My cat, Buzz, had settled on the end of my bed when I retuned from the hospital after chemo#4. I was sick. He left. Seemingly disgusted with my behaviour he retuned about half an hour later only ceremoniously to produce a dead mouse. "I have brought you a gift. This will heal you".
I had an emotional wobble last cycle. Sat on the hectic ward, my nurse had problems putting a canula into my arm. This had shaken her and left me feeling vulnerable. The pillow I'd been given to rest my arm on was whisked away by another nurse and somehow, the warm comfort it had been lending me disappeared with it. I cried and pulled my hat down over my face. Minutes later I spotted a lady sobbing uncontrollably on the otherside of the room. She was completely silent but at a low ebb. I managed to catch her eye from underneath my hat and through my tears. I winked and we both laughed.
"Ain't no hell deep enough to keep heaven out"
- Alden Bell
I've tried to keep Heaven close. My comrades in Oncology have shown me just how lucky I am to have the emotional, spiritual and physical support that I do. On day two of this last cycle I pootled down to the Good Friday track meet at Herne Hill Velodrome to see teamies Jo, Lyds and Toby. "Look Mum No Hands!" were there to lend some atmosphere and it lifted me to see all of my friends. On day three I cycled the 55km to watch Sam race at Hillingdon. If my body works then I want to be there, in the fresh air, in the sunshine or even in the rain and cheering for you.
Colleagues and family who have been praying for me; friends who "like" my facebook status; cousin Jenny for her Graze boxes; Pan Pan for coming to watch a film on day three; my cats for watching over me; Dr Jen for giving me a training plan which leaves me feeling in control; Cecilia for giving me her time, love and expertise; Rohan and Rachael for the Richmond Rides; Bex for knocking down my door with positivity and generosity; my teamies: Jo, Anna, Elise, Alice, Helen, Lydia, Pan, Louise and Nik for wearing pink ribbons and being so strong; Sam's family: Lynne for looking after me like a daughter, Betty for her blanket and cushion, Trudi and Lewin, Alice and Beth and the Tuckers for making me feel like one of them; my own mother for being so brave and my dad and sister for being there; my students and their laughter; Jenny G for her stories and pictures from Turkey which make me laugh; those not mentioned here. And Sam. Without you all there would be very little Heaven.
This fourth chemotherapy cycle has not been easy. I've had days of tiredness and my body is starting to show signs of wear. I cannot ride my bicycle in the way I used to. I cannot push myself as I'd like. I've had to think some very hard thoughts and try and be at peace with an uncertain future. Perhaps this is why good news about a positive response to the drugs is so hard to believe. Cecilia's account of the oncology meeting explains it all. The alien is in retreat.