It’s almost a year since my cancer diagnosis — and while all clear,I don’t really feel that I am back to myself just yet. Without doubt I returned to work too soon (Please refrain from I told you so!) but fielding the calls from HR became too much; and by now I feel strongly that all corporate structures need a policy for ‘Living with cancer/recovering from cancer/cancer surgery’ as much as they need policies for MH. Ultimately it is a life changing diagnosis even when the outcome is as good as mine was.
I look back over the previous eighteen months and understand now why I was so tired why my easter shingles were indicative of a health crisis. Yet I ploughed ahead in spite of what my body was trying to tell me. How stupid that was. I haven’t written much about it – other than the importance of friends and family and what not to ask a person. The continuing fatigue reminds me of the diagnosis as does the scar. I know what I wish to do next and the drastic changes I need to make to accomplish that, yet circumstances suggest, ‘not just yet.’ Perhaps this is good thing.
The changes have happened slowly. I have created a garden of sorts – with a tree, potted shrubs, fairy lights, a seating area. In my mind I have built borders of shrubs and trees in sweeping curves – their names familiar from childhood — Pieris, Japonica, Fatsia, Forsythia, Wisteria and Lavatera They conjure memories of my mother and days spent in Singleton Park with my sister where the tang of the hedges carried on the warm air as I walked home from school on cracked and billowed pavements.
I have prioritised my writing — going on weekend courses, dropping down into the well. Poems have been written. I have taken down pages from here because there are some I should like to see on a printed page and consequently my writings/ramblings have been less public. I have fleshed out ideas for more stories – I love that form, and for novels: what I need now is more time to write them.
Last week I spent a complete day with friends. We explored the north side of Ynys Môn, revelling in the warmth while the sea mist chilled us. The air was still as we watched the boats reverse up and down the narrow port. Then we stopped for a while at Eglwys Llanbadrig. Driving the narrow lane felt endless and fraught, keeping a sharp eye out for passing places. The hedges were heavy with flowers and grasses and it was impossible to see above them — the cloud was so low. As we reached the top, the horizon should have unfolded. Instead the sea fret had shrouded the sea into silence. The rocks to Ffynnon Badrig were slick with mist and we could only glimpse the sea in a shifting pocket of air.
The church was silent except for the scuff of our shoes on the tiled floor. Our voices were muted and our laughter muffled. It seemed the mist had obliterated the sunlight , so that the mosaic glass tiles around the altar lost their blue-ness, and the image of the Pastor Bonus was made invisible on the dim eastern wall. The crucifix was unprepossessing and the image of the chalice at screaming odds. Even the sense of permanence and walls weighted with prayers were unreal. After all the building was restored in 1985 following a fire.
It seems the mist closed in to offer only the present in company with friends, and that was good enough for me on the day.