Thursday, September 20, 2007

So how's the leukaemia?

Well it's alright thanks. I've been living with it for 4 and a half months now and we're rubbing along alright. As I've said all along, it hasn't actually made me ill at all. So in many ways I feel a complete fraud and this is where the problem comes. I rarely think about the disease that I'm riddled with, but unfortunately I am forced to confront it every monring as I take my oral dose of Gleevac. Luckily, I forget to take it at the right time sometimes (normally at the weekends), but I've only missed one daily dose in the 3 months I've been on it. I say luckily, because to me it suggests that the disease isn't on my mind constantly. However, I do feel unsettled by my normal life.

I've recently started seeing a cancer counsellor, who works as part of the Dimbleby foundation and discussed my issue and my getting on with normal life. Oddly - despite my dignosis - 2007 has been the best year I've had for several. Home is settled, work is as stressful as it needs to be to be stimulating, the kids are great and everything I have strived to acheive has started to come together for us as a family over the last 12 months. And here's where my unsettled feeling comes in. Why the fuck haven't I woken up screaming and expected my life to end? Why don't I constantly think about dying? Why do I not look at my children and weep? Am I really as ill as they tell me at the hospital?

I don't know.

Apparently this is a perfectly normal reaction to cancer, some people do fall apart, but then others just say, 'oh alright then' and get on with things. I guess I'm one of the latter, however it does make me feel like a fraud - there's that word again.

My friends have been fantastic and offered endless help, but we haven't actually taken any of them up - because we haven't needed to. Fraud.

My company has said I can take as much time as I need. Apart from my hospital appointments, I've taken none. Fraud.

People ask me how I feel - I feel fine - I am fine. Fraud.

My wife is - on accassion - in bits, I'm holding it together. Fraud.

I'm fitter now than I have been for 10 years. Fraud.

I've actioned a critical illness claim which is likely to get paid out. Fraud.

I'm 4 stone lighter than I was 18 months ago and I worked bloody hard to get that weight off, but a little voice says, 'yeah but the Leukaemia must have helped'. Fraud.

Physically I'm fine, mentally things are quite difficult. The difficulty is the uncertainty. The Gleevac data suggest that I may be in remission in 12 months and continue to be so in 5 years time. My consultant tells me that they have no reason to believe that this shouldn't continue ad infinitum. So I therefore become the equivlent of a diabetic who takes insulin every day - constantly medicated but fine.

But no one can tell me that that is going to happen. My life is literally uncertain.

Cunt. It's what it deserves. Pernicious, parasitic cunt. You know what maybe it isn't alright.


lucy said...

You sound quite normal to me,
it'll probably take 1 - 2 years for the emotional upheaval to level out.
Its good to hear life for you is basically going well.

IsobelMagsBuchan said...

I suppose the fraud bit comes in because you don't actually feel ill and look as though you are healthy and fit. Celebrate the fact that you do feel well, enjoy it, revel in it, embrace it and stop calling youself a fraud!

You have a very positive outlook on life and have done for as long as I have read your blog, hence your capacity to live for the day and not to overly worry. I should imagine that THAT is having a very positive effect upon your treatment.

You are an amazing person Six.

Les Paul Junior said...

Hi Six,

Mags is right, you know. You are amazing, in all the right senses too!

Modern medical science is amazing too. Ten years ago that diagnosis would've been a death sentence but that's not true anymore.

As for uncertainty, well... As far as I can see nearly all of life is uncertain if I stop and think and about it. Perhaps it's sometimes better not to think too much about what might happen. I have to pinch myself on occassion and remember to enjoy those things that are here now and not worry about things that might be here in the future.

Oh, yes, of course, nearly forgot...I'm glad you're doing well physically. Long may it continue!!!

Paul said...

I'm glad the physical side is looking good Six.

Interesting what you say about how you feel I was travelling back from London on the train one night and the woman in front of me was dictating a letter to her secretary over the phone. She was saying that cancer patients face up to their illness much better in general than those with other serious conditions. In my limited experience that is true.

You are absolutely right about the weight loss, my brother thought exactly the same - was it him or was it the cancer. The human mind is too powerful for it's own good sometimes.

Keep on keeping on.