Earlier this year I was invited to be on the WhyMe with Vera-Lee podcast, and the episode has just been released!
During the episode, we talk about my three cancer diagnoses, Lynch syndrome, my PhD research and my writing. Vera-Lee and I had such a great connection, and I loved our conversation. Give it a listen and let me know what you think! I’m happy to talk about any issues brought up in this episode.
Greetings, earthlings. It’s been a while since I blogged and I haven’t really explained much about what I’m doing these days. As you know, I’m working on my PhD, while still working my day-job in marketing. I’d like to tell you a little about what my PhD is all about, without giving too much away or going on and on. There’s so much I could say about it, but I’ll try to keep it straightforward!
A bit of a life update this morning. I went to bed on Thursday night feeling fine and woke up the next morning feeling anxious without really knowing why and it sort of stuck with me all day. I think it’s partly because I was worried about my teeth. Every couple of years my wisdom tooth has a bit of a move about and the gum gets infected so I go to the dentist and he gives me antibiotics and says if it keeps causing a problem it will need to be taken out under general anaesthetic. So this happened again the other day so I got antibiotics but the dentist also said that because I’m on alendronic acid (to prevent osteoporosis because I can’t go on HRT for the menopause because of the cancer risk), he wouldn’t want to take any of my teeth out because AA might make it take a long time to heal up. So that was me jumping to worst case scenario of having my wisdom tooth out and suffering with it. Typical of it to flare up as soon as I go on AA. But I looked online (not always recommended, really) and found some people saying they had teeth out while on AA and it was all fine. So I feel better about it now.
I had a dream last night that my CT scan results came back (I had the scan three weeks ago) and by some miracle I was pregnant. We were worried about losing the baby because of my surgery but we were excited. In my dream I got some counselling at my gynae checkup too, asking what was on my mind and stuff. That was before someone rushed in with the scan results (which I thought showed the cancer was back because of how she ran in with them). And before that, I had a dream I was playing with someone else’s baby. He was very smiley and didn’t cry and I think I might have been his favourite out of everyone in the room. My grandad was there too, as he sometimes randomly appears in my dreams despite no longer being with us, and he said “you’ll be wanting one of those of your own soon”. Nobody bothered to correct him.
Feelings around being childless and having a hysterectomy are quite complicated. I think I’d like something good to happen to me medically. I’d like me and my partner to go to my parents’ house to tell them something big that isn’t how I have cancer again, but something good. I would like to feel like other people. I would like to feel like I’m having a normal, big experience. I’d like to be counted as a mother in the general population. I’d like to be pregnant and excited and understand and enjoy the experience. I’d like to have a tiny human to look after. I feel so alienated from people around me who haven’t had cancer – I don’t have any “cancer friends”. Having a baby is among the things I want that I thought I would have in my life but haven’t yet. I want a baby, I want to get married, I want to own a house. I just want to be a normal grown up.
I got a lot done yesterday. I booked our flights to Florida for next year, and I got Keane tickets for me and my mum. I tried to get them during the presale on Wednesday but they sold out within two minutes, so I’m glad I managed to get them yesterday.
And the big news I haven’t mentioned is that I got accepted to study for my PhD at Teesside University! I’ll be doing it at a distance, researching the role of poetry in psycho-oncology. I want to find out how writing poetry can help cancer survivors in remission to work through fear of recurrence, health anxiety and other related feelings.
So, good things are happening even if they aren’t the big things I’m still waiting for or might never have. When life doesn’t give you any luck, you have to create it for yourself. And most of it isn’t luck, it’s work. Good thing I like making things happen for myself.
Today I submitted my dissertation, which means my MA Creative Writing is now over! Well, apart from the tense wait for my results. But I finished the thing, submitted it a week before the due date, and refrained from typing AAAAAARRRRRGGGHHHHH into the comments box, so win? I really hope my dissertation is okay and that I get a good grade for it. If I pass the whole course with distinction I will be over the moon, but even just to have completed it and passed will be an awesome achievement. It’s been a lot of fun doing the course, having a purpose and challenging myself, but at the same time I’m way more keen on the creative writing side than the pedagogy, research, referencing, and so on. So I’m glad I did it, but also happy to have some more time to do other things.