…or is it ok ? I know the difference is important to some people. I’m finding it increasingly easier to say I’m ok rather than try and explain to people the reasons why I’m not. ‘Oh you’re looking well’. For gods sake, take a look inside, I’m bloody not, neither physically or emotionally. I’ve been tearing myself apart for weeks, dealing with the effects of cancer, and what is going on in my personal life. The two are entirely separate and yet inexplicably deep rooted in each other. No matter how much some people want them to be treated separately, I can’t.
“Huf Huf Huf !!! Pull yourself together man.”
If anyone ever tells me they like men in touch with their emotional side, I think I’d punch their lights out right now. You would have thought by now that I’d be hardened up, used to the emotional roller coaster that seems to come with cancer. There have been far too many sad events recently, and these have coincided with a period where my colon has been behaving far from satisfactorily. In fact it’s worse than at any time since a huge chunk of it was ripped out leaving me to deal with the day to day complexities of having a colostomy. Don’t get me wrong, that isn’t difficult when everything is working, dare I say it, okay, and to be fair, I’ve had almost two years of it working fine,and not causing me any problems at all. But the last three months have been far from fine. There seems to be a brick wall half way across my transverse colon. I had a colonoscopy last October, which didn’t find anything significant to cause the problems I had been encountering up until then. But since my last operation the brick wall seems to have been shored up, and no matter what I eat or do seems to be causing me pain. I can go days and days without any movement in my bowel, and I then have to deal with the after effects of the potions I’m taking in order to get things moving again. No sooner have a few bricks been chipped away, a new blockade appears, twice as strong as the one just obliterated. A day of vomiting and a temperature of 38 degrees convinced me I had to seek help, and I’m seeing my colorectal surgeon again on Thursday after a hastily arranged appointment through my stoma nurse. I’m not optimistic, I know he won’t be able to give me an on the spot solution, but at least I’ll be listened to.
It would be easy to blame cancer for all the faults and failures in my life at present, but that’s just clinging on to faint hope that I can pass the blame onto something else. I don’t even put up a decent fight. I don’t have the right to be depressed. It would be easy to blame my depression on others. Is this what they mean when they say “stay strong”. It always seems so crass at the time. “Urgh Urgh”. That’s that sound on that TV programme, you know, the one when they get it wrong. That sound seems to be ringing permanently in my ears at present. Surely I deserve a few “pings”. I know I don’t have the right to feel alone when I cut myself off from the outside world. Perhaps I just don’t want to face up to reality. I can’t pretend that everything is okay when it’s not. It may seem that I am ungrateful to the few people who have been determined to keep in touch with words of encouragement, or even just understanding. I am truly grateful when that email or text message arrives, or the phone rings, even if I don’t sound it.
I look out of my window and see the first green bulbs breaking through to give a hint that spring might be on the way. At the same time I’m listening to the weather forecast of ice and snow coming in the next 24 hours. In a way it reflects my own feelings, everything is in place for recovery, we just don’t know what the conditions will be like in the future. My meeting with the colorectal surgeon on Thursday coincides with an appointment a few hours earlier with my oncologist. Thankfully, both are at The Christie. I had a CT scan last week, the first since my liver op last November. I’m not anxious, compared to what else is going on in my life this seems small fry. I know many of you will find that difficult to understand, but that’s how I feel. Whatever they find, or don’t find from the scan I’ll deal with. I know from experience that an ‘all clear’ only represents the position on the day of the scan. That can be short lived. Of course I’ll be delighted with an all clear, the thought of more surgery at this time fills me with dismay. But even then I’m sure I’ll deal with it…I’ll be okay.