I had the tumour taken out of my foot, but once he was in, the surgeon found that some muscle and some of the joint had to go too, so now I am up to my knee in very heavy plaster and navigating the world using crutches and wheelchair and a few hops in between. I’ve been a bit depressed and sad on and off since I got home from hospital, hating the loss of my independence and woozy and muddled from the painkillers. But I think it will get a little bit easier every day.
My favourite six letters in the whole of the english language are B-E-N-I-G…and N again :) !!! The lump on my foot is a benign tumour!! Because it’s quite big and getting bigger I’m having both it and the muscle it’s latched onto removed anyway, but they can take my whole leg for all I care. All I want is a few more years on this beautiful planet, and I have them!
This has been one of the most intense experiences of my life (which shows really what an incredibly blessed life I have had) and I am determined to learn from it every lesson it offers. There have been so many!
Apart from the two I mentioned in my last entry (a new capacity for empathy that I had previously BADLY lacked, and a new appreciation for people in my life I never knew cared so much) I have also had an opportunity to rapidly assess which of my goals and relationships are the really important ones in my life. I have also, without any effort to do so, found my criticisms of my body wholly replaced with an overwhelming gratitude for 31 years of such faithful service. I’m going to give it so much more love and care from now on.
Thank you a million times to those who have offered prayers and kind thoughts. They make all the difference in the world :)
A tumour, but a benign tumour! I have never loved my feet more :)
since I posted anything for this goal, even though I’ve been making a lot of things lately, I suppose because I keep giving them away before I have time to take a picture! Anyway this is a doll I have been making this weekend.
shake up of my priorities. This time a fortnight ago my idea of a crisis was the thought of not getting my PhD thesis passed. Now, tomorrow, I am having a scan to see if the likely-to-be tumour in the soft tissue of my foot has metastised into my lungs.
I swear to God (and that isn’t a phrase I use lightly) that, whatever the outcome of my tests, I will find some way of using this experience to help other people awaiting frightening diagnoses. Besides the actual anxiety of awaiting the verdict, it is terrifying to be at the mercy of such a dehumanising and fallible system with the knowledge that your life could be at stake. I have spent the week unravelling double-booked appointments, trying to make sense of completely contradictory timetables for scheduled tests, and dropping off copies of scans which have been lost. It makes me wonder what happens to people who don’t speak english, or who are elderly, or who have no support and just fall apart completely under the pressure of it all. In fact, someone like that who was in my position this week would very likely have gone untested and untreated, and I’m told our public medical system is one of the best in the world.
The other side of this is that the handful of people I’ve told (who, apart from my partner and my sister are mostly people I work for, not close friends) have come through for me with a kind of strength and almost love that I could never have anticipated in a million years. I have been offered every kind of support imaginable. This too makes me realise that, with whatever chance God grants me, I can be a much more compassionate being than I have been before. I never realised before what a terrible, terrible attitude I have had to sickness and crisis in all but my inner circle.
This is so hard to admit, but I think I have imagined in the past that sickness and crisis are somehow alright – that people are always being taken care of, that they are used to it, that is is somehow natural. I’ve been such a selfish and insensitive person that I’ve never really engaged with the full scale horror of it. And I am so incredibly lucky that people in my own life have more compassion than I have had before. So that is the other thing I have learned and will keep forever, no matter what my diagnosis. No one who is in trouble will ever be too distant from me to have my prayers, my sympathy, my empathy and repeated reminders of any help that I can offer.
This is the strangest time, flickering from strength and optimism to fear and despair in the shortest order. The result of my MRI was inconclusive and things could be either way. That is, there is still good hope for something benign, and the possibility to prepare for of something malignant. I’ve been told I can hope for a definite result a week on Monday, but I’m trying not to get too attached to the idea.
I had a really good day the day before yesterday doing some beading with children I was looking after. I even forgot all about this for a little while. It was the best day I’ve had since all this went down. So I’m trying to draw on that and do things that keep my hands busy, like knitting and sewing. For some reason that seems to still my mind a little bit.
The sun is rising now and that helps too.
It was so lovely pottering around in his studio listening to him work (he mixes music) while I finished covering the sound pad things he uses with velvet. It looks beautiful and really took my mind off everything. Well worth doing :)
The ultrasound result has been a bit scary and this goal has become something a bit more serious to me. I am having an MRI tomorrow and have been booked in to see an oncologist/orthopedic surgeon on Monday who has a particular interest in foot/ankle tumours. It is really hard not to let my imagination go wild and it is also hard to stop terrifying myself by looking up prognoses for the different things they will be looking for, some of which are so grim I go cold when I read them.
One of the hardest things is that the two people closest to me, my sister and my boyfriend, are both people who are VERY easily panicked by health issues. I really want to just talk about it, since it’s all I can think of, but I have to be careful not to panic them and I also not to let them panic me. I haven’t even decided who, if anyone, to bring with me on Monday.
