Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel

Two years ago today I was told I had breast cancer. Curable, treatable, chop offable breast cancer. A year ago next week I was told I had incurable stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. I still find those two things shocking.  How we got from early stage to stage 4 so unfathomably quickly is still what keeps me awake at night. Having a “canciversary” is apparently a thing. I just don’t know whether I am supposed to be celebrating the fact that I made it to two years or commiserating about all the things that cancer has taken from me. It certainly seems like a time to feel grateful for all the amazing treatment and love and care that has been shown to me over two years. I can’t help though, feel a bit short changed when I think about what would, could and probably should, have been different.

The first time I met The Prof he told me quite emphatically that I shouldn’t be there. My risk factors were low, I was the wrong age, I didn’t fit the cancer profile in so many ways. But there I was. I think if I have learnt anything in these two years it is that I have to take all the positives I can. Find a way to look forward, however scary that may be. I look back because I love reminiscing but I only do it with joy. Anger, sadness, regret and bitterness are not emotions that I choose to visit me often. I would rather use the resources of energy I have to count my blessings, to love and be grateful. Two years down, but not out.

That aside, let’s be clear, cancer is an asshole.

Treatment wise, things are on track. My white blood cell counts were over 3 at the end of the first chemo cycle. This is higher than they ever were on the previous regime. So that’s good. I am definitely not focussing on the fact that when the WBCs were at their lowest, they kept telling me this meant the drugs were working. So after a week off the chemo (two weeks on, one week off) I started cycle 2. I feel pretty good, a bit nauseous, a bit headachy, a bit weak but if you ever spent time with me with a hangover, you could hardly spot the difference. My hands and feet are beginning to feel a little sore. Very hard to explain how this feels, it’s on the “very likely” list of side effects so not to worry. Mostly I am tired. Proper suckerpunched in the face sleepy.

There is a level of anxiety that comes from not knowing whether this drug is working. There are at least 4 weeks to go before I am back in the MRI. Until then, onwards.

In the space of two weeks we have gone from the depths of winter to what feels a lot like Spring. That rollercoaster is a good reflection of the emotional ride this year has provided so far. The sun on my face today and the buds that are appearing in my pots is giving me all the life I need.

 

 

I’ve had a lovely run of catching up with friends old, really old and new. I think I went out for lunch every day for a week. If you took the time to come and see me or take me out for lunch, please know that you helped me get over the awful start to the year. It truly means so much to me and a girl needs hugs. Quite exhausting, all this frivolity, so apologies if I didn’t quite make it to everything I had planned to.

Ma and Pa Goz came East for a visit and what a great time we had. They came to the cancer centre with me and met some of the team there. We went to the cinema, ate a lot (shock), and as they were here for Chinese New Year we even went for a New Year Chinese feast.

 

The Chinese New Year bought about the Year of the Pig.  My sister (and a lot of her school peers) are Pigs.  That never won’t be funny. Her reminding me of this encouraged me to go and look up more about my Chinese zodiac sign.  I am an Ox, go figure.  You can read more about it at https://chinesenewyear.net/zodiac/  I find this fascinating and I want to share a couple of paragraphs about my Ox type tendencies, quoting directly from their site.

 

Personality and Characteristics: Oxen are honest and earnest. They are low key and never look for praise or to be the center of attention.  This often hides their talent, but they’ll gain recognition through their hard work. They believe that everyone should do what’s asked for them and stay within their bounds.  Though they are kind, it’s difficult for them to understand persuasion using pathos.  Rarely losing your temper, they think logically and make great leaders.
Women born in the Ox year are calm and gentle.  They will never surrender to fate and rarely think of choosing an alternative.  This no doubt leads to a life of struggles.  But no matter what, they will walk down the road they choose until the end.  Despite this stubbornness, they think and react quickly.
Oxen in the Year of the Pig (2019) Stepping out of the shadow that was the Year of the Dog, Oxen can expect a more auspicious year under the influence of the Pig.  The year ahead will still have its ups and downs but despite the bad signs on the horizon, stability can be expected overall. Strengthen your bonds with the family and friends you consider closest, this can help to weather the storms of the coming months. Someone in your family may even help further your personal life. Take time to relax and do things you enjoy while you still can.

