The last chapter

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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 bananagiraffes.com.

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.

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