Olivia Rose Smith

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

You are in complete remission Olivia

Olivia, we’ll see you now… Sorry about the wait. Thats okay, I said, you should be, I thought. Hi Olivia, nice to meet you, said the consultant. For god sake, another new face, this means starting from the beginning everytime. So where exactly is the cancer? Can I examine you? Does this hurt? Checks neck, armpits, groin, ankles, stomach, listens to breathing, loud cough for me Olivia and so it goes on. So Olivia you must be planning your life after now? Mum asks when the final scan will be… (The scan we have pin pointed in our mind to determine whether I am cancer free or not.) Well it says here you are in complete remission Olivia. I nodded, as if I knew that all along. I didn’t. So I wouldn't be too worried about that scan as there is a very low chance anything will have changed.

 I hadn't heard those words before, the words I sit and dreamt of daily. My last scan was months ago. I had been in remission for months, I’m sure it had been discussed in meetings among consultants and nurses, the table between them knew, the computer knew, the machine that did my scan knew, god damnit my paper file of notes which sit in front of me every week knew, but clearly I missed the memo…

Life is weird like that. Often find that the big moments we anticipate tralaa to happen are actually quite soft and whispery. I got home and I put the ‘news’ on Instagram and I was inundated with likes, comments, messages, texts, phone calls and knocks on the door congratulating me of this amazing news. I felt like SUCH a phoney, not only was I not celebrating the good news but I had been in remission for months and had only just relieved everyone now. 

As much as it is a relief to know I am in remission, there are so many feelings which come along with it. And there are so many feelings that come with getting to the end of treatment. For me, those have come at the same time so the past few weeks have been overwhelming to say the least.

One of the main things is looking back at what you have been through and thinking WHAT THE Ffffff just happened... There isn't a minute, second or hour, when you are diagnosed, where you are left to come to terms with whats happened. It is mission get started with treatment, and once thats underway it is all about learning to cope with the side effects. So for me, I am only just starting to think about and talk about what has actually happened. Personally, this involves acceptance that there is a chance that the cancer could come back, and learning to live with that anxiety.

Being told that there is a slim chance it will ever come back by the doctors doesn't put this anxiety to bed for me, because there was also a slim chance this was actually cancer BUT they just wanted to eliminate it, and I wouldn't have cancer because I'm me, I'm normal, I'm healthy, I'm normal, I'm fit, I'm normal, I'm young, I'm normal, and this wouldn't happen to ME. But I did. And I'm now a nutter, by the way. But how can I trust my body now? Especially now that I'm not filling it with the anti cancer poison. It feels like I'm trusting the garden not to grow weeds again because I pulled them out once, and I sprayed a bit of extra weed killer.

What I am trying to say is, yes the treatment is over, and I feel like I have just woken up from a terrible, terrible nightmare. But the battle is far from won. I still have a hell of a lot of fighting left to do, I'm not done yet. I will win this fight thats going on in my head. Sorry, cancer. You're one short to your dinner party this evening.

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