This week could be a turning point as far as my treatment is concerned. There is so much still to do before I am admitted to hospital and my diary for the month ahead has been deliberately kept blank so I can fit in the radiotherapy and other hospital appointments. But there are also people I want to see, both relatives and friends.
I had a telephone call from someone who should be a close relative and who didn’t even know I had been ill for nearly three years but he decided some years ago, for whatever reasons, that he didn’t want to be close to Ray and me any more. Now he knows I am seriously ill he wants to know if I’d like him to visit. I think, from past experience, that this is more about assuaging any guilt in the future if I don’t make it.
No, the people I want to see are those with whom I have been in regular contact, particularly during the past three difficult years. They have been a source of strength. They have their own difficulties too and we have been able to lift each other up and have good times together. Some people are not close friends, just acquaintances, but they too have lifted me up with their comments, enquiries and sense of humour. Living in a village means we see other villagers quite regularly and this contact has been valuable and will continue to be important for Ray when I am in hospital. Some real boosts to my morale have come from the internet, comments from people I have never met.
As I’ve discovered other people suffering from the physical effects of cancer or lymphoma, and those suffering from the psychological effects of being donor conceived, I hope I’ve added my feelings of empathy. Although we live in an enormous world which can seem so anonymous, the reaching out we do to each other is so valuable, particularly where our experiences overlap and we can offer not only sympathy but real understanding.
This window of physical wellbeing may be short-lived as I must start radiotherapy soon. However, feeling not only better physically, but also being mentally much more alert, has been such a boost. I relapsed last November, learned of my donor conception in March and entered a real trough of despair as I thought I would never find a bone marrow donor. Gradually I have been climbing out of the trough. I know there are immense difficulties to come but survival is a very important instinct.
This week could be a turning point and I must make the most of it.