The dread I had of this time of year coming around again seems to have surprised me somewhat. I remember waiting anxiously, looking at the dates, recalling detail by detail how I first went into hospital, what exact time I was diagnosed, when my first session of chemo started. Amongst my family and friends there were many conversations starting with “This time last year we were…” But yet there were no tears, no breakdowns and no horrific nightmares of reliving everything that had happened just a mere year ago. It was as if this whole experience has been a dream, and now finally I’ve woken up and can see it all clearly for what it was – just a mere blip in the grand scheme of things.
This year has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride and although the end is yet not in sight, I can only be grateful for all the beautiful moments I’ve been lucky enough to experience. I was able to see the most amazing friends graduate, spend time with my family, somehow find myself again when things seemed almost hopeless and meet people on this journey that have changed my life. I can only thank every single person who was there, who held my hand and who continue to be a beacon of light for me when I lose my way. Loneliness is truly a gift, and I definitely recommend everyone take some time out to be alone, although not everyone is a bum like me with nothing to do! We can learn so much from ourselves and our thoughts that now I feel like my inner monologue has become the voice of reason in this somewhat unreasonable world – usually a great thing for introverts like me *high five*
I recall some months ago as I sat at the hospital waiting for an appointment, a young boy walked up to the consultant who also happened to be mine and said ‘Thank you for saving my Mum’. So simply put, the gratefulness and emotion that was shown in a single statement brought me to tears (nothing to do with how much of an emotional wreck I am of course) We take for granted the healthcare we are provided with and although we may all have had good and bad experiences it’s important not to forget that there is good and bad everywhere, in every profession. By painting everyone with the same brush we are undermining those doctors who work tirelessly at the forefront to help, treat, cure, and save our lives every single day. I can without a shadow of a doubt say I would not be here without the doctors I encountered, not just them, but the numerous healthcare professionals I had the privilege to meet. They kept me comfortable, sane, and most importantly – breathing. As someone who has also been lucky enough to see what it’s like on the other side, I can only tell you that these healthcare professionals are still undermined, overworked and underpaid and with the way our government is handling this issue the NHS will not last very long at all. It’s extremely easy to point fingers and complain about the healthcare in this country but what would people like me have done without it? So to those of you that are reading this, please take a little time out to read about what junior doctors are currently going through with changes in their contracts and how they need everyone’s support at this time in order to fight to provide us with the greatest level of care.
At this moment in time if there is one little bit of advice or wisdom (yes really) that I can part with it’s that every single one of us should take life with both hands and really, really make the best of it. Every day, every minute, every second should count, so that by the time we close our eyes to journey off into the dreamworld we can nod off with a smile that we didn’t let a single moment go to waste. I can only speak for myself in saying that however much I wish this year hadn’t happened I can only be grateful for what I’ve gained – strength I never knew I had, love and support one could only dream of and the revelation of how beautiful people can be. The best things truly happen when we least expect it and every thing that does, happens for a reason – the only thing we can do is embrace it with open arms and realize that resisting any of the hurdles life throws at us will only make the path rockier. If I can still be here a year later, alive, breathing and happy then that has got to count for something, right?
Now signing off with a little bit of real wisdom (!)
“Whatever happens to you, don’t fall in despair. Even if all the doors are closed, a secret path will be there for you that no one knows. You can’t see it yet but so many paradises are at the end of this path. Be grateful! It is easy to thank after obtaining what you want, thank before having what you want.” – Shams Tabrizi
Wishing everyone had a very Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to you all!