Earlier today I attended a charity coffee morning for breast cancer, organised by the beautiful S. I knew nearly everyone there; in fact I felt almost like a minor celebrity as most had heard the news that I had been given the all-clear. In the midst of all the conversation someone mentioned that I'd had a bad year and I kept quiet, as I completely disagreed. I did not voice my disagreement though as I thought it might make me sound like someone in terrible denial.
But it's true: I have not had a bad year. Challenging perhaps, but certainly not bad. I have learned so much about myself this year and I'd like to think that the diagnosis has made me a nicer and perhaps more tolerant person. Relationships have changed for the better and I am in absolute awe at how people have reacted so wonderfully to my cancer diagnosis.
Bizarrely, I do not regret this year and am even grateful for what it has brought me. Initially I cried a lot and questioned why I had to get this evil crab. But once I managed to put things in perspective, I almost felt as if the cancer was just a blip, an illness to get over, and that once I was cured things would go back to normal. After all, people go through similar challenges, but perhaps just not given the same attention as it does not carry the C word.
So last night, our family celebrated Thanksgiving. As a Filipino married to a Scot, our cultures do not normally practice this American holiday. But my Facebook wall was inundated with Thanksgiving posts by American friends, or friends who live across the pond, and I thought, why not? After all we, as a family, have much for which to be thankful. So before we sat down to dinner, we all said what we were grateful for this year, and I was very happy that my cure was only mentioned by myself and Alasdair. For it is just one of the many things for which we are thankful.
It's strange, but I think the only thing I could probably compare it to would be giving birth: it's no fun at all, and heck, does it hurt - but then in the end you're left with a beautiful baby. And the pain and inconvenience is forgotten by the wayside. With cancer I had to go through the pain and inconvenience of treatment, but I have come out the other side with a hopefully better me. The only difference is that there is absolutely NO WAY I would want to go through this again.