Happy Anniversary!

Following a stem cell transplant, they count the days starting with Day 0, D +1, etc. I’ve no idea what day post-transplant it is now, but I do know that today is Year +1. Yes, it’s the anniversary of my diagnosis on 4 Feb 2011! And what a year it’s been!

There’s not been one day this last year when I haven’t been being treated, taking tablets, in hospital or clinic, or just dealing with symptoms and the side effects of medication and the emotional/psychological aspects of having cancer. And that’s not to mention all the paperwork, phone calls and forms to complete for benefits and allowances. Yes, it’s been a full-time occupation.

As I look back, I feel like the life I had before I was ill was almost someone else’s. I don’t feel especially sad about that, just detached and rather distanced from it.

In the initial period before the transplant, although I felt so weak and shocked, there was an element of buoyancy and dare I say a sort of excitement albeit tinged with fear, maybe from all the attention I received, whether medical or from family and friends. There was also the simplicity of just following what I had to do and a freedom from not having to do most of the more normal responsibilities of being an adult.

Then there were the odd moments/hours of forgetting for a while, when my attention was briefly distracted by doing or thinking about something else, like a simple bike ride, gardening, day trips, visiting friends, etc.

The few weeks between ending treatment and the transplant itself was a period of reprieve, even though that’s also when I lost my hair. It’s when I regained some energy and my taste returned and I was able to enjoy a family party and camping in the summer.

After the transplant I felt depressed, I didn’t even have a great reaction to hearing I was in complete remission. It was just a fact of what I was going through and only signified something that would at some point fail, so a degree of fear was attached. Perhaps had I known how short a time that would last, I might have celebrated it more. I don’t really believe that. At least now the relapse has come, that particular fear is no longer with me. I can’t begin to fully think about the next fear, so I’ll leave that for now.

So, here I am in the next phase and I find it quite strange that it’s almost exactly a year on and I’m starting treatment all over again. There’s that late January/early February spike in my life again. I certainly don’t feel that same early buoyancy but neither do I feel as low or lost as I did a few months ago. And I don’t feel as devastated as I did when I first heard about the relapse. Maybe I’m simply resigned to how things are, or just used to being ill. I suspect there’s a small degree of low level, understandable depression going on too.

Today I don’t actually feel very much at all, apart from backache, sweating and sleepiness due to a rather chesty cough/cold, plus a weird gummy, soapy taste in my mouth that started yesterday and hasn’t gone away, which I think may be due to the new medication.

I don’t have a lot to say. I just wanted to acknowledge the passing of a year… I’m still here, celebrating with a cup of tea and a very jammy doughnut!

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5 Responses to Happy Anniversary!

  1. Morag says:

    I recognise a lot of the feelings you’re experiencing in the year following diagnosis of an incurable illness. All I can say is keep on with the tea and doughnuts!


  2. Sandra abraham says:

    Hi jet I’m feeling for you !!!!! my anniversary’s a month off 1st of march still can’t believe it a year and all my treatment on !!!!l watched the big c prog last night why hasn’t she lost her hair ????? Keep your chin up Sandra xxx


  3. thanks for sharing Jet, i think you are doing really well being so active (when you can), but understand how sad and afraid you must feel at times. I’m here for you. xx


  4. Eden Morris says:

    Blimey! where has that year gone? I remember speaking with you last year and ‘diagnosing’ you with ‘flu because I seemed to be surrounded by ppl with similar symptoms. How stupid did I feel that you actually had cancer.

    I am utterly inspired by the way that you have dealt with this; the fact that you are not a ‘victim’ and that you still go cycling, do your tai chi, you still go to the cinema, enthuse about your photography and you are now releasing your inner artist, wowza. Mostly I am in awe of how you have sought support for yourself and gently nudged us not to forget and be complacent around you, I salute your honesty and ability to strive to get it right for you.

    Thank you, Jet, for being in my life and a big well done for attaining top trump 🙂


  5. Wendy Duffield says:

    Jet, what a whirlwind of a year you have had, almost going full cycle, from being newly diagnosed, having treatment, having a stem cell transplant, being in remission to relapsing around a year later. You have certainly packed it in and I admire your honesty and your emotional intelligence in dealing with it. You have often said/written stuff that I can identify with but couldnt express. Hope your chesty cough/cold is going and you are managing ok with the velcade.

    Wendy xx


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