The last chapter

Artwork and imagination courtesy of my bro

So we have established I’m a procrastinator. An overthinker. The last post pointed to a further update and then resolutely stayed silent.

This is now the last blog I will write on

Which means this is impossibly hard to get right. I’m genuinely out of ‘recognisable’ vocabulary, unable to find any word which manages to combine both insane happiness and responsibility.

First for the insanely happy bit. My nearest & dearest know, but I’ve taken some time to process it in written form. So here goes.

November 27th. Sitting in the waiting room on scan result day, hearing my previous surname (through a lack of trust in NHS record keeping, or a desire not to have my old cancerous bits leak into my new ‘surnamed’ me), the outstretched hand, the impenetrable expression, the motioning to the 2 upright seats positioned next to his rotating seat, and in eyeline of the scrambled, occasional seat for the nurse in the corner. The screen angled just enough for me to see, but not enough for me to read. The huge file on the desk starving the room of oxygen and time hanging weightlessly on a thread.

This place holds so much history. 7 years to be precise.

Where my father had first accompanied me, holding his finger over the little recording device on that very first slapathon that was treatment option day. Where my brother had once taken my place when I had been too terrified to hear out loud the sentence I already knew was coming. And where John and I now held our hands and breath.

And here it was finally.

“Your scans are excellent. I now consider after 5 years with no further relapses that you are cured from stage 4 bowel cancer. As you know, this is very good news. Please put all this behind you and go and live your life”

Impossible happiness and responsibility condensed into one sentence.

I can not and will never know why me and why not them. There have been so many.

So many people who prayed and are praying for a fraction of the things and time I will never again take for granted.

I’ve prayed, lots. And given thanks lots. As have so many others, which is incredibly humbling. Thank you just falls hopelessly short. And the list is too long. I’m getting used to this feeling of indebtedness. To God first and foremost. To my dearest family. To all my surgeons. My oncologist. My doctor. My dear friends. And my supportive social media family.

And so onto the harder bit, the responsibility.

Now I have moved back considerably from the edge of the precipice I owe it to those still hanging on and those gone, to do something good and valuable with my time.

I am going to have to think about what this means. I don’t have the luxury of wallowing. I am ashamed to be anything other than grateful. In some ways facing death was an amazing gift. It got my attention and turned it towards things that were more important and I don’t want to loose that feeling.

You know when you get an unexpected Christmas gift of money and before long it’s absorbed into your bank account and leaves no trace of where it went. Well, I’m scared of that. So I’m putting it out there now, publicly to stop me falling back into the same old, same old.

I understand the need to do something meaningful with all this. But I’m not at all sure what that is yet. But if anyone has suggestions, wants to join me, I’m really open to anything! Please do get in touch.

In the meantime, I probably need to be a bit more financially savvy as my son would say.

Living on borrowed time was expensive. Finding out I’m now cured has also been expensive!

Thank you all for your love and support and God bless anyone facing or living with cancer in 2019.

14 thoughts on “The last chapter

  1. Well not for the first time I shed tears reading this… difference being these are tears of happiness. Thanks for the blog… and Thankyou for fighting so hard to snatch victory from the grips of that dreadful disease. You deserve the win. Lots of love, x

  2. Oh Rach I am a little lost for words right now, I am beyond ecstaticly happy to hear this for you and your family. But also very sad for those that haven’t made it. Your are the one of the strongest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Don’t stop being awesome. Lots of love xx

  3. Dear Rachel
    I cannot tell you how happy I was for you when the letter came through to your general surgeon (Mr H). Tears sprung to my eyes of joy. You have been through so much and deserve every bit of happiness. Go and life the rest of your life to the full. Will be in touch shortly. All my fondest love

    • Lesley, I can’t thank you and Mr H enough. You’ve been through every step and been such a support and dear friend, even when you’re going through such hard times yourself. And Mr H, well, you know what I think of him, legend. I know I’m in the very best of hands. Much love to you too and speak soonxx

  4. That’s the way to bring in the new year! What terrific news. I just read this to Katie and we are both delighted for you. Difficult to imagine how it must feel. We’ve got plenty of time to have that glass of wine now!
    Have a great 2019 and beyond.
    Grant xx

  5. Rachel
    You cannot begin to imagine how happy I am for you and for all of your beautiful family . I have sat where you have sat , in that hospital chair , have lain in that hospital bed unable to think past the next minute , full of fear . Have lost friends to the foe we have both faced . I rejoice today at this fantastic news , and send my love for this , the happiest of Happy New Years , with the promise of many more to come

    God bless
    And Go Girl !
    Let me know what crazy venture comes next
    And come and see us in Yorkshire ( it really IS Gods Own County )

    Love love love
    Kathy and Ian xxxxxx

  6. Rachel
    I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am for you and your beautiful family .
    I have sat in a waiting room , and in the consulting room , full or anxiety . I have lain in that hospital bed , unable to think beyond the next second . Ave lost friends and loved ones to that terrible foe we have both battled .

    So I wish you and yours the Happiest of New Years today , and far into the future where you will continue to shine so brightly .

    God Bless you all , and keep me posted on whatever crazy venture comes next
    And remember , there is always a welcome here in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales ( which really IS Gods Own County !! )

    Love love love

    Kathy and Ian xxxxx

    • Ha Rachel
      You can see I am still Caro at the old techno

      So Crap I posted twice ! ( apologies to Gerard Kenny )

      Some sentiment , though , and well worth repeating !!

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