As 2018 comes to an end, I can’t help but look back and think about the past year.
This time last year as we were about to head into 2017, I have no recollection of New Years Eve. The only thing I remember is how I felt at that time; extremely stressed and anxious. Not for the treatment and diagnosis for the year to come, although I am sure subconsciously that played apart in it, but at that time to find a solution to preserve my future dreams, in particular the ability to have children.
Now as we head into 2019, my thoughts are along a similar line but without the anxiety. This coming year my focus is on optimising my health and fitness as part of my post chemo and cancer recovery and then embarking on world of discovery regarding the impact chemotherapy had on my fertility. I am feeling positive about this currently, as thankfully due to the stress and anxiety I placed myself under at the end of last year, I know that I have some options and our journey has yet to be decided. Between myself and my other half, we are also not placing pressure on ourselves. We will find out the situation and then move forward and make a plan together from there once we have the facts.
The last year has had its significant challenges, and there has been moments where I have not been sure how I would get through it. When I look back at pictures from the last twelve months, I am astonished at how much beyond cancer treatment I managed to fit in. How many days and weekends away we had with family and friends. And although often at the time, I felt like I had pushed myself too far, I am still standing, I am still here, and those are the memories that I am now cherishing.
I am also extremely grateful, not only to some amazing healthcare staff who have helped me recover, but to all those who have gone before me. All those who will have risked their own lives, or side effects in the name of research to enable me to receive a treatment that is effective for a large number of people. I am grateful to the friends and family members who have been their helping me through the last 12 months, supporting me in different ways. And for showing me those that will be there for me if I need them. It is always a sad day when you lose people that you love, and through this time I have lost people both who have passed but also because of being deserted by others at a time when I needed them.
Having cancer has also taught me better methods of how to look after myself. I started writing this blog in March 2018, a couple of months into my treatment as I discovered that writing helped me process what was happening and express it in a way that I struggled to do verbally. It then led to developing enjoyment in writing poetry which I haven’t done since being a child. And has further developed to writing a type of short stories. This really has given me such a positive outlet and I need to ensure that I make time to continue this as life returns to its new normal over the coming months.
And so as this year closes, I want to say thank you. Thank you to the NHS for saving my life. Thank you to my family and friends for supporting me. Thank you to Macmillan for helping me now through my rehab phase. Thank you to friends and fertility experts who provided me with specific advice and information when I have been at my most desperate. Thank you to everyone who has ever taken part in clinical research. Thank you to everyone who has sent me online supportive message. And the biggest thank you has to go to my other half and my beautiful little boy. Being a mother made the last year even more challenging but it also gave me the greatest rewards. It made me get up and out of bed when I didn’t think I could. It gave me a hug when I needed one the most. And it made me most determined I have ever been to be able to dance and run after him once again.
Good bye 2018, you may have been a difficult year but I come away a lot stronger in so many ways and a better person for it.