Summer is in the air. My fellow bloggers are writing about it.
Nancy’s Point writes about The summer that wasn’t…. I can so relate to that. My fifth summer now since diagnosis, missed the first one with surgery, the second one with side effects of treatment, the third with more surgery, and most of the fourth, last year, with depression. Ah, the long and winding road of breast cancer treatment.
Bringing up Goliath writes about an Old Acquaintance, enjoying laughter and looking forward to things. But scared to jinx it by writing about it. I feel the same. Worried that the ‘good’ feelings will slip away from me if I tell everyone about them.
Chemobabe has been on vacation with her family and writes about Shifting Time, about how tense things become for us all during treatment.
“Time changes shape. Horizons shorten. The Present Tense of crisis is fueled by adrenaline, colored by anxiety. There is so much to worry about. Health. Money. Health.”
I didn’t know the ‘Present Tense of crisis’ would last so long. But it has. I only recognise that it’s been so tense particularly now by the absence of it.
And both Katie at Uneasy Pink and Anna at The Cancer Culture Chronicles are having summer breaks and have suspended their blogs for a few weeks, although Anna has just resurfaced and posted an extremely personal piece about herself.
And it’s happened again. Happens every year, usually around July. A sense of profusion in plants and flowers. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. Walking to the allotment in the summer evening I am struck by it.
The red poppies on my neighbours plot are gorgeous. The day lilies have started their flowering, orange and showy. The phacelia is full of bees. Bee busy. Nigella, blue star-like flowers emerging. The jasmine is out, scrambling over the trellis and the clematis too, purple and gorgeous. The cucumber tendrils are perfect. And the pomegranate, not just one fruit, but six this year! The water lily opening in perfection, growing in a large bucket. Purple geraniums self-seeded everywhere on the path. And I didn’t do anything, they just come. Every year.
I’m recently back from a trip to the US; the tedium of travel that I dislike so much, security, passports and jetlag. But doing ordinary summer things with a friend. Collecting stones on beaches, eating ice cream, swimming in the sea. You know, ‘normal’ holiday stuff. Giggling like school girls, taking a trip to New York Botanic Garden. The heat and the noise of the subway, my first time in New York City. Shopping together. Trying out the whole range of a new line of chocolate. Cooking together. Picnics and pizza. Laughing. Sunshine. Fun. ‘This is what we should blog about,’ we say. Easy. Doing ordinary things. The luxury of ordinary. I appreciate it so much.
I feel the smell in the air. It’s camping season. Reminds me. Dry. Tent. Grass. Flip flops. A feeling of letting go, of summer, of camping, picnics, of not worrying… or trying not to. Me and Ronnie dancing in the living room and laughing so much I cried in sheer joy. Sheer joy. I feel greedy for this. I want to snatch it and keep it. Forever.
And then a routine appointment with one of my cancer doctors last week, although I wish of course that I did not have routine appointments with a cancer doctor. That even though they are less they still come round quickly. He says that we can think about ending my treatment next June, that it will five years since we started the adjuvant treatment. Five years. Stuck on my eyes. He says there is no evidence of disease. Oh, that I could dare to allow myself a sense of safety, of feeling glad that treatment will end for me. A sense of ‘end’, a break, a finish, some space from ‘it’. I didn’t know that breast cancer would steal so much of my life. And this signals a possible pause, a break. A grasp of peace? Maybe?
As I walk home from the allotment I am accompanied by Elton John and Leon Russell happily singing ‘Gone to Shilo’ from The Union. The gospel choir walks behind me. Children play in the park. Profusion is everywhere.
Ah yes, this is what being alive feels like. More of that please.