17th Sep, 20

The Parallel Universe of Tumour Treatment

From the moment of diagnosis you enter a different place. Exactly like that movie where the actor pushes their hand through what looks like the wall of a blurred bubble and having pushed their hand through, everything else follows and they find themselves on the other side in a new place.

The people here are lovely. Caring, supportive and fully aware of what it means to find yourself in this place.

Oh for the luxury of not knowing. Oh for the ignorance of not knowing.

The sense of freedom of not being ill is bliss. That period when the football scores are heart breaking, when building your life is everything, when it is other people who are ill and not you and your life carries on regardless. Not selfish, just normal?

But having crossed over there is no going back. The humanity on this side is so much more compelling. So much worth being a part of. So much worth contributing to if you can.

From the funny, wisecracking drivers who have collected and delivered so many for treatment. The smiling volunteers directing you on arrival at hospital, the smiling welcoming nurses asking your name and date of birth for the 20th time that month before pushing the button on your daily dose of radiation and on to the transport team arranging your return journey and making you a cup of tea. Clatterbridge Liverpool is more of a smart hotel than hospital.

What a thing it is to be part of that group. The unwell. And to really see up close how much some people suffer. And to experience that moment of perspective when by comparison, your own tumour is a small matter.

The objective is more time. More quality time. The recovery of what once was. The work, the responsibility, the mental freedom. 

Of course this is one perspective. Just being glad to be here is something easily recognisable in so many faces.

The final days of this phase of treatment are here for me and who knows, this could be the end of it. Those magical words “it’s shrinking” or “it’s dying” if a tumour can die, is something that would be music to my tinnitus ringing, half deaf ear?

My life isn’t under threat and the next 6 months could be wonderful. I’m lucky.

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