Friday, November 13, 2015

Living with "it"

"So how is it going?" That is how most conversations have begun for the last four weeks. "It" referring to cancer. It is amazing how an illness can consume your every waking thought and yet its a disease that more and more people live with not die from. V is coping well with "it" and since I last wrote my blog - yes a whole month ago - has completed a course of radiation, spent 10 days away in PMB working at the lodge and flown back to await the next step of the treatment, which started today. He now is a member of not only the C for cancer club but C for chemo club. Its a really terrifying thought to undergo chemo - watching extreme drugs being fed into your vein to kill the good along with the bad, but when your survival depends on it -  you have to take a deeeeeeep breath and close your mind to negativity, grit your teeth and get on with it. Walking into oncology you know you are not alone - the room today was pretty full of people battling "it", all hooked up to a variety of drips, some bald, some not, all with their own story to tell, all fighting their own battle and nearly all with a smile on their face and the quiet light of determination shining from their eyes. This is what courage looks like, I thought. There is a bell on the wall that patients who have had their last session of chemo are invited to ring - it rang three times today and the smiles grew broader at the knowledge that someones journey was over.

I don't intend for "it" to take over our lives and more than once I have told V that you are living with cancer not dying from it. Life has to have some normality, some old routine - it cant all be medication and conversations about disease, diet and drugs. One of our biggest challenges is to silence people who want to give advice about miracle cures and wonder foods and what to eat and what not to eat. Generally the people offering all of this wisdom have not had "it"! So we have learned to thank them for their concern and change the subject swiftly and close our ears to all the conflicting information. V knows what to eat - having eaten healthily all of his life! We will listen to doctors, medical professionals and survivors who speak from experience.

As usual, we will also make the most of every moment we can to experience joy and gratitude! We took off on the spur of the moment on Wednesday morning and spent the night in a tented camp in the Karoo - eating chicken stew and rice with our fingers, off the table covered with a plastic packet, listening for animal noises after dark ......making a few ourselves to entertain other campers (V is particularly talented at hippo sounds) and waking to birdsong and canvas silhouettes. We drove through Meiringspoort to Prince Albert - rescuing a lizard from certain death while trying to cross the road. We had tea and scones at Prince Albert under a rain of purple confetti from the jacarandas and marvelled at the tiny library building - the size of a large fridge - and the tourism office - no bigger than a cupboard! We watched the passing parade of tourists and locals - easy to tell the difference and then took off over the Swartberg Pass feeling very small in that vast landscape and knowing that the Creator, who made this majestic scene before us would surely cure "it". When the car overheated at the top of the mountain - an angel of the road disguised in khaki shorts, sturdy boots and a leather bush hat rescued us giving us his water supply and a contact number should we need him to come back and assist. As we descended back to the Karroo dessert so the temperature dropped with each kilometer and we made it home (with a bit of a detour) safely. I foresee more of the Carpe Diem excursions. Seize the Day - its really all any of us have!

No comments:

Post a Comment