Mud-streaked shoes trying to look like sunny flowers

Some time ago I mentioned my desire to write a blog on how Nige’s cancer has effected people, in an attempt to find some positive meaning behind this life experience. From what I have seen, it’s a common theme for those whose lives have been affected by extreme grief – let’s find a way to prove that this has happened for a reason, surely god or fate or life would not have human beings suffer so much for no purpose? I admire those that rise to the occasion in this way, but at the same time I feel sadness and pity for the desperate struggle to dispute the fact that life can be unfair and heartless for no particular reason at times. That blog has been put on hold for a bit. There are still some people I would like to hear from, but mostly it is just because I don’t feel like I could write it with real honesty and integrity right now. I’m not feeling particularly cheerful and grateful or hopeful right now – I’m not really “ful” of anything. I want it to be a rainbow unicorn blog, not a mud-streaked shoe blog trying to look like a sunny flower.

Cancer is a series of grieving for losses. Hope, stability, life and the person as you know them, all gone. The expected future stolen.

I often try to imagine how Liam and Eva are feeling right now. Half the ages my sister and I were when mum passed. I can remember being a bit scared of mum when she was sick, she wasn’t the same mum I was used to growing up. She was cancer mum. How dad, her parents, her sister, her friends and colleagues must all have grieved for the loss of the woman they knew and cared for. How mum must have grieved for the person she was. The strong, quick minded, busy, bustling, sharp-tongued, determined woman she had grown into had been replaced, beaten down until only a shell remained.

Nige’s lack of energy, hair, weight, voice all makes me think about:

How we treat the weak – those with a weak voice feel they cannot garner respect. They are hard to hear, people may think they’re deaf. Why is a loud voice and shouting a means of gaining respect? Is it the mark of a man? Does that mean we talk over others or shout them down in order to gain control, the winner has the power?

How we treat the old – they are weak so we actually physically move them around. Do they always want to go where we take them? Their minds are not always what they once were – so we make their decisions for them. How much is necessary, how much is accepted just because they are too weak to protest? And when they do protest it can seem silly and impractical to us. Like my wonderful Great Auntie, who had a medical alarm, lying on the floor for a day or two following a fall because didn’t want to annoy anyone and was afraid she would be sent to a home.

How we judge those that look different – in a wheelchair, shuffling, funny looking. Maybe they were just like you once, but an illness turned them into what you see before you. Not only have they and their loved ones had to grieve what has gone, they also have to endure the stares and avoidance of the public. I guess it’s human instinct to ignore the sick in case of contagions. We know better now and must fight against this instinct. Illnesses such as Cancer are such lonely places to dwell. And if the “different” were born to look this way, it doesn’t mean they don’t feel the same as us inside. It doesn’t mean they are crazy or disease ridden. We avoid such people out of fear. I do it myself.

Anyway that is all just internal speculation and “food for thought”, it’s probably not even slightly relevant to those that read my blogs. But it is worth remembering, I think.

It has been a strange couple of months. The waiting around for a treatment to work, or not work, not knowing if Nige’s symptoms are cancer or Immunotherapy related. Scared to feel any positivity in case we are let down again. Trying not to despair over the possible reality that this is not working and Nige is getting sicker. The terrible anxiety as we wait for the news on Thursday – is his cancer stable or growing? The lack of knowing how he or I or anyone close to us will cope if it is bad news. It feels like the results can’t be anything but negative, as I can’t remember the last time we listened to a piece of really good news relating to Nige’s cancer. We acknowledge everything we have to be thankful for, great family and friends, enough money, food, and shelter that enables Nige to have the best possible life he can. But still the fear and anger and sadness chips away at our hopes and dreams. Still it is hard to see an outcome besides the worst. And yet we try. Nige battles on through each day past the pain, nausea, and fatigue like no warrior I have ever seen. We cling to the hours while wishing them away in a dreadful dance that goes on and on. But I still can’t see him out of my life. I still visit the future with him in it. And with every last breath in my body I will strive to support him through this, to whatever end. I just pray the future I see is reality, and that I can help Nige gather the strength he needs to keep on living until this cancer retreats and he can truly enjoy being part of life again.

I’ll leave you with a comment from one of my many wonderful friends, which seems fitting for the end of a blog such as this – but first thanks everyone, for being you and for everything you say and do. Nige and I love you all xxxooo

“Hi you have made me thankful for the struggles I have and to appreciate the really important bits in life. Shown me how to be strong in the face of adversity. Reminded me to get on with life and not to just cruise. Lastly and importantly enjoy my friends. The future is blurry for all of us so make time for the people I love!”