Today I start a 6-week course at my local Macmillan Centre called HOPE; Help to Overcome Problems Effectively, which was developed in collaboration between Coventry University and Macmillan Cancer Support.
I managed to get one of the last places on this round and it was as a result of essentially hitting rock bottom, and having what can only be called an emotional breakdown after my treatment had ended. At this point, I turned to Macmillan as the only source of support I knew to exist at this time, and no direct support coming from the health service.
I am really looking forward to it, and I think in some ways the knowledge that I will be doing it has also helped me. But in honour of this positive step forward, I thought I would share today another poem which attempts to start to communicate how it felt in the early months (not days) after treatment had ended, when it feels like you should be back to normal, and it feels like people expect you to be back to normal or that they have moved on from you having cancer because you know longer do. It was the most challenging part to date of the whole experience of having cancer, and the part where there is the least support or recognition given. So to anyone out there, going through this for themselves….you are not alone; this too will pass and there is support out there if you know where to look.
The Emotional Climb
Finding your normal after treatment is done,
It can be the hardest and isn’t fun.
With time now available to think about it all,
Yourself you can no longer fool.
Thinking about everything that’s happened to date,
Thinking bout what may have been your fate.
Thinking about everything that you could do,
Allowing yourself to wallow and stew.
Treatment is over it’s time to be fine,
But still this body doesn’t feel like mine.
It’s weak and feels like it’s broken and in bits,
Like a jigsaw where none of the pieces will fit.
Thinking about all the strength that you mustered,
Thinking of those whose hands your life you entrusted.
Fearing the demon returning again,
Trying to stop the whizzing clogs in your brain.
It’s time to get on and get life back on track,
But energy to move I still greatly lack.
Everything in life should now be within reach,
But my body is slow and it I need to reteach.
Every night I lay trying to get to sleep,
The world is silent there isn’t a single peep.
The only sounds are coming from within my head,
I struggle to quieten them and move on from the dread.
Finding a way through the mental fog,
It is the hardest uphill slog.
Enabling myself to accept all the pain,
Its the start of my ascent through this difficult terrain.
But as I allow myself to let my emotions flow,
I have to learn how to let them show.
And then the light begins to leak through the cloud,
As I start to find a way to speak aloud.
Although it can be a lonely place to be,
I know there are many others like me.
Rock bottom can come after treatment has ended,
But then life can truly start to be mended.