A year. It’s a full rattle through the British take on seasons from cold and wet back to cold and wet again via a bit less cold. It’s another Christmas, a birthday and a slipped disk for my postman on Valentine’s. And for me, the last twelve months have been a bit of a blur to be frank.
There are quite a few ways I could tell you about what I did in my first twelve months post lymphoma. I could revisit my social media self; the wittier, photographically filtered version of me that raised over £3,000 for charity through cycling 100 miles and dressing up as a host of famous faces, culminating in a feature in a women’s weekly.
Or perhaps I could focus on how I switched to a part-time job to enable me to start retraining in fitness with the aim of helping cancer patients, which saw me lose 4 stone, qualify as a gym instructor and take up running ending in a sub 1 hour 10k race just the other day.
And if I told you all that, I wouldn’t be lying.
But there’s the more everyday, less made-for-TV movie version of events too. The person who struggled for weeks on weeks on weeks with not feeling good enough, who felt like she’d let everyone down and was going to fail again. The girl who felt she had to explain her short, fuzzy hair every time she met someone new, leading to awkward conversations punctuated by even more awkward silences. The untidy, too quick to be tearful, birthday forgetting, self-centred, loud-mouthed Shiv Meaker that leaves everything to the last minute.
She’s been all present and correct in the last twelve months too.
So to the people that like this uninspiring, bog standard, everyday me, I thank you from the bottom of my padded cycling shorts. I only hope that in whatever time I have remaining – which thanks to research could be a fair old chunk - I get to spend it with you guys.
I guess what I am trying to say is whatever your experiences, cancer or not, life is still just as brilliant and confusingly hard as ever. And although I realise I have been attacking these recent months with more urgency of late, I still know a year can be packaged up in whatever montage you want, to tell whatever sort of story you like.
I don’t have a magic formula to living since my own little health challenge. But there is one thing I am really proud of. In spite of being the untidy, lousy at recycling fool that I always have been, I know more than ever I have people in my life that really care about me. And I really care about them too.
I’m going to pop a cork on some fizz with some of them later, to mark the day.
I just hope they don’t expect me to clear up afterwards.