Snakes and ladders

2 years ago todayish sitting in front of my oncologist (the Cheshire cat) I remember with sickening clarity the graph he drew of my likely relapse probabilities over the next 5 years before I could even begin to think of myself as being cured.  John thinks my obsession with knowing EVERYTHING is KERAZZY and he might have a valid point.  But if there is anything I can get out of the way with a spot of pre worrying or pre grieving than I feel slightly more prepared to put back on my fighting face and not scare my children any more than they already have been.  It saves me time processing stuff later on. I am sure the women are nodding enthusiastically at this point.

Anyway this graph business (where the Y axis represented the statistical probability and the x axis represented the years 1-5), looked a little like a swallow dive for the first two years at the top of the board followed by steep dive, the sort where you might be about to belly flop.  For the first 2 years. But instead of belly flopping you sort of hover above the length of the pool for the next 3 years gradually dropping (hopefully elegantly) into the water and of course not going under, that’s the trick.

So the game I soon realised was to get to the 2 year mark without falling down any more snakes. (Sorry we are not sticking to the same analogies, keep up please, you haven’t had wine yet so you have no excuse!)  I rolled this dice 4 years ago and after climbing a couple of ladders, took a tumble down a nasty little serpent and ended up right back to the start again.  Clock reset.  Year 2013.

But now fast forward 2 years and we are in 2015 and I have just passed the 2 year mark with a clear MRI scan on the chopped liver.  A far cry away from the 7% survival statistics I accidently on purpose saw on the internet of scary things some years ago. And everything has suddenly shifted for me.  I really think I can do this.  But it is not me doing this.  It is no more ‘me’ doing this than it is me doing the lovely weather we are having right now.

Every view from the top of the ladder is tempered with a low from those of my friends who are slipping down the snakes.  And nothing I am doing is any different.  That is the random and utterly cruel nature of this disease.  But I do know that I am not doing this alone and any strength I have strung together over the last few years has been the product of my faith, my family and my friends. And long may it continue.

Life for me today is very beautiful and I am eternally thankful x

Happy days

Happy days

5 thoughts on “Snakes and ladders

  1. Hi Rachel – remember me, I interviewed you about the C-List for the Press Association? So glad you’re doing well – and I totally get where you’re coming from when you say it’s not you doing it, it’s just random. When I survived my car crash people kept saying I was brave, a fighter ‘n all that. But no, I was just lucky that the brain injury wasn’t anywhere really bad etc etc, and I had good docs, & a great family, just like you. The positive statistics in the bowel cancer survival rates have to stem from real people, and clearly one of them is you. Hurray! Lisa Salmon xx

  2. Hi Rachel

    As ever , you are looking fabulous !

    Keep on climbing , and , when we are up and running , come and see us in the Dales …and , speaking of water , this us my third week without the same . Our friendly farmer is going to dig us in a new tank , hopefully very soon . Not a good scenario , especially on the hottest day last week !

    Love to you and yours


  3. I just picked up my copy of C-List from Waterstones (they had to send for it and said it was the last one! Well done you!!) to read in the South of France. Don’t say I never take you anywhere nice! Great to hear you sounding so upbeat and positive. I’ll take inspiration from that. Here’s to August – so much cooler than June! 😉 xx

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