Winter can be a difficult time, even for those in reasonable health, but for me, it is becoming my personal nemesis, and I look forward to it less each year! Here in London, the weather has been kind this year, and even though we are now into December, the temperatures are only just getting quite cold. It is no coincidence, that my health has been in reasonable shape, during the lovely summer we have enjoyed.However this week has woken me up with a large dose of reality!
You would have thought that after 6 years of similar cycles, I might have learnt, but no! Far be it from me to disappoint. I am like the baby who continually puts his fingers in the electric socket, to find that it hurts, every time. As soon as I feel well for a few weeks, I think that my problems have all gone, never to return. Despite all the warnings, I continue like nothing has happened, until my body says no more. Which it has done this week.
A combination of cold weather and bugs everywhere, took me down quickly.Which has left me with little energy or appetite, and even unable to partake in my usual Twitter conversations. But it did give me a lot of thinking time. My initial emotion, was frustration. That my life has yet again, been interrupted by my health issues. Stopping me doing the things I love, and progressing my work in cancer support, hopefully only temporarily, though.However, I then thought, that actually, I should not be complaining at all! I have life, where it wasn’t expected. I should be grateful, I am and always will be, of course, but sometimes forget! But guilt is the most difficult emotion for me to live with.
Independence, is probably one of the most important things in our lives. But like a lot of people diagnosed with cancer, mine went,along with a lot of other things. I have become dependent on medication, the skill of my clinical team, but more importantly on my family and friends. Sure, everyone says it’s a pleasure, of course, but looking after someone as obstinate as me, could not be described as that, I am sure!
Not only is it my life that is affected. Unfortunately, I have dragged other people into my world too. You see, this is the almost hidden affect of cancer on us. Not only does it affect the person who is diagnosed, it changes the lives of others too. In my own instance, My wife and I had decided to some travelling when we retired.Getting to hospital frequently, is now almost the limit of my travelling!
All our hopes and dreams, have been put on hold. Our financial plans for our boys, have also had to be adjusted, to fit with my situation. I struggle to do any physical work around the house, and my boys have to do most ‘man tasks.’ Even driving long distances is difficult, as I find I lose concentration quickly. This week I have been unable to enjoy my wife’s birthday celebrations, as I have been unwell. We are due to go away for the w/end with friends and am hoping I will be up to it by then.
It’s very difficult to plan things as a couple, now. My wife is at the stage in her life, where she should be out travelling in the sun, and enjoying herself. Not picking up the pieces after me, when I’m continually unwell.Making sure I’m taking my medication at the right time, and ensuring I get to the hospital when I should. Whether we like it or not, I need carers. That doesn’t thrill me with joy, I can tell you!
I wanted to put this out there today, as from my talks with a lot of other patients, there are many of us that feel this way. Some people discuss it with their partners and others don’t.I guess we all live with a feeling of guilt about something, some even feel guilty for being alive, while others are not! But at times, it is a heavy load to carry, along with everything else. Everyone says I shouldn’t feel that way, but you know how hard it can be to ask for something once. Just imagine that every day!
For those of you affected by cancer, you may recognise some of the things I have written about today. I am also aware that I now have a very varied readership, and so if you have little knowledge of the impact of cancer in someone’s life this may be surprising for you, but unfortunately it is real.
What emotions do you go through daily? Are you affected by guilt like I am? Is there a way that you have found to deal with some of these issues. I do look forward to hearing from you. Please feel free to leave a comment below, or catch me on Twitter @christheeagle1