Four years ago today, I went from ‘woman with lump who has had a whole lot of needles and scans for what she hopes is no reason’ to ‘pre-operative breast cancer patient’ in the time that it takes to knot a headscarf.
Today, I write this sitting in my studio, and wondering what to say in this blog post.
It would be relatively easy to talk about the unexpected joys that my dance has cancer has brought me: my new home, my new career, my family and friends who have shown themselves as solid as marble, as warm as morning tea.
I could talk about how my internal landscape has changed. How I’m more self-aware, more likely to look after my body and my heart, more aware of my limitations, and probably all the happier for being more careful with my limited time in the world.
I could talk about the bits of me that were very nearly broken by cancer treatment, and the pieces of emotional fallout that keep on breaking my heart.
I could talk about all of those things, and end by saying something that I’ve said before: that, on balance, cancer has given me more than it’s taken from me, and although that doesn’t mean that I would choose it, I’m not sure I would love my life the way that I do now had cancer not intervened.
I could write of dragons and rainbows.
But today, I don’t want to make a pattern, or a point. I want to say just this: that in the last four years I have learned how strange, sad, satisfying and surprising life can be.
And that the thing I remember most about that day four years ago is Alan holding my hand very, very tightly. If you ever have the chance to hold someone’s hand very, very tightly, please do it. You will make a world of difference.