I had my 6th and final chemo on Good Friday. It was a beautiful sunny morning and I walked my dog on the fields around my house. I had a poem in my head by Norman McCaig which has the following lines;
‘The precious minutes go by; and you
Sit in the ring of the four seasons’.
I had created 4 art panels based on the seasons as I experienced them during the year. I had tried to put my experience of getting a cancer diagnosis during that time into the art work. I was not really able to do that but the act of observing what I was seeing on my walks kept me in the moment and provided a context for my thinking,
There is a field that I walk to which has a pond with swans…sometimes. And I sat there in the sun, with my sunglasses on and looked up at the sky and all around me. I felt a moment of being fully connected to everything around me, the tress, the earth, the grass, the sky, the birds. I cuddled my dog Cinder who has been such a comfort to me throughout and was the reason I was sitting in that field. I felt that I was sitting in the ring of the four seasons with a real feeling of the how precious the minutes are.
Those minutes that turn into hours and days. I have been watching nature and the seasons during their natural cycles while completing these unnatural chemical cycles of my own. This feeling of being connected to something bigger than myself, tuning into the universe, has been of such significance. Experiencing the wonder and beauty of these moments has kept me going though all the ugliness of chemo.
In the afternoon I had my chemo. It went well with no pain and no difficulty in finding a vein. I had been worried about that as getting blood samples while in hospital had become difficult. I brought in a cake which I had iced with ‘F**k Off Cancer! There was laughter from all the other clients and nurses at the ‘Spey Suite’. The cake was good but the laughter was better.
I had a lovely chat with a couple who had just got married. He was on his second cycle and coping well with side effects.
I had a lovely day. I did not cry although it would have ok to do that. I have learned a lot about myself as a result of chemo and it is an experience that I will not forget.
I am writing this on the 4th day and so far I have only mild side effects. I have sore feet and loss of taste, sweats, minor things. It might get worse over the next few days but I wanted to write this reflection before that happens, to remember that my farewell to chemo was good, that I felt happy and hopeful and that Chemo did not take from me permanently the things I value.
It was always a temporary thing, horrible and difficult at times but ultimately I do have an enhanced sense of how beautiful life is after having experienced the ugliness of chemo. It is important to point out that this has been my experience and personal to me. I have been honest. There may be damage to my body that is not temporary and of course the cancer may recur but I would like my recurring theme to be that life is wonderful and cancer did not get to take that from me.
I made this video about 8 months later.