A very drunk young Irish guy politely shook my hand and introduced himself to me last night, as I was walking along, I say introduced but he gave no name! He rabbited on about in the most extreme jingoist terms about his full support for Brexit – assuming that we both felt the same. Then got round to asking if I agreed with him. I didn’t and before I even got going, wondered (out loud) how he could wax so lyrical (not) about “bloody immigrants” whilst, at the same time telling me that both of his parents were Irish nationals but he had emigrated and was British. He didn’t want to hear that (because “Ireland is different”) nor did he want to hear anything other than Britain could and should face the world alone, as, he spouted “they did in the war”. When I challenged that, he started shouting and walked off…but then scurried back and shook my hand again…
I am seriously angst-ing about Brexit…wonder if the forthcoming referendum will echo the miners’ strike when families and communities were forever divided by opposing viewpoints.
But naturally this is not the only thing on my list of concerns. As I move further away (in time not memory) from the betrayals that led to the breakup of my marriage. I ponder that I am not dead yet, and look around me wondering how a breast-free future with a very poor shelf life, pans out in terms of any potential partnership. Who in the world would be brave enough to love me and who would I ever trust enough to love? Two years of therapy and counting…
…and, for a final nail in the coffin (as it were) weather forecast in Sound of Music-land is thunderstormy and wet…very wet, heavy showers in fact. I am told (in a roundabout kinda way) by “frockfrolics” that this could be in keeping with the mission
As this year starts to wind in its neck, I am reflecting on the number of obstacles I have negotiated this year (which I already knew were on the horizon when I predicted 2015 as my annus horribliest). They have come and gone…and I haven’t.
- Deaths – 2 (my friend/my cousin)
- Marriage – decree absolute achieved after finally starting to realise that the whole 23 years had been a chimera
- Sale of “family” home
- Trumped up, desperate allegations delivered by the police from my former friend – TWICE!
- continuing treatment of cancer
But as it turns out there are silver linings
- I am still alive
- I have a lovely new home which I have furnished and adorned without having to refer/defer to anybody
- I find I do have a sense of adventure. I started the year in Israel in an attempt to “connect” to my roots in some way…it may demonstrate how shallow I am that I did “connect” in the music-riven Bible Belt of the Deep South of US in the Fall of the year. Both trips really drilled down into my inner core and are helping me in all sorts of ways.
- (…and going back to being shallow) I like being a UK size 10 (and even bought an item of Size Zero clothing this year)…AND…I have a pair of leather trousers.
- I have people (who I love and who love me) surrounding me as much or as little as I want
- continuing treatment of cancer
- I am happy
..and to return to the night before Christmas. I have not, or not as yet…broken the trifle dish…last year I had only pedestal to serve…this happened twice. Fingers crossed for this year.
I seemed to be bearing my load reasonably well in recent weeks…but yesterday I came tumbling down..and down…
I spent the night fitfully, as I couldn’t seem to shift acute pain, which ebbed and flowed through the small hours with no painkiller killing the pain…and when I finally got up it was as if the physical pain had awoken a whole headspace of mental pain. How on earth had I been kidding myself for 18 months that my one breasted physique was Amazonian rather than “deformed”? In a split second I was hurling my rose tinted spectacles I had been clinging onto for dear life, across the room. I suddenly saw the make believe world I had constructed to protect myself, crumble. A world where all my clothes (and me) had looked great. Suddenly I was staring at myself in the mirror and seeing every item of clothing I put on as worse than the last, all emphasising loss of every possible kind. I stood there, for what seemed like forever, tearfully acknowledging that actually I feel half the woman I was as well as half-hearted…half-baked…and that maybe that I haven’t yet faced the half of it…
Suspect this is shake-down time…now I have been through chemo, hair loss, mastectomy, betrayal three times over, retirement, divorce as well as selling and buying property and setting up my new home..it is now the moment to face it all..and it’s not pretty…
…but today have been to the gym and there is the smell of roasting lamb and garlic through the house as I am cooking for friends…and I would certainly be feeling even less than half a being without them…
You might have thought that I would be knee deep in boxes and wondering where to put things… However, instead I am exploring previously unknown foodie websites and discovering ingredients and kitchen equipment that looks pretty essential for my new home…
At the top of (yet another) wishlist are: a risotto paddle (how have I ever dared to make risotto without one of these?); a universal food baller and, the piece de resistance – a vegetable sculpture knife set (and possibly a course to go with it!). Then on the spice front – who could resist Virgin Islands Spiced Salt, Australian Murray River Salt, hot mole paste, liquorice powder….and I could go on…
Herceptin given in my own home too…and multiple hospital letters delivered to my new address as well..so it looks like I am in business
Meantime back at the coal face I am amazed that I have managed to construct some flat pack furniture…it was slow but the miracle is that I took my time and was patient, not one of the qualities I am known for. Even better than the sense of achievement I felt…the furniture is still standing! As if that wasn’t enough I have also fitted a wireless doorbell, all on my own. Laugh if you like but neither of these tasks are anything I would have had any confidence in doing myself before last week.
