Latest step-by-step update: Yeh! All good. Radiotherapy over. Latest mammogram negative (good thing, remember?). Visit to oncologist - no more treatments. Visit to breast surgeon – tick.
The unexpectedly elusive lump (see LWL 2) was never actually found but those who understand these things agree that whatever it was must surely have been totally eliminated by those radiation rays. Surely. As it happens, as with the ‘step by step’ mantra, the ‘unexpectedly elusive’ seems to have become somewhat of a theme during this dance. The elusive friend (the one who you thought was one of your very best friends but sort of disappeared when the going got tough – well at least in comparison to members of the Ladies Who Lumpect club), the elusive answer as to whether you ever really get rid of breast cancer or is it always lurking round the corner ready to pounce again when you at least expect it, the elusive feeling of 'I'm trying not to be selfish especially when everyone is always doing their best to make sure I'm okay' when my 2 daughters and semi-adopted daughter have all gone off shopping leaving me all on my lonesome and there is the forever elusive ‘when things get back to normal again’.
I will expand slightly on just one of these ‘unexpectedly elusives’. The unexpectedly elusive friend. (Midlife said ‘vent’ so I’m venting!)
In my first ‘’story’’ (Ladies Who Lumpect) I waxed lyrical about the camaraderie between all my 1 in 7s as well as the unmitigated support of friends and family. A million thanks to everyone. Old friends from the past have re-appeared, newer friends are suddenly always around and all-time friends are simply there non-stop – be it via phone, texting, email, personal facebook messages, home visits, hospital visits or a grand mix of the afore-mentioned. By non-stop I mean if not every 2 days, then daily or even twice daily. Certainly not elusive, that is, apart from one all-time ‘friend’ from the old country. A ‘best’ friend since we were teenagers.
We had married within a year of each other, ditto re: having kids. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that although we lived in different towns we more or less shared the last 30+ years. Nowadays she lives only a 40 minute drive away, doesn’t work, has time and a car on her hands, a healthy relationship with husband and grown up children, financial independence and the means to go wherever she likes, whenever.
Yet she suddenly became unexpectedly elusive, every now and then showing a deep interest in all the intricate details but then forgetting to phone for what seemed like weeks compared to everyone else’s phone calls, despite hints from my loving hubby and even one sarcastic txt msg from yours truly after being somewhat taken aback when she said that she might visit when she had “nothing else on”. I was totally devastated when, in response to my request for an explanation (in the form of a suggestion that we ‘’talk’’), she explained that she cannot cope with having me in her life anymore because I am unpredictable.
My immediate gut reaction, you ask? Well after recoiling from the kick, I yelled silently: “I am the one with cancer and yet you whinge that you can’t cope with your life (if I am in it).” What could I say in my defence? That I am a ‘little’ tense? – definitely; anxious? – undoubtedly; emotional? – certainly; selfish? - quite probably; but ‘unpredictable’? Maybe so. But what could actually be more predictable than unpredictable behavior in someone diagnosed with breast cancer (especially someone who had just been told that her extra lump is still lost and a 3rd op might be on the cards)? So I said nothing. I walked away. Out of the gates of the cemetery where we had met by chance to attend the memorial service for a mutual friend, exactly 30 days after he had died of cancer.
500 fantastic deeds performed by a whole host of fantastic friends and family should outweigh one shameful deed – so why does this still lie so heavy on my heart? It’s the answer to that question that still eludes me.
Next oncologist’s check up – in 3 months time. Current issues on the agenda - step-by-step back to normality for the rest of the family, while for me it’s step-by-step to building a new normality, a normality whose identity I am still seeking. Normality – a new dance.