I love to read. It takes me away from this world and shows me things I’m not brave enough to do. I get to have gorgeous men swoon and fight over me, I get to be fit and daring and travel. I get to live.
So many of my friends keep saying, why don’t I go out and do all of those things I find in pages of novels. Maybe I would if I were rich, didn’t have to work, or my body kept as active as my mind.
I’ve had cancer. Twice.
And afterward, you are not quite as spritely as you once were. Especially after so many operations.
Funnily enough, some of the books I’ve read romanticise cancer. The main character finds love and fulfilment in the short time they have left. And when they’re gone, it’s like the world is left with a beautiful ache. How courageous and strong they were. Many books end just before that point…
Cancer is not like that. Not at all.
It’s painful, draining and ugly.
You go through a roller coaster ride of emotions and physical sensations. There is nothing romantic about it. I did not get to meet my dreamboat guy and I did not die.
I survived standing on my own two feet.
And while I am happy to be alive, and certainly not wasting the second and third chances I’ve been given, there is no traipsing off into the sunset to realise my dreams. I still have to struggle on with the day to day drudgery. But there is appreciation. For the little things, for friends and family, the beauty around me. My ‘To Do’ lists are much different – they are mostly populated with meaningful things. Meaningful to me. When you stare death in the face and tell him to back off, you become much more serious about things.
A year after I got the free and clear, I lost my Mum. It feels like I am going through the whole process again.
Surviving. On my own two feet.
Appreciating the little things.
Now I am left with a beautiful ache.
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