at Edinburgh Zoo, and the huge alium blossoms that seemed to be everywhere in Hereford. There were picnics by our favourite lake with the younger grandchildren, with the sharp smell of freshly cut grass and the slap of oars on water. A long, lazy lunch in the sun with my second-eldest granddaughter, the week before she went to university, dinner under the stars with my eldest granddaughter, and days strolling through markets with my husband.
Mostly just ordinary things, but somehow they have all seemed touched by magic. I am realising that it is through the ordinary things that our lives unfold and are enriched, in the everyday that we find love and acceptance -in the touch of a hand or the laughter of friends.
And if the colours have seemed brighter this year, perhaps it is because I have just learned to see them with clearer eyes.