My journey across the cancer seas.

I wrote this a week prior to round 5 of chemo in late August. I’m pensive, admittedly about the effects of the next round but also about coming back out after that. Covid has ironically been second on my list to cancer since last December, but now its clambering up into first place and I am stumped. Granted I will have to recover and then shield for a while longer before starting forays out, but I can’t say I am overly enthusiastic. I just don’t know how to do it all safely.

So many friends locally have succumbed to the virus, some vaccinated and some not. I have friends on either side of this all too heated debate and to be clear I am not looking for well meaning advise from either side, believe me I have had enough of that already. What is stumping me is that whether or not you have the vaccine the risk is still out there. My point is that its a lottery as to whether you catch it and how badly. News from one vaccinated friend and her unvaccinated partner show that they both had it equally the same. Another person is on a ventilator not having had the vaccine. Another friend died of a brain haemorrhage 2 days post the vaccine. The accounts go on and on. This is what I mean, there is too much disparity in the information coming in from those around me.

I am a recluse by nature, but this just feels massively cruel after a year of cancer treatments. I need my friends and my community on the other side of this, yet I am in the vulnerable camp. On a personal level, owing to the massive treatments I’ve been going through I chose not to get the vaccine. I’m not anti vax. Equally I am cautious about what goes into this battered body now. I am following the development of anti body treatments and deactivated virus vaccine options. Does that make me a sheep? How bloody ridiculous to say that about folk. That we can’t have a debate and choose to make our own decisions without name calling just adds to my resistance to come out at all.

My own personal take is that ones freedom is relevant in the context of our responsibility around each other. I love my independence, I love having the freedom to roam inwardly and outwardly as much as any other. I just cant wrap my head around doing that if my actions hurt someone else. Watching the numbers soar from summer gatherings I can’t help wonder at this driven need for freedom over and above consideration for, well folk like me amongst others. Covid has come all too close to my door, and its terrifying when you have a less than effective immune systen. I’m not laying any blame here, lord knows I need a bloody good gathering like everyone. I"m merely asking how we can we do this socialising in a way that protects and supports us all? There is a kindness in this story that seems to be in short supply in some arenas. For me it is the corner stone of any human interaction and I call on that as I ask a few things of you all.

Coming out post treatments is new for me. I feel like a baby in my changed skin and I am sensitive like never before. So please, be mindful of that when I pull away from you wanting to hug me or stand near me. Pandemic or not its overwhelming. Please don’t assume I fall into one camp or another with regards this vaccination story, and equally please don’t try to convince me that your way is the way. I’m intelligent enough to make the decision I need to in the time I need to make it. All I ask is for your respect. Please allow me to decide how much I want to talk about this cancer story. Its been all consuming and if I’m out, then I’m likely seeking a breath of fresh air from it.

I appreciate each and every one of you for the love you have shown me, I just request you treat me with kindness as I slowly emerge. In fact I ask us all to keep showing kindness to each other.

Journeying through cancer lands and life beyond