Yes, ok, you think I am mad! Well….. actually you might be right! When faced with your own mortality, especially, when, ironically you thought you were the fittest and healthiest you had ever been does tend to warp your brain!
Everyone knows someone with cancer, there are even more TV adverts about it, but having lived through it, I am bored by so much emphasis being placed on the negative, on the ‘fight’ (I hate that word). I want to come from the perspective of when you are dealt the cancer card it can open up a new pathway previously closed to a place of new experiences and adventures, with the right to break rules and take advantage of the sense of entitlement that cancer brings (are you really going to tell a bald woman to get off the double yellow lines???).
Its important for people realise that having cancer doesn’t mean you are shaking Death’s hand but that he has given you a text just to remind you that he is around! It opens up new emotions, confidence and the ditching of the worry habit. During my cancer year there were more laughs than tears, so this only shows there can be positives that come from this. Having ‘lost’ a year from diagnosis and being carried along by the cancer tidal wave (or is it tsunami?) of operations, scans, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, I am making this year count and am catching up for lost time. Grasping opportunities is something the ‘new me’ has vowed to to, hence one night, the jobless, bald me signed up to go to the Machu Picchu, Peru, Trek. I volunteer once a week at University of North Durham Hospital to help raise funds for extending the chemotherapy unit so future patients have a more comfortable environment to have their treatment. So this was an ideal way to fundraise and fuel my desire to start living!! How long on the plane?? Crikey, the furthest I have been being GREECE!! Thankfully my organisational gene has not been mutated and as with my treatment I have researched into what to take, but still I am thinking “what is the minimum number of knickers I can get away with?”
The last 18 months have been a steep learning curve and as diverse from how to draw eyebrows in, to how to tie walking boots properly! My research changing from survival statistics to how to survive altitude sickness. My shopping list changing from anti sickness sweets to protein bars and walking poles. The adverts on Facebook changing from coffins (yes, I laughed my head off at that beauty!! – even our local ecowarrior told my husband I should get a cardboard one!!) to mosquito repellents and camel bladders!
This whole process has taken me back to bare bones and in rebuilding myself back up some of the pieces have been put back in a different way. Its liberating, in fact there are parts of me I don’t recognise!!
Cancer was a wake up call for life. Do something out of the ordinary, be extraordinary and challenge yourself. Go on an adventure!!
“I don’t want to not live because of my fear of what might happen” Laird Hamilton
Guest blogger - Tracey Hutchison
Donate to her justgiving fundraising page, click here.