I’m Good I Say
May 17, 2017
It’s a natural social thing to ask ‘How are you?’ when we meet with friends. ‘I’m fine’ I say out of habit, then I get given the quizzical look. So I’ve stopped saying ‘I’m fine’ and say ‘I’m good’ instead. I’m not fine really. But I am feeling good, happy, calm, hopeful and as positive as I can be. Somebody asked if having cancer has made me reflective? That caught me out, and hi-vis jackets immediately sprung to mind, not very gracious of me. No, it hasn’t made me reflective. It’s made me appreciative of the good, and dismissive of the bad. Time is short, why dwell?
I get told a lot of stories about other cancer patients, it seems to come with the territory. I’m an insider now. I don’t mind discussing it at all. But I latch on to the stories with happy endings, and there are plenty of them to keep my hopes up. But if the story has a sad ending, my blood momentarily runs cold. I have to gather myself up again, re-focussing like a lens searching for a hard edge to latch on to. I need to get back that image of myself here in five or ten years time – it can be elusive.
Even though I’ve arrived at some sort of equilibrium through the three-weekly routine of chemo and recovery, I still cry ridiculously easily, sitting as I am on the tightrope between a long life and a severely shortened one. Manda weeps if Maddy strokes her head, and Manda is the strong one for us all. I can cry when I see kids playing in the park, so full of energy and promise. I cry if friends say they love me. I’ve stopped telling myself to get a grip, it doesn’t work. The line between braveness and despair is wafer thin, and I accept that.
Weekends away are our fun time off – a physical detachment and welcome distraction from our daily home concerns. I love the journey almost as much as being there, wherever it is we’re heading. The images below are from a visit to Eleanor and Alex in Bristol. We are tourists, and tourists do bus trips into town, and boat trips along the harbour side, and drink coffee in trendy bars. Bristol is a city on the move with rapid gentrification everywhere. It’s a fabulous place, but I’m still drawn to the grungy side. 🙂