If that’s not weird, I don’t know what is…

I am fully embracing my plan to focus on my wellbeing this year. I have had some great walks but am also going back to old activities that I thought I maybe shouldn’t do. I started my yoga class at the Hospice which was very gentle but a great start. The great thing about the Hospice is the opportunity to meet with and chat to other people in similar circumstances. I am a bit allergic to group therapy, but actually this has been a good insight for me. I have been back to the gym a couple of times, I am not at risk of breaking any land speed records, but I’ve enjoyed the sense of normal that this has given me. I’ve also been swimming. If you know me from childhood this is the only thing I ever claim to be remotely good at. So it was with some trepidation that I got the Speedo out yesterday. I did not want my body to tell me I couldn’t swim anymore. I was worried about germs (as always) and whether I should immerse my chemo blasted skin in chlorine, but I did it. And by crikey did I love it. It wasn’t a complete epiphany because I could feel the tumours in my neck and my femur ached like a good’un, but otherwise it was so blissful.

 

I am also having a series of aromatherapy massages at the Hospice. I get told things like “your body is storing tension” and “your back is holding on to shock” and “your body processes bad news more slowly than the mind” and my inner cynic inwardly rolls my eyes. However, the massage and the therapist has helped me so much that I would recommend it to everyone. She also does some reiki. I didn’t believe in or understand the point of reike until I felt an inexplicable heat glowing through me coming from a therapist who wasn’t even touching me. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, I guess. And I will try anything. Unless it involves celery, then I’m out.

Traditionally, I have not been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. I think this derived from a hideous tradition at my school of the giving out of carnations by prefects somehow becoming a competitive sport and playing to all my teenage insecurities. (KESWers, please tell me I’m not the only one) But this year I find myself open to the idea of celebrating love. I prefer the holistic concept of Galentine’s / Palentine’s / Famentines’s. I made that one up. Loving and being loved by my girls, my chaps, my family and all pals near and far, is ultimately the only medicine for the soul I need. Moreover, despite the daily battles between mind and body, I am learning, and I don’t say this lightly, to love myself a little bit more. If I may, I urge you to do the same, and for a start, feel your boobs and bits.

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Big Love, AG xx

#Macmillan

#Breastcancercare

 

This tune came on the radio whilst I was in the car the other day.  I couldn’t have loved it more in the 80s.

Mr Mister: Kyrie

Kyrie eleison
Kyrie

The wind blows hard against this mountain side
Across the sea into my soul
It reaches into where I cannot hide
Setting my feet upon the road

My heart is old, it holds my memories
My body burns a gemlike flame
Somewhere between the soul and soft machine
Is where I find myself again

Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel
Kyrie eleison, through the darkness of the night
Kyrie eleison, where I’m going, will you follow?
Kyrie eleison, on a highway in the light

When I was young I thought of growing old
Of what my life would mean to me
Would I have followed down my chosen road
Or only wished what I could be

Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel
Kyrie eleison, through the darkness of the night
Kyrie eleison, where I’m going, will you follow?
Kyrie eleison, on a highway in the light
Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel
Kyrie eleison, through the darkness of the night
Kyrie eleison, where I’m going, will you follow?
Kyrie eleison, on a highway in the light
Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel
Kyrie eleison, through the darkness of the night
Kyrie eleison, where I’m going, will you follow?
Kyrie eleison, on a highway in the light
Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel
Kyrie eleison, through the darkness of the night
Kyrie eleison, where I’m going, will you follow?
Kyrie eleison, on a highway in the light
Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel
Kyrie eleison, through the darkness of the night
Kyrie eleison, where I’m going, will you follow?

4 thoughts on “Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel

  1. Ha ha carnations in KESW and the annual popularity or rather the unpopularity race was always horrid. Also whatever did the colours mean, pink – friendship, red – romance and white – marriage or whatever it was. I still remember when I see carnations at a florist even now.

    Much love A, keep posting xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Was it not just AWFUL?! I’m so glad you remember it so well. I think you got the colour code right after all these years. 🤣 Such a crock. Hopefully they don’t do that anymore.
      Thanks JM ❤️

      Like

  2. Good morning Abigail. Thank you so much for sharing that. You mentioning swimming reminded me of 26 yrs ago when we all went on holiday to France and how I remember you swimming in the pool there in that lovely old French house. Julia’s was about three years old then. Think of you al the time . Xx

    Liked by 1 person

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