So while I was sat around my Dads table a couple of weeks ago we were chortling at some of the online dating stories that were more suitable for a parent, daughter exchange, and he, not so kindly, commented that they would make far more interesting reading than some of my recovery musings. So here are a few, and may my Dad never see this!
I was lucky enough to attend a cancer charities’ living well course a few days ago and its holistic approach to mind, body and soul has left me feeling empowered and looking ahead in a brighter way than I have for some time. It is building on my more recent ability to say NO. More practice required but I felt that I could maybe share some of the situations I have got myself into, in relation, a little, to where I was with my treatment. There was also someone I met on my days away who I feel may relate, perhaps, to what I am saying.
This course looked at your whole being. We ate well, were not allowed even a sniff of coffee or a glass of wine, there was various kinds of meditation, looking at immune system boosting lifestyles, support networks, exercise habits (ok, this one I had nailed!), and the like.
A slow breathing, authentic connection with your body, mind and soul.
Not mentioning the love shared between the members of the group. Giving mutual support with no comparisons of who had the rougher deal, despite some members being incredibly sick.
Diagnosis – A time for less sensible decisions:
So just after diagnosis, I was lucky enough to have a hotel booked and paid for in Brighton as I was supposed to be doing the marathon there. Now the marathon at this time was out of reach, but all I needed was a partner in crime to go and make the most of this boy free weekend in a different party town. I found someone online; we had known each other a whole four days.
Now obviously this could have been a disaster, but even typing this I am smiling…
We had a ball! I don’t think I had allowed myself to dance anywhere, but my own kitchen for the past fifteen years. It is a shame that it takes something as drastic as a cancer diagnosis to give you the permission for a little silliness. I have some vague, happy memory of being on a table, vodka in hand (I never drink vodka, what was that about?) in a gay bar at three in the morning, dancing like my life depended on it. Maybe it wasn’t dignified, but my, it was FUN. The rest of the weekend continued in a similar debauched style. We weren’t meant to be a couple, but we are still great friends and mutual support.
More sinister decisions:
After the initial fear euphoria wore off, there was a more sinister desperation that settled upon me. A quick, get out there, before this body is mutilated and spoilt. During this time I attracted a far different calibre of anecdotal company.
To my friend who is in this place currently, take heed, and listen to that inner warning voice.
Everything about this fella was setting off those nagging doubts in the back of my head, but the fact that he was a physiotherapist somehow made me think it would be alright. He kept on and on, that he really should come and see me at home. He knew my situation and the more cynical among you will appreciate that there is someone to prey upon you, for their own gains, in any situation.
So against my better judgement, I agreed to let this total stranger come to my home…….he was a physiotherapist after all.
I answered the door to this six-foot tall, middle-aged man and let him into my hall.
Within ten minutes he had his trousers around his knees and was begging for a blow job!
Maybe I am a prude, but in the circles I have socialised in thus far, this is not considered normal behaviour. I did get him out of the door, but I am not going to tell you how today. The bloody bloke lives in the little town I live in! Occasionally I see him in Waitrose, but I pretend I don’t recognise him, fighting the overwhelming nausea. He still has this rather disturbing tremor and nervous tension about him, so I can only assume that this approach is not working for him so well.
There was also a biker who thought it was a good idea to pop around at midnight. Sure he just wanted to see if I was asleep, or perhaps check if my door was locked? Didn’t deal so well with that situation, but always was a sucker for long leather clad legs and a fat back tyre. The trick is to never let it happen again.
………………..Outward breath, be kind to yourself and feed that courage for the “no”.
The fixed sympathy face:
More recently there was an articulate fellow who I agreed to meet for supper. The moment I saw him get out of the car wearing a bum bag and sandals my heart sank. Then there is that feeling of, oh damn, I’m wasting precious boy free time on this when I could be on my own washing the kitchen floor. The evening tested my sympathetic face, gobbling my food in record speed, whilst listening to the restraining order, which of course he was victim to and had no part in the creation of. He managed the whole story with a straight face.
I have met others like this, perfectly alright people (without restraining orders) who spend the whole evening telling you all about the ex-wife that they are clearly still in love with, or the precious Penelope, the daughter so close to divinity that to attempt to compete with on any level, even just for enough time for dinner once a month, would be futile. Discounting the squandered evening though, these situations make me think, wow!, with all I have being thrown at me just now, I am really coping quite well. I can still be half entertaining company, and it could be worse…………I could be them, with their outlook, floundering in the past and the negativity.
There was a probation officer with a voice like velvet who talked and talked. He too kept insisting that he came to my house, but when I complained and suggested that he only wanted to come to my house for one thing, he was quite indignant with protestations that he was “prepared to take you for a drink first”. Valuing myself more, the offer of a luke warm Coca Cola from the pump, tempting though it was, didn’t clinch it. I have whispered in the ear of the odd girlfriend what he wanted to do to me, and watched them recoil! Didn’t say no as quickly or as succinctly as I should have, but I did say it and no harm was done.
But I do not want you to think that it has all been negative. There have been some lovely, bright interesting people too. Being new to the area I have been introduced to live music, some great food and made new friends, well a couple, and they were worth it. Some interesting evenings were had, even if they stood alone and were never to be repeated. I conducted myself well (at least for some of them), had the courage to walk into a room alone to meet a stranger with a wig on, and at no point ripped it off, whilst screaming “so what’s bloody well spoiling your day?”
This weekend just gone there was an incredibly promising first date. Sadly, further along in the second date, it resulted in sitting on a sofa in front of an incredibly large, loud TV set, after a long drive, sat next to a chap in a camouflage onesie with a curry on my lap. If this is someone pulling out all the stops to impress, then I don’t think I will hang on for a third meeting and maybe just smile, nod and back away.
What is so very lovely about yet another fairly dreadful encounter is that this time, I am finally beginning to realise for myself that I am quite a sexy, bright girl and worthy of so much better. So this one didn’t work out, and maybe there are a few more frogs to kiss yet, but it will be ok. I can manage on my own. Am finally well enough to fill in the spaces of my life to make it a full one.
At last the future is beginning to feel just a little bit exciting. Hanging on tenaciously to the positivity left behind by the living well with cancer course, making new habits and finding the courage to protect myself, and do what works for me…..
………………changing breath xx