Friday, 18 September 2009

Early Autumn

Autumn is really in the air now. The children are now all settled into school for the new academic year and holiday-makers have returned to work. Yesterday in the village there was a smell of burning leaves and a hint of coolness despite the sun. In just one week the rowan trees have been losing their leaves and it is good to welcome the new season and all it brings.

I have been talking to my BUPA nurse about how I am feeling and he says that in his experience it is not the nausea or the other side effects of chemo which are the most devastating, but the fatigue. It is a tiredness like no other, which neither sleep nor caffeine seems to relieve. I was a little tentative about saying what its effects have been on me but he said it can be very demoralising and I had to admit that it made me feel so useless. When I think of my mother working until the age of 75 then doing a voluntary shift in a charity shop until she was in her eighties I feel somewhat purposeless at times. The tiredness can really sap your will and determination to recover but I suppose after nearly ten months of chemo it is not surprising.

In my case it has not been only my illness which has sapped my strength but my husband’s ongoing case against the Biffa company whose lorry ploughed into the line of stationery traffic which included Ray. It has been a very long haul and it will take some time before he has any semblance of justice, during which the lawyers, accountants, doctors and insurers will all be well paid. He has had to cope with all of this as well as my illness and he is my real rock.

In addition, for me there has been the turmoil of learning about my conception and that the father I had known was not really my father at all. I had hoped that the grief that it caused me would ease but there are too many questions which I realise now will never be answered. Despite myself, I find I am going over the past and re-evaluating everything. The security of my childhood was something which stood me in such good stead but now I feel it was based on a lie however well intentioned. I know there will be many people who will say you should be grateful to have had the love and kindness shown to you, and they are right and there are lots of people who do not know their family background. The difference is that mine has been deliberately withheld with the blessing of the law and I hope that somehow the law can be changed so that other people will not have to suffer like I have and others like me.

The good thing is that I do not have to bear difficulties alone. In the wider world there is a lot of support from fellow lymphoma sufferers and although I know most people don't understand the problems I have with discovering my donor assisted conception, there are a group of people like me who do and it has shown me that my reactions are not weird or ungrateful. And then, of course, there is the family and although we're not perfect at least there are no skeletons in the cupboard.

My son is coming home tomorrow for a brief visit. It will give me such real joy. He will lift my spirits and we will have a laugh. So much for autumn melancholy.

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