Just a quickie tonight. I’m sitting in the executive lounge at Ottawa international Airport (fancy stuff) and waiting for my flight to board. Mom and Dad dropped me off just minutes ago, which is always hard and always tearful, and now they must be navigating the parking payment system. I suppose it means you have a good parent-child relationship if saying goodbye never gets easier. Life has treated me very well – despite whatever ups and downs are served, I’ve always been surrounded by love.
Okay, time to board. Thanks for keeping me company. It’s time to fly home.
(PS – this post will be posted after I arrive , because otherwise I have to pay for the wi-fi, and that’s not cool.)
So today I visited with my oldest friend. She and I have known each other since we were about three years old. Having lived on the same street for over twenty five years, it’s easy to keep in touch. Sure, we’ve both now moved away from the area – but so long as our parents remain here, our roots stay connected.
Anyhow, she and I had a nice outing which involved Starbucks –pumpkin spiced latte, hello! – followed by some Walmart browsing (flash back to age ten and us walking to the Hazeldean Mall for a first sans-parent shopping spree. We went to Zellers and tried on some mini-skirts, followed by the dollar bin where I bought cheap florescent red lipstick), and after Walmart she dropped me off at her house (instead of mine) so I could take my well-loved, fondly remembered ‘walk down the street’.
Walk down the street: How many times have I strolled home along this road? Many. Countless. Each time with my head in the clouds and some stupid grin on my face. Who knows why it makes me so happy. Maybe because of the houses.
Here is the two story red brick; that women in the window had breast cancer but it’s not like I’m going to ring her doorbell. Further along is the home of my first crush, another two story; I used to bike by his house and hope that he’d be watching. And that home with the tree fort just by the path, they had a dog who kept getting loose. Over there with the fancy garden and dark windows, the dad here once gave me a music box and I still have it today (unfortunately, the mechanism broke). Next is the place with those little blond girls, and beside it the house of our neighbours, who always have a wine opener when we need one. And there is my house, single story – the place where so much has happened. It’s like being on a game show of ‘this is your life’ except it’s not only my life, it’s my community – these people are part of me in some weird way that almost no longer seems relevant, and yet is unforgettable. I love walking down this street. It always feels good.
Funny, eh. I look at the houses and the paintwork and the driveways and the snow soaked lawns . . . but forget home renovations, it’s the feelings that impress me – I feel the memories. Maybe that’s why I smile.
Today I said goodbye to the UK chemotherapy ward. This was my last chemo treatment in England, and now (2 more left) it’s all about Canada. My doctor was thanked (I’ll see him again in about 18 weeks), the chemo coordinator hugged, and a Christmas card was given to the nurses. Job done. 🙂
Last June I longed for this moment – these moments – but found it difficult to imagine time would pass. Everything was overwhelming, yet not tangible; goals were blurry shapes in the distance. But guess what? This is real. Soon chemo finishes and we’ll move forward to the next phases: radiation and hormone therapy.
The doctors like to warn me that despite chemotherapy being over, I’ll still likely feel its effects for about six months. Maybe my emotions will go bananas, maybe like treatment I’ll be left exhausted, maybe I’ll still get tree trunk legs and tingle toes and crazy hot flashes . . . maybe I’ll recover beautifully. Won’t know till we get there.
In the meantime I’m thankful for the people in England who have supported me, fed me, encouraged me, humoured me, helped me, entertained me (all those cups of tea!). You’ve seriously made a difference in my life; these past six months could have been shit, but they weren’t and that’s all down to support.
Of course that support goes beyond UK borders, but next week begins a holiday in Canada – 2010 may keep its Cancer Catherine, because 2011 starts with a cancer-free me. England will be a fresh start when I get back (with new treatment), we’ll have overcome a lot of crap. Therefore my Southampton friends and hospital ought to be honoured. Happy Almost New Year everyone!
Fourteen chemotherapy treatments down. Two more to go.
I’ll write about radiotherapy this weekend, and maybe some other stuff too 🙂 but in a seperate post.