It’s been a lovely weekend – my brother is getting married in August & he based himself & a number of his friends at my house for his stag do which included paintballing & a Hawaiian themed night out! My Dan was absolutely thrilled to go on his first “stag” at the age of 10, participated very enthusiastically in the paintballing & cost me an absolute fortune on paintballs in the process ….
When we arrived at the paintballing centre I had to fill out a questionnaire for Dan, which included the usual health & safety questions & I did wonder that if I had intended to take part, whether I would actually have been allowed to because of my cancer. In my experience, the second you mention the “c” word, alarm bells start to ring & limitations are immediately placed upon what you can or can’t do which becomes both frustrating & upsetting since it acts as a constant reminder that I have a chronic condition. I like to think that I’m sensible & I also believe that I’m intelligent enough to make my own judgements about what I am capable of so it really annoys me when people don’t “get” that. I can’t even go for a spa day these days without first having to have detailed discussions with my therapist about the staging of my cancer, the location of the tumours & what (if any) treatments I have had so by the time I’ve done that, I’m tired & fed up of discussing the one thing I’ve gone to get away from & my mood subsequently hangs around all day.
It’s funny how cancer forces this change of perspective on life & things that you would never associate with it are affected in the weirdest of ways! Recently I went for my annual eye test & had decided that since I need my glasses more & more as I get older, I would see if I was suitable for contact lenses. My rationale was, that if I was, I would make a fashion statement of it & get green tinted lenses – well that was the plan anyway …….
All the tests went fine & the Optician said that I was a perfect candidate for lenses & I got a price & was in the process of fixing up an appointment to trial them when the Senior Optician reviewed my notes. She said that I could never have contact lenses since there was a higher risk of infection & that because my immune system is compromised an infection could cause loss of sight within a matter of days which was pretty depressing to hear. Yet another door slammed shut & I’m ashamed to admit that I went home & cried. It’s not always easy to hear things like that & it makes me feel like a bit of a reject sometimes – no contact sports, I can’t give blood & no-one wants my organs! It’s not even as if I want to do all of these things – as far as exercise is concerned I don’t get much further than walking the dog, but it’s just that telling me I can’t do them acts as a sharp prompt that I have this “illness” despite the fact that most of the time I feel absolutely fine.
And so constant reminders are yet another challenge to my state of mind & my equilibrium & they serve to put me in my place when all I want to do is to lead a “normal” life. Such is the diverse nature of the life of a blood cancer patient & each day brings fresh trials & tribulations.