September used to be one of my favourite months – I liked going to back to school, I liked the slow shift from summer to autumn and I quite liked having my birthday at the end of the month. Four years ago in September I ended up having the axillary dissection operation (armpit surgery) but that didn’t disrupt my happiness with the month but September 2013 really did. This year as it got closer and closer to the boys returning to school, as the mornings felt a little cooler and the evenings a little darker I realised that I was beginning to get very anxious. It’s hardly surprising as September 2013 was dreadful; my back hurt, I wasn’t hungry and deep down I knew I was in terrible trouble and when I met with my doctor on September 24th she confirmed that my gut feeling was correct. My life changed that day. I’ve described the awfulness of it in other posts so I’m not going to go there again but suffice it to say I’m very scarred by the horror of that day and the month that I have always loved has lost it’s loveliness.
As much as I wanted to stop my boys going back to school, as having that home meant that technically it was still the summer, I thought I might get into dreadful trouble and so I’ve had to succumb. To make things worse, I haven’t been feeling brilliant; my insomnia is troublesome, I’ve been very headache-y and I have had rather a lot of stomach aches and so it’s very hard not to assume that safe limbo I’ve been living in is about to crumble. However, when I feel calm and rational I can see that my sleep is often erratic, it has been since I was a teenager, the headaches are almost certainly related to the tension (and lack of sleep) and the stomach ache is very likely caused by the iron supplements I’ve started taking. It’s very easy to be rational in the clear light of day but so much harder in the middle of the night. My anxiety did at least push me to go and get my 6 weekly bloods done at The Marsden and thankfully they were fine – usually this would assuage my worries but my anxiety has been far worse than usual and the clear bloods didn’t provide the hoped-for reassurance.
However, as the days tick on, I am calming down. The headaches have stopped, the sleep is a little better and I gave up on the dastardly iron pills as really, life is too short! I’ve also stopped giving myself such a hard time about the fact that I’m struggling at the moment. I’m trying to embrace this complicated month and have accepted that it is just difficult and as long as I acknowledge that – it’s probably OK.
I had been puzzled that this September has felt so much harder than last September but I think that’s because I’m approaching two years since the terrible diagnosis day. Dr Doom, as I shall now refer to her, had said I had months not years and so I know that without any doubt by still being here I’ve defied her clinical expectation. Alarmingly, how it feels to me, is that I’m pushing my luck. One year was always possible but two really wasn’t and so September 24th continues to loom large and if the magic drugs keep working and I’m still here next year or possible even the year after – that feeling is only going to worsen. Hopefully it’ll just be confined to a few weeks in September as I can see that it’s a total waste of life to spend too long dwelling on the miserable stuff. Only another 13 days until 24th – hopefully the foreboding black cloud above my head will disappear then… I’m very hopeful that it will.