This may be the hardest blog post I will ever write, for there is no way to sugar-coat the following news. I have been diagnosed with bowel cancer. The tumour that was removed during emergency surgery the other week turns out to have been malignant, and I will be starting chemotherapy in the not too distant future.
These are short sentences to utter, but they have left me reeling.
Perhaps unsurprising, I have, therefore, been struggling to find something to be grateful for since Friday evening amidst the shock and tears that such cruel news has inevitably brought.
One positive is that I now have certainty about the way forwards. It will not be a pleasant journey ahead and part of me wants to shrink away from airing everything to everyone on social media, but I have started down this path of sharing and I will continue down it, for as long as it makes sense and gives me pleasure to do so.
And that’s where part of my gratitude for today comes in. I have been profoundly touched by the number of you who have got in contact, either privately or below my FB posts to show your support, concern and your appreciation of my writing. Beyond keeping a journal, my blogs are the only time I have ever written in public at a personal rather than professional level, so your feedback and encouragement have been most welcome and has provided great solace at what was already a challenging time.
Many of you are reading this via Facebook, and the bizarre thing about Facebook is that having never found the time to ‘cleanse my contacts,’ so my ‘friends’ includes many people I’ve not spoken to or heard from in years. A portfolio of people that I shared some portion of my life with; school, uni, gym, work, motherhood…who knows. The nature of life is that friendships ebb and flow with time; some people you meet and cling closely to forever, other friendships drift apart, often through circumstantial factors like location. Some subsequently drift back together, others don’t.
Yet at probably the most difficult period in my life, you have all rallied in support. Old friends and new ones, providing support and comfort to me and my family at a time when things are pretty grim.
Thank you all for your kind messages and virtual hugs. I do not know what the road ahead looks like. I’m guessing pretty miserable. But your support acts like small beacons of light and hope along that dark road. They help me continue moving forwards and standing tall in the face of adversity.
I am deeply grateful and lucky to have met fantastic people in my life so far, I look forward to meeting many more, and thank you all for giving me the strength and courage to keep writing.