Looking at the past, again

This week I’m digging out my old diary (which is buried in one of my fifteen moving boxes and I don’t know which box it is in) in order to travel back in time. Where to? Well, to the day of diagnosis. Again.

You might think I’m a sucker for punishment, the way I’ve been continuing my blogging in regards to cancer – cause every time I have to remember cancer, there’s a little pinch on the side saying, “That was pure and total shit, Catherine. Remember?” And honestly in many ways I’d rather forget.

But when it comes to such a life-altering experience, to forget completely is 1) impossible and 2) possibly equivalent to denial.

Plus, there are too many reminders in life that cancer exists. Too many people die. Too many people suffer. Too many people are diagnosed. And a lot of people run around in pink this time of year raising money to end breast cancer, which I appreciate, but which also serves as a steady reminder that breast cancer happens, and, oh yeah, it happened to me.

But I’m not complaining – just trying to explain why when people ask me to recollect what it was like, I don’t just say, “no way, Hose,” and go find a pile of sand for my head to fit under.

Next week on the 19th of October I’ll be going to Orillia to give a talk for a palliative care conference. It’s slightly daunting. I feel like I should approach this conference with my fingers crossed and held out for protection – palliative care is not for me or my future, and there’s a little intimidation when being around someone who cares for those who are dying.

Because I am not dying.

Okay, okay, we’re all dying. But I am not dying.

You know what I mean? And I really don’t want to face that situation until I’m good and old and maybe around the age of 89, so long as I can still dance.

But this talk I’ll be giving focuses on that moment of diagnosis – that sudden shocking change. And I think it’s an important moment to reflect upon, because in that second, the second reality sinks in, so many things happen so fast – and while I appear to be just a slobbering mess of a woman who can’t stop crying, really I’m starting my journey (my battle) and everything has just shifted in my life. It’s immense. And I guess that’s what I ought to get across to the lovely people who will be listening next week. That and what happens next. Not in terms of the ‘process’ though that is huge, but more in the emotional challenge, and how life itself must be reshaped.

Okay, okay. I’m just procrastinating now. Time to go and shape this talk, and dig through those boxes for my journal. There’s some hard, never-shared stuff in there. But it’s an essential reminder. And I guess (and this is a good thing, cause lately I haven’t though about cancer 24/7, which I like very much), I guess I need a little reminding.

So – here we go. Into the boxes.

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