Sunday, 27 May 2012

My Blog Hiatus (and sorry)

GULP.  I finally got up the guts to log on and glance through my fingers at the date of the last post. .An entire month and a half..Oh dear oh dear. So long in fact that Blogger has had a facelift, and I'm navigating the new version as a blogging rookie, that's how far off the wagon I've fallen. About as far as a discarded rotten apple off the apple wagon on the way to the cider factory. Wait, I think maybe rotten apples are a key component of cider making? But I digress...

Cider talk would appear to be the latest in a long line of procrastinating devices I have developed in order to avoid this whole cancer nonsense these days. I'll be honest - its about time. Typing the c-word just now was an act of impressive bravery as far as the new and maybe not so improved me goes. You see, I'm a wuss. Cut and dry, no beating round the bush, verging on professional wuss. Who rather than settling into the new, life-will-never-be-quite-the-same me, has spent the last three or four months trying to clamber back the old version.

I've always been a little too ambitious. My first Saturday job was as far away from the requisite local petrol garage as it was possible to get. Sales assistant at a high street fashion store or NOTHING. Never mind the build up of broke Saturday's spent sulking in my bedroom while my friends bought stuff and had fun, I would wait until someone was brave enough to employ an experience-less schoolgirl to represent their brand. This philosophy has applied throughout my life, with ideas slightly above my station being the general rule of thumb (how else are you crazy enough to try and break into fashion mags?). So I suppose my post-cancer, breaking the mould ideals shouldn't be too surprising. YES I can be back at work full time, a month after my recurrence and second op, with just as many bright ideas and ruthless hours. OF COURSE I can sleep perfectly well and maintain an active social life and fit in all the people I had to neglect in favour of chemo. Regular emotional wobbles? (OK, full on freak outs)? Moi? Nah. Normality is what I have been missing since December 2010, so normality is what I WILL reclaim, 100%, no messing about, ASAbloodyP.


The blog hiatus has fallen to the same excuse as the book procrastination - I am just far too busy enjoying my health and normalcy to sit and write, or even I'm ashamed to say, reply to all the lovely blog emails. Now that I have had a few strong words with myself I suppose I can see whats going on here. I've become so much of a chicken I could be Kentucky Fried without anyone calling the restaurant health inspector. In actuality, I'm avoiding the issue. I have so much more to say - every new day is as much of a beauty learning curve as D-Day, but I just haven't been able to. Someone mentioning the C word, be it in a news meeting at work, on the telly, or a friend talking about a friend of a friends friend, I feel like I want to fall off my chair. I blush and cold sweat and avert my eyes and think about anything else. Is this an extreme reaction? I have no idea because I don't want to talk to anyone who might know, because that would be discussing the one topic I wish I never had to think about ever ever again.

The cold hard truth is my life has changed. I will never be one of those women who revels in their tragedies. I don't want my illness to define who I am now, but I'm stupid if I think it doesn't shape it. From having to battle with my ridiculous hair, to having to battle with my, lets face it, fragile levels of sanity at times, I am one of a small percentage of 32 year olds who has had cancer, who has a very different stance than the 7 other lovely but luckier girls who sit at my desk bench. I now realise there is little point struggling to wipe out the worry that sits on my shoulders and not theirs, and even less point bemoaning the fact that I was the 1 in 8 on that row of desks who has to carry that worry.

So you see, with that frame of mind, blogging about the good stuff is still focusing on the bad. If I tell you how I tackle the May heatwave hair-frizzing issue, I'm telling you its because it all fell out and then regrew curlier. How much I'm struggling to stay on the healthy eating wagon (god its easier when you have time to clean out the juicer at leisure instead of 2 minutes before you leave for work), is a glossier way of saying I'm feeling guilty for ignoring my bodies new needs and slipping back into my 'before' ways. Answering the lovely emails I get sent is conversing with my new peer group, who I gently rebuff because, well, I just don't want to be in that club.

Thing is, I am in it. I'm not sure you can go through such a traumatic experience (I still maintain I did it as beauteously as humanly possible!), have your body quite literally shaped by cancer, and then brush it off with a bit of ignorant avoidance and a 'striaght back in at the deep end' attitude. Having given up therapy a bit too quickly (another avoidance tactic), I've managed to reach the grand old conclusion all by myself, that I am an idiot. My blog and all of its lovely readers and supporters have been something of a backbone to my cancer experience. The beauty trial and error approach was something tangible to focus on. Writing about my experience was wonderfully cathartic and helped me organise my thoughts, and every day that I don't write it, I miss it, but in a small compartment of my brain that has a combination lock I haven't quite worked out yet.

By now I'd say I've cracked 3 out of the 4 digits, and am a fraction away from the last one. I'm not sure I'll get there completely, and I don't know if I quite want to, but every time I sit on the bus and suddenly think 'What the f*ck happened to me?!' I think I'm sort of getting my head around it.

Last week saw my one year anniversary from chemo graduation and I am still wrestling my cancer beauty nemeses like nobodies business. This means I have plenty more blog posts in me and a unavoidable conclusion that by 'eck, I am a cancer survivor and I have the nightmare hair to prove it. Just in case my brain keeps regressing into NORMAL AT ALL COSTS mode and I need reminding of who I really am today. Now pass me the bloody ghd's...


  1. Dear Sophie

    I couldn't have said it better myself. Here, here!

    None of us want to be in the cancer 'club' but here we are and there's no denying that it changes you. Maybe one day (preferably when we are old and not-too-grey with several grand children running around) we'll look back and say it was in a good way. Maybe we'll even thank god/Buddha/the universe we even got it because of how it changes us, although right here and now, waiting and wondering about long-term survival, I can't quite imagine how I could ever want to have experienced this horror. But there's no return ticket back; there's only moving forward from here with the strange new perspective we have on our mortality. And every time someone tilts their head sideways and gives me *that* look (pity/fear/thank-god-it's-not-me) I want to scream at them and tell them 'I'm no more mortal than you are!' because at the end of the day, that's what we're clear on - mortality - and that's what the rest of the non-cancer/serious ill people can forget about and live in denial of.

    I'll be honest and say that in the loneliness of living with this new knowledge, I like and need your blog to make me feel I'm not the only one. So I want to say 'keep on blogging!' but I acknowledge your need to get on with living. If it helps to blog then do it. But if it becomes a horrible reminder of your time as a full-time member of the cancer club then Move On! Or downgrade your membership to part-time member (which allows for long blog silences I suspect). Don't worry either way, we'll all be checking back in from time to time and be cheering you on, whatever you do.

    Best wishes and enjoy the sunshine!

    PS Last week Kylie, who is now 7 years on said 'not a day goes by' when she doesn't think about it. It's here for the duration, this cancer nonsense; we just have to mindfully accept it into our lives but not let it ruin things for us.

  2. Welcome back! You don't have to consider it a club, maybe if it has to be a club it could be the one where everyone has hair they can't stand, and are a bit lopsided on the top half. Either way, we love hearing your beauty advice :-)

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