I realise that my poor blog gets pretty neglected when everything is fine. The urge to write, the urge to explain and to untangle the mess in my head is directly related to how all consuming my ‘adventure with melanoma’ is at the time. So when I go quiet and forget to post it’s generally because everything is ticking along pretty well and that’s certainly been the case for the last month or two. The good results of my last scan back in October have allowed me to just be as normal as I ever can be. The hospital appointments continue, the fatigue from Pembro continues but so does life and Christmas and the run up to Christmas has been very lovely. I baked and baked and baked throughout November and December and loved not just the baking but also the lists and the planning and the sense of purpose. It’s been a long time since working out a baking schedule interrupted my sleep rather than the paralysing fear about what the damn cancer was up to and it felt really normal and really good. As I’ve often said in this blog – normal is very underrated. I really miss it and on the occasions when I feel close to it again I’ve learnt to embrace and acknowledge it.
At the end of November I had my third trip to the MPNE workshop in Krusenberg, Sweden. The purpose of the workshop was to apply business models to patient advocacy and to develop strategies for lean advocacy. The work was really interesting and productive the hotel, as always was lovely – beautiful setting and seriously delicious food, but the best bit for me is the people. It was really lovely to see my friends and it just feels very right and very reassuring to be around other people who also live melanoma. They understand without needing to explain that being diagnosed with melanoma and particularly being diagnosed with stage IV melanoma is something you think about every minute of every day but being around other people in the same situation makes me feel totally normal and that’s a very good feeling.
As well as the baking and the trip to Sweden the last few weeks have also been filled with preparing for Christmas and I really do love it. I feel phenomenally lucky and grateful to be experiencing my 5th Christmas after my stage IV diagnosis and having Andy and the boys around makes this time of year particularly special. We’ve managed to achieve a perfect balance of catching up with friends and lots of time, just the four of us, being lazy and hanging out together. It’s been a very perfect Christmas and it finished with a very perfect New Years Eve with good friends.
So despite today being January 1st I’m determined to stay in the Christmas bubble until at least the 4th when Andy and Oscar return to work and school. January is not my favourite month at the best of times but this one will be throwing a scan my way in just a couple of weeks and that’s a pretty daunting way to start a new year. Once the scan is done and depending upon the results I need to make some plans as at the moment my diary is very clear and I feel quite frightened about what to expect from 2018. As always, I know how extraordinary it is that I’m here at the start of yet another ‘impossible’ year and I’m obviously extremely grateful but living in a permanent state of limbo is pretty challenging. So before I descend in to doom and January gloom instead I shall think about the whole load of lovely things that filled 2017 and how incredibly happy I am to have been there to experience them. A very happy and healthy 2018 to everyone.