..and, oh yes..I have won a prize from the Delia Smith website
…and ain’t that the truth…
After a very, very, very anxious, stressy and sleepless weekend when the judge had ruled (on Friday afternoon) that my divorce settlement was unfair to my husband, sorry, ex-husband. Today when my (very expensive) lawyer explained the situation, (in court) he changed his mind and I am now AT LAST (whoo-hoo..)
(do listen to the Dolly Parton link!)
…and I can move house…in less than 48 hours…I am about to become my own person, once again…hallelujah! Sod cancer!
I seem to be in that stomach churning mix of organisation, total pandemonium and sleepless panic…It’s – Moving Day Minus 4.
I think of things to do and by the time I get up to do them, I have forgotten what task I had set myself..My brain is fried…I keep welling up at the prospect of leaving my lovely home and I want my (dead) friend here to hold my hand and walk me through the legal minefield that decided to hurl itself at me yesterday. Oh yes…that well known Friday afternoon time bomb.
…and so, in this setting I trip over one of the black bags around the place. It speaks…really? I try to open the bag but it is very firmly knotted and I hear the “voice” (?) again..By now I am tearing the bag apart to discover….Tracy Island! I don’t remember Tracy Island speaking and, bizarrely, once I had discovered the contents and laughed, didn’t investigate further…maybe another task for today…Thunderbirds may be go, even if I’m not! Tracy Island is obviously moving with us….
How perfect an analogy is that? Despite the fact that I have a funeral to attend; a house to pack up; a decree absolute to wait for; another hospital appointment to attend alongside a fridge of diminishing content AND extremely grumpy cats…it does feel like the fog is lifting. I find that I do, finally, have the impetus to start looking at the future with delight rather than staring at the abyss of the past with disbelief, anger and despair.
I can do this…I am doing this…I continue to give attention to my own mental and physical health, I have bought a house on my own, sold a house on my own, prepared a “moving book” (full of lists which prompt me to do the stuff that I keep forgetting) as well as getting on with the rest of life. For the first time (in my now short term memory) I am teetering on the edge of believing that there may be a “rest of life”. I am now ready to grab it , wallow in it … and do some celebrating, laughing and living. (OK…still on full-whack of anti-depressants..but moving in a better direction!)
The week has grown more and more stressful – my varying problems combining to make me forget (until I was called to be reminded) about my Herceptin treatment on Monday. Maybe forgetting is good…normalising the abnormal…?
I am (despite daily glitches, delays, arguments, cage rattling and professional incompetence) on the cusp of divorce and house move whilst continuing to deal with life threatening illness, bereavement all exacerbated by insomnia…and the answer is…? Well..my version of events involves trying to forget how I feature on the list of top life stressors of which I only seem to be missing “death of spouse” and “imprisonment” hmmmm.. are they related? Will safely “park” the former in the non- applicable spot and ignore the other (for the time being!) Instead I indulge in the age old female remedies of retail therapy (window shopping anyway!), supping chilled wine in the sunshine whilst putting the world to rights with friends and of course, my own particular default setting – burrowing myself away into a good book. All done, of course, whilst taking the maximum anti-depressant dose.
Something I read the other week rang a bell whilst working my way through this mire…I can’t remember the exact words..but something along the lines of
“I’m not actually dead, I’m dormant”
Packing up a house and dissolving a marriage was never going to be easy. Every day I discard an endless amount of both clutter and treasures. I thought I had long since hurled sentimentality into the backwater along with my wedding ring but it seems not…The procrastinated sorting of 22 photo albums was today’s task. I laughed, cringed and cried…and down came my house of cards all over again.
My airbrushed life is now packed away in a (very tasteful) lime green box with the lid firmly on. One more thing to cross off the list if only I could find the list!
Next week back to oncology…wish that could be crossed off the list
Another week looms. My face is looking more “normal” (now the stitches are out) although my brain seems to be staggering a few steps behind. Despite my various incapacities I now have about 4 weeks to get organised before I move house. This is a colossal downsizing operation (and an emotional minefield) which means that I need to be fully medicated in order to get a wiggle-on with pruning my possessions. I have managed about 3 hours worth today which has barely got me to base camp…especially as I get side-tracked at every available opportunity, but I have started! I have my eye steadfastly set on the finishing post (or “a” finishing post) when I have moved, am in my own new environment (unpacked and box-free) and am divorced so I can (I hope) start re-building rather than ripping the past apart.
Meantime I have to get through this. I feel drop-dead tired and as if someone is sitting on my chest forcing shallow breathing and panic so I have to keep stopping what I am doing to take deeper breaths and calm down. I have had lots of offers of help which has been amazing BUT unfortunately I need to get through this sorting part before I can think of delegating anything. My organisational/multi-tasking skills seem to have gone into free-fall but I am relying on the fact that everything will get done, maybe not as efficiently as I have managed in the past but it will all happen. I also acknowledge that divorce, death of friend, life-threatening illness and house move are amongst the top stress factors and, true to form, I am doing all 4 concurrently, so I try to be kind to myself. Time to start making some lists and then attempt to remember where I put them…
More scans this week…
More blood tests this week…
….but it’s Wimbledon this week too….