With all the kind and supportive messages, cards and generous gifts that I have received over the past few weeks, I must admit that it sometimes feels as if it is my birthday. But not just any birthday – one with gravitas. That’s the word that I have been searching for. Gravitas means ‘seriousness or sobriety, as of conduct or speech.’

That’s the thing about cancer, that it is awfully serious and sober and dour. It is not much fun. It elicits a response of pity and anxiety and sympathy. And I can totally understand that, especially from people who have been through it themselves or who have a loved one who has. Because it’s difficult and emotional and yuk.

But gravitas is not really what I need right now. I need friends and family who will still treat me the same way that they always have (unless they are usually horrible to me – haha.) I need people who will be friendly; spend time with me and my family; be kind; but also be light-hearted and sometimes funny (even if it is dad-humour) and please talk about yourself too, whether things are good or bad. I get bored of myself after a while and like to hear about others.

My chemo starts next Wednesday and I am looking forward to it a bit – just getting started and cracking on and zapping those naughty cells. But I am worried about it too – especially knowing that my low white blood count will mean that I have to be OCD about handwashing and food hygiene for the next few months. I shouldn’t hang out with ill people- even if they have a cold – and I will go to church when I can, but I don’t want all sorts of people hugging me because their germs may make me very ill. Which is a shame, because secretly I love hugs.

Yet it’s no good feeling sorry for myself. I will try to live a normal life as possible, getting out the house every day if I can. It’s been proven that looking at trees is great for reducing anxiety and I know from experience that it sooths mental illness. It’s almost as if someone made them, for lots of sensible reasons, but also just for us humans to enjoy. I do not plan to be a hermit- that would absolutely drive me mad.

My sister Laura has suggested that I do more drawing, and that is a great idea. I have always loved it, but tend to forget. And writing, although brilliant, can be quite draining. So I will try to draw some more, and maybe post some of them up here. I’m no Monet, mind, so don’t get too excited. I guess that I can see this time as a chance to do some of the things that I usually put off, due to being too busy. And that’s got to be a good side-effect.


Author: Alex

I work in a college library, and love reading and writing. I write short stories, poetry, blogs and children's stories. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2015.

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