A few months ago a friend asked me if having an incurable form of cancer had given me any special insights on life. I answered in the affirmative, but added the rider “but not any that you’d want to have”.
I was slightly dramatizing the point as on the whole I manage to keep a grip on things, despite the pending and very present threat of mortality. When you are diagnosed with a cancer like myeloma you pretty quickly have to develop coping mechanisms or you’ll pretty soon turn batshit crazy.
My methods sound quite simple but are actually quite difficult to implement; they do more or less work for me though:
When I’m well and not under treatment, then I’m well and I don’t think about my disease, I live in the present. It’s only when I enter periods of treatment that I ponder THINGS and STUFF.
However, every 3-months I have a check-up with my specialist. I’m tested, questioned, prodded and probed. This coming Thursday it’ll be 11-months since my stem cell transplant. That’s gone very quickly, an 18-month period of remission following a SCT is normally considered good going. So I’m over halfway through what might possibly be a good remission period. These 3-monthly check-ups really fuck with my head and it’s here that my carefully crafted coping methods come up short. Around a week or so before the appointment, I start imagining all sorts of phantom and not so phantom pains, play out potential conversations with my specialist concerning re-lapse, and plot how to break the potential news to friends and loved ones. It’s very difficult to control thoughts, feelings and scenarios. I have no neat way to end this post either than I’m definitely batshit crazy at the moment so apologies all round. I’m probably a bit of a handful.