I’m supposed to be in Ireland. Specifically, I’m supposed to be in County Clare in a big house by the sea with my husband and my kids and a great rolling crowd of eating, drinking, laughing, chatting, arguing, joking in-laws. I should be walking the Cliffs of Moher and eating in fancy seafood restaurants and listening to debates about which wine to choose. Instead, I’m at my parents’ with an IV pump and a sense of injustice.
Four days before we were due to take the ferry, my Hickmann line got infected. I hadn’t quite realised what a big deal that was. I was admitted, line removed, heart scanned (risk of endocarditis), 14 days of IV antibiotics. My husband offered to cancel the holiday but just because I’m having a rubbish time I don’t see why the family should miss out. He hasn’t seen his siblings for a couple of years (thank you, Covid), and needed to. The kids needed a break. We all needed a break.
We’d done a reasonable amount of planning. I was going to have the Hickmann replaced with a porta-cath (sits under the skin, not above it – so I can swim! Cold water swimming has been my reset button for the last few years), and also had to defer my chemo for 10 days. It wasn’t just a case of upping and going. In the end, I wouldn’t have been able to have chemo at the same time as an active infection, though it would have been good to get week 1 out of the way while the family were away.
It feels bigger than it is. I missed out. I’ve missed out on other things over the last few months – taking my daughter up to uni, seeing my brother when he came down. This is the biggest thing, though. This stupid illness is impinging on my life! We did talk about this. The best I can come up with is that we either stop planning things, or we accept that sometimes we’ll plan something and have to cancel. And it’s very easy to remember the things I’ve missed out on and forget that we had a few days away with friends in Swansea, that my brother came down again, that my friend Claire whisked me out to lunch, that we had a lovely evening at Julie’s, that we gorged on scallops and black pudding in our own kitchen.
It’s the same old same old. Keep going. Enjoy the good things. Accept that the whole cancer malarkey might stop you doing things, but don’t do its job for it. Seek pleasure, seek fun, seek people, seek love, keep being you.