I haven’t written a post in a long time because, although my life has changed, I didn’t think I had anything original to write about. I didn’t want to state the same things over and over, but my new perspective offers me another lens through which I can view previous posts, and also life in general. I have just decided to write two posts. First, a bit about my new perspective.
The new lens is cancer and chemotherapy. Stating the obvious – they have changed my life. However, the diagnosis – in June 2017 – was itself seen through my brain injury lens. When I was told a had colon cancer and I would have to have surgery to remove the tumour, I saw it as another challenge and honestly, although my father had died from colon cancer less than two years before, I didn’t look at it with trepidation, even after being told that it’s stage four. I still don’t. I feel good now. I’ve got great support from my family and friends. I’ve got nothing to worry about.
I was disappointed when, just after being discharged from hospital from my cancer surgery, I was sent right back in, for two weeks, after surgery for a perforated bowel. I was unbelievably lucky with the surgery and the surgeons, and the major expected complications were avoided. I was disappointed that I even needed surgery, but for some reason, not upset. The main reason I was disappointed was because this surgery pushed back chemotherapy, as I needed to heal from this new surgery. I was anticipating starting chemo in late August, but my surgical wound needed to heal, meaning I didn’t begin until mid-October.
I approached chemotherapy with a naively eager attitude; I was keen to see how much I could take and to really knock this cancer down. My first few sessions of chemo went well. I was out walking the next day, swimming later that week. I noticed it took me longer to recover each time (as my oncologist told me it would), but it wasn’t too bad at first. By mid-April however, the chemo had really beaten me up and I had to take about two months off to recover. I started again in June and I am now on a planned break after which there’ll probably be another approach. Nevertheless, I expect chemotherapy – which sucks.
That’s where I am now, always in the position to say, “I’ll find out more soon.”
That’s more or less where my new perspective comes in. I wrote about seeing my diagnosis ‘through my brain injury lens’. That’s an oversimplification. I, like everyone else, don’t have distinct perspectives. Every issue or event does not fall neatly into one particular box. Nor am I only informed through a single lens. Life is made up of our experiences – good and bad – which inform, and in turn are informed by our perspectives.
I’ve heard, I may have said, and I’ve definitely written about, that “inspirational” saying, “Don’t let brain injury/cancer/whatever define you!” That may be what some people want to hear, it may just sound good the person saying it, I don’t know, but I think it is important to put your effort into living, experiencing, and enjoying life, and not trying to forget or ignore one of, if not the most important and influential things that’s happened to you. You may not objectively like what happened, but that experience is yours alone and helps make you you.
This is where I’ll start my next post…