How long have you got to read this? In fact how long have you got?
Recently I have been buying a lot of craft stuff, which adds quite a bit to all the dolls’ house stuff, needless to say. In a flash of revelation this morning I realised that I have been trying to buy time. All the time my mother was ill I promised myself I would eventually find time for all the things I like to do instead of the things I had to do. Then, when she was no more, I still had no time, winding up her affairs, dealing with solicitors and so on. Then I broke my arm and all the things I wanted to do I couldn’t then I got cancer (though I think I had probably had it quite a while) and it looked as if I was out of time completely.
A lot of fear is attached to this disease, fear of pain, suffering, disfigurement, loss of physical control and eventually, loss of life. When I had the disastrous meeting with the horrible threatening oncologist, who, in hindsight, was more worried about his insurance policy than my wellbeing, the fear of God that he put into me was the loss of all the above. He was careful to make it my fault if I died because I was the stupid person not accepting his disfiguring, disabling treatments. If I had been a more robust person, if I hadn’t just had all the awful things to deal with that I had had in the previous seven years I might have accepted treatment and worried about it less. But the radiotherapy couldn’t knock the cancer out of the ball park, it just lowered the possibility of it returning by ten percent.
With all this churning around in the back of my mind, no wonder I’m trying to buy time to do the things I like.
I think it is probably normal to worry after illness. I worry more, like the pain felt from a bereavement, last thing at night, when I’m tired and first thing in the morning. In fact first thing is a bad thing at present. It is a bereavement of sorts, imminent everyday fear of cancer returning. The fear is there despite the fact that I do seem to be getting better.
For the last four or five years I had worn that mineral powder make up a lot, especially under my eyes. For the last three years, without the make up I looked like a panda. Yesterday I did gardening without make up, today I walked round to the shop without make up. I had just thought it was me getting older. For many years my old Caesarean scar used to split or weep, I thought it was just my skin reacting to sitting in the car on endless journeys to care for my mother, now, even though it’s a new old scar, it is beginning to heal properly. Yesterday I gardened all day, though I did have a long sit down in the middle of it. I need to do this, after all the neglect, the garden is looking like a wilderness. I was terrified doing it that it would start something off that I didn’t want but, with a lot of rest afterwards I was OK and my flowerbed looks like a flower bed again.
So I think I am at last beginning to get better. I had an appointment about my arm at the hospital, where I was told I am making good progress. I had stopped going to the shoulder class after the cancer surgery and then had to be referred again but in the meantime I kept going with the exercises myself. Now I have been discharged but given three more exercises to help with my elbow problem, which is because of all the time I spend typing.
Three things in life are of major significance. They are: freedom, good health and absence of fear and worry. If you have the three legs of this tripod, you can build anything on a strong foundation.
I do finally have freedom, I am working my way towards the second, when I am absolutely certain I have that then I hope I will have the third. What I would like for the future, which I cannot buy, but must make, is a future writing comic novels. Comic because they’re the kind I like to read. What I wish for is the legs for my tripod, which will make the writing so much easier. I am a third (probably) of the way into the novel, if I didn’t waste so much time each morning worrying, I’d be further in.
So you know what I’m off to do now. I wish us both time for the things we love. I take my hat off again to Stephen Hawking, who wrote despite being told he was out of time at the start. He wrote by swivelling his eyeballs, which makes me think I am moaning about nothing.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.