I guess it’s natural enough when you really want an answer and can’t get one, but I’m finding myself looking for signs everywhere – trying to read the facial expressions of people doing the scans, trying to decode little details of things they say. I’m not a superstitious person at all, but I find myself scanning the universe for little clues about what’s going to happen.
One of the no-win aspects of my anxiety about this is that, on the one hand, I’m terrified if the appointments I need can’t happen quickly. Then, when they suddenly find that they can fit me in, I’m terrified all over again, wondering why they’re going to so much trouble to accommodate me and if its because my results are really so dire.
On the bright side, I will be able to show the oncologist if the thing has grown over the last few weeks because I was vain enough to post a pic of it with my first entry!
Roll on Monday…
is my church fete and I have surprised myself by how relaxing and pleasurable making little things for it has been. after a horrendous weekend of panic I had a lovely Sunday night making a little set of necklaces and bracelets, only very simple designs, but it was so satisfying and peaceful listening to music and playing with beautiful things! I would love to find a way to add usefulness to something I find peaceful and beautiful (not that peace and beauty are without value in themselves of course!)
having not had one for more than a year, but I spent most of yesterday afternoon and last night in a freezing cold sweat watching my heart banging against my ribcage. None of my old coping strategies – warm bath, camomile tea, yoga, deep breathing etc even took the edge off it. Panic attacks are just about the scariest thing in the world.
on a wintry windswept island with my boyfriend recovering from the wedding and snuggling to keep warm and it was heaven. It was so cold I wore a hat, a soft fuzzy white one. I never wear hats…
And he thought I looked beautiful in it. He sees my inner girl even when I don’t.
it’s over and I didn’t fall down the stairs in my heels.
I’ve temporarily given Frida away for a fairy. She’s so beautiful. I love fairies :)
For one personal reason and another I kind of skipped that part of childhood where the Barbies, tutus, pink fluff, glitter, My Little Ponies, Carebears and sparkly hairclips happen. From a behind a fortress of army daks and books I tried to find it all ridiculous, and did a bit, but I also saw it as a kind of forbidden fruit – something for girls who had got something right that I had got wrong. I am more honest with myself about loving all that stuff now, and being sad to have missed out on it, and every now and then I buy things like sparkly hairclips (and never wear them).
Now, in my early thirties, I am being a bridesmaid next weekend. I generally avoid this kind of thing like the plague, but the bride is a very dear friend and asked me when it all seemed too far away to be worrying. And now I have been fitted with a sleeveless, strapless dress and high heels and I’m booked in this weekend with all the others for hair, make up and nails. (I have never worn a strapless anything, I can’t walk in high heels, I’ve never had my hair or nails done and I don’t wear make up at all!) The whole thing is so intimidating I can feel my heart pounding whenever I think of it.
I can’t laugh at it all, like I did when I was a child and the others had sparkly dresses and I wasn’t allowed anything like that. Now I feel uncomplicatedly inadequate. Not only should I be able to do this, I should actually be looking forward to and enjoying it!
Even though I am biologically all female, heterosexual, slim, long haired and softly spoken, I think the way I feel in these kinds of situations is very much like a man having to appear in drag. All those defenses which served me well and protected me from some horrible things while I was growing up can’t just be torn down for the weekend. I am sad :(
Virginia Woolf is a wonderful writer and a beautiful, beautiful woman, especially in this picture.
I had a hat and some tulips!
and my bath is one of those little ones that is almost square, and I had my legs sticking straight out and my feet against the wall just relaxing, and then I thought ‘The light is making my feet look really different from each other’. Then I took a closer look and HF my feet ARE really different from each other! There is a completely painless lump about the size of half a golf ball on my left foot! I hate my feet and wear woolly socks and never look at them so I have no idea how long it has been there. I can sort of feel it there now but I think that might be psychosomatic since I have been freaking myself out by googling foot lumps all evening.
I’m consistently amazed by how the tiniest things can seem to ruin my day. A slightly curt email, a snooty waiter, a mild criticism, a change of plans …just a whiff of one of these and suddenly everything I feel positive about seems to count for nothing.
Since the big things in my life at the moment are submitting assessment, looking for a job and being in a relationship with a wonderful man with an artistic temperament, I really have to get over this.
I need a strategy…
I’ve found in it some bits and pieces that I like, for example:
‘Forgiving is when you give up the hope that things could have been different’
‘Be the example for how the world is supposed to treat you.’
But I found the implication in the dvd that discrimination/abuse of homosexual people meant that they needed to change their attitudes was really scary. And I also worry about people’s expectations being raised so high by this kind of approach to life. And I struggle with the emphasis on materialism as well.
Anyone have any thoughts about the Secret one way or the other?