30th March 2021
Good news…reason to celebrate
I had my first surveillance scope since my diagnosis, yesterday. Thankfully it was clear. Big relief. Good news. Great news. Obviously, it is better than the alternative, but…
“Good news” is, I think, complicated.
Good news is good news…for now. I can feel safe in the knowledge that for the next 6 months or maybe a year, my bowel is clear of polyps or signs of recurrence. I can rest assured that “my last scope was clear”, and that was “only x no of months ago”. But soon enough, that knot of worry will start to tighten again – I will no longer be reassured by that “recent” interval.
It comes back to uncertainty. Bad news is awful, but in a perverse way, I wonder if it is sometimes easier to deal with, given its “certainty”? You have a plan and you crack on with it. Good news is uncertain. Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t want bad news.
Being so prepared for bad news, the unexpected good news leaves me floundering somewhat.
I can’t completely share the unbridled joy and optimism of others when I tell them the news, and it is so difficult explaining to them why I am hesitant. I feel a huge sense of guilt for not being overjoyed. For not sharing their seeming certainty that everything is going to be ok.
I wish I could.
It’s hard to not come across as ungrateful – I am incredibly grateful, but the riding of this emotional rollercoaster of ever rising and diminishing anxiety – of going from blood test to blood test, scan to scan, scope to scope, is utterly exhausting. I fear this is how it is going to be for the next 4 years, or however long my surveillance is for.
Positivity vs pragmatism…a fine balance
I am fully aware of the power of positive thinking. I like to think I have always been a positive person. But balancing positive thinking with pragmatism in this case is so very challenging. To convince myself everything is going to be ok leaves me so vulnerable. I have to hold back. I think it is in part self-protection. As I’ve mentioned before, I can’t completely commit myself to “no more cancer” because I just don’t think I could emotionally deal with the eventuality of recurrence or metastasis if I do. Round one left me utterly broken.
I’m still clutching the “emergency box of emotional readiness for a bad outcome” . I just can’t tape it up and put it in the corner yet. I’ve been carrying it for more than a year now and my arms are so very tired from holding it.
I am still in that hypervigilant state, I’m ready for a second onslaught, it didn’t come yesterday and while that gives me a little breathing space, I can’t allow myself to stand down. Not yet.
I don’t think the uncertainty is getting any easier to deal with, but life goes on, and all the joy that comes with it. Each and every day.
I’ll enjoy this reprieve, for now.