Friday, October 22, 2010

It's all an illusion

Every so often I have a good moan about the things that annoy me.

First up: people who tell me I 'look well'. The problem with this is that I hear it, and underneath it I hear "so you can't possibly have been as ill as you say". I know that probably no-one means it like that. I know that actually, it doesn't matter what most people think because the people who matter know how ill I was. But seriously, it bugs the hell out of me. If I look well, it's probably down to the layers of makeup I'm wearing. Just say it's nice to see me, ok?

Secondly: people who assume that because I've finished treatment I'm all better now. Well. Obviously I am better than I was. I am not being sick, I am not having painful treatment, I am not recovering from major surgery. However. I am still tired most of the time. I am still weak and can't lift/carry heavy things. I have little energy and zero stamina. I still have to think about what I eat and how it will affect me. I am still dealing with things psychologically and it's more complicated than you will ever understand. So I am better than I was, but that's not the same as being completely well again.

Unfortunately, I seem to have become one of the second group myself. In my excitement about feeling better, I forgot that better is different from well. The panic that I used to feel before chemo: (I have to get everything done before I feel too ill to move) has gone into total overdrive:(I have cheated death and now I have to make the most of absolutely every minute). I feel like I should be going to every event, reading every book, visiting every person, experiencing everything as powerfully as possible. I am making endless lists for today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. When I found myself trying to draft a life plan for the next 20 years, I realised maybe it was time to STOP.

In four days, it's my 27th birthday. One week from that will be the first anniversary of my diagnosis. I think this is probably a good time to slow myself down and do a little bit of reflecting before I carry on. I don't need to panic. I don't need to rush into anything. After all, I've been given the best present of all: more time.

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