Out of control..? #cancer

From Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)

“’Roid rage?” my son had asked. I had not been in the best of moods, and the steroids did have something to do with the general edginess that morning… although I am inclined, myself, to just lay the blame squarely at the feet of vanity. We were going out.

With another round of chemo and immunotherapy looming, no idea how well I will make it through this next three day course of treatment and lockdown happening once again, we were determined, weather permitting, to get out somewhere… anywhere… if only for a couple of hours. So, when a patch of blue sky showed on Sunday, we set off for Oxford.

This year has been difficult for everyone as far as getting out and about is concerned, but the last few weeks have been even dodgier on a personal level. There are too many unanswered questions, important ones like, how far can I drive? Or walk? What are my new limitations and how far can I stretch them? There was only really one way to find out.

The hour’s drive was fine. I was pleased by that. Then I had to get out of the car.

My personal Halloween horror story had happened the day before. Washing my hair, I had noticed the odd one slipping down the drain as I rinsed. It was not until I was almost done that  noticed my hands we full of hair. Not just the odd strand… but handfuls of the stuff. Attempting to comb the remaining curls detached them too. Two minutes with the scissors sheared it short… and a good gust of wind will take the rest like a dandelion clock…

I cannot complain, as I expected to lose my hair very quickly after the first batch of chemo and it kindly hung around for weeks. For a few days, even the short-cropped hair clung to my scalp, looking as if I had just chosen a new hairstyle. That, along with the steroid-induced moon-face, knocks years off my age, as there is not a wrinkle, not a fold, pinch or crease in my face or neck with all the swelling. You could patent this stuff as the ultimate in cosmetic ‘fillers’…

On the other hand, I do look rather as if someone has strategically inserted a bicycle pump and has inflated me far too enthusiastically…

Then, to add insult to injury, you have to strap an oxygen tank to your back and do your wanderings feeling like some kind of surrealist turtle at the speed of a tortoise. This, I could live without.

So, vanity took a hit… until I realised that vanity could go take a hike too. I was out and about, after all, walking around and doing things, in good company and sunshine… and the alternatives were not exactly appealing.

So, that is one hurdle I am over. I hope.

It is odd though, to realise that even in a scenario like this, where ‘life and death’ is not just a figure of speech any more, that something as simple as self-image can still have so much impact. Thinking about it, though, it does go a little deeper than that. It is about control.

With cancer, as with so many other serious illnesses, not only are you at the mercy of an unseen assailant within, you seem to cede control of your body to the medical profession… and they do with it as they see fit. Your days march to the timetable of drugs and appointments… even your body responds on cue to what the medications do and what they ask of it.

It is an insidious process. Your sense of identity is leached away, little by little… your appearance is changed, your work, your routines are gone. You cannot eat or wear the things you would usually do, your sleep patterns are disrupted, in fact, anything that makes you feel like ‘you’ is under threat. And that includes any plans and pipe-dreams you might have had for the future… not least because you no longer know that you will have one.

It is not all that surprising, then, that it is the little things that begin to get to you. Those, you feel you may be able to control, at least in some small measure. I am beginning to feel it is increasingly important to find something you can keep within your control. That might be learning all you can about your condition and treatment options, so that you have the means and knowledge ready with which to make your own informed decisions. Or doing something creative… completely random… unusual… something just for you.

I’m cooking a lot more. Revisiting old favourite dishes, comfort foods and recipes that have been passed through generations. With each one, I am reconnecting with family, friends and memories… it is not so much for the food itself, but the love that keeps coming back to me with every bite and aroma. Being able to share these dishes and their attendant memories,  passing along the recipes, bringing past, present and future together in this way, is a joy… and joy is always ‘out of control’… but only in the very best of ways.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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129 Responses to Out of control..? #cancer

  1. Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    Sue is feeling out of control at times in fighting cancer.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Ritu says:

    Oh, Sue 🤗
    At least you’re still putting a positive spin in things.
    🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sadje says:

    You’re an amazing and brave woman. I like that you’re finding things to take control of. Love and too you with lots of prayers for a complete recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The server is losing my posts. I’m tired of fighting with “the system.” Suffice to say you are in “The Treatment Tunnel.” You don’t get to leave until you exit the tunnel. And hair grows back, usually thicker and curlier than before. My other friend Sue call it her “post-cancer hair.”

    Mine just went really thin. It looks okay, but it’s very fine, very thin, very fragile. It’s my old age hair.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You are brave and I know you will come out of it. I liked your positivity. 🤗💗

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jenanita01 says:

    I’m glad you are managing to find some positives, Sue and a little humour.
    In our house, Anita is coping well with her restrictions, but like yours, her temper raises its head now and again when it all becomes too much. She has never had to play the waiting game for herself before…

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I didn’t realise you had cancer, Sue, I’m so sorry. But you seem like a strong woman and you have access to healing energy, so there is every reason to be hopeful of a positive outcome. Sending you love. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Out of control..?   #cancer — Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo – yazım'yazgısı (typography)

  9. I’m glad you can still find pleasure in cooking and food, and that you can connect it with fond memories of better times. Bon courage!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Out of control..?   #cancer | Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo #Reblog #WordPressWednesday | Campbells World

  11. Goff James says:

    Hi, Sue. Thanks for the update. Great to see you are still remaining positive, finding new outlets for your creativity; and, that your humour continues to flourish in your writing. Stay at it lass! Best Regards.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sending tons of cyber hugs and healing thoughts to you. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Mary Smith says:

    So far, my hair has just got thinner – and as out of control as everything else in this new world of cancer and chemo. And I can’t even blame my temper squawks on steroids as I only take them for three days every three weeks. Hope all goes well today.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. willowdot21 says:

    Your so right Sue keep hold of those reins even if they are only small. …small can mean so much! 💜💜💜

    Liked by 2 people

  15. memadtwo says:

    You have captured so well why so many of us have turned to cooking to keep us going during the ups and downs of the pandemic. I’m glad you have that comfort in the uncertainty and turmoil of your illness. Keeping you in my thoughts, xo K.

    Like

  16. noelleg44 says:

    Being positive and determined is a great way to fight this nasty disease. It releases hormones and other things that are good for you!

    Like

  17. Darlene says:

    Your positive energy will bid you well. Finding joy in cooking is something I can relate too. Sending many hugs your way, I hope you can feel them through the screen. Love you.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Helen Jones says:

    Oh Sue! What trials you’re going through – I totally get the control thing. And this blasted lockdown has put paid to any plans for the next month or so, too. However, you are a beacon of positivity, and I hope the chemo is going as well as can be expected. Sending love as always xx

    Liked by 1 person

  19. balroop2013 says:

    Love your positivity Sue. Sending you healing hugs. The night may be dark but the dawn is always waiting to bring light.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. So hard, Sue, but thank you for sharing this journey of further self-discovery and the wisdom that you glean from it. It will make a difference. Food sounds like a wonderful foray into something within your control, and I hope that you’ve found a way to enjoy the taste as well as all the connections to love.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I adore the thought of out-of-control joy. ❤ And this: 'I was out and about, after all, walking around and doing things, in good company and sunshine…' Perspective/shift in our thinking is so powerful. Thinking of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Widdershins says:

    I had a chuckle at this … ‘…this I could live without…’ Hmm, thought I, not so much … Even the commonest of phrases takes on a different meaning too, when our perspective changes. : )

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I lost a lot of my hair when I had radiotherapy. It grew back about 3 months later, just as curly as it was before.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. V.M.Sang says:

    You are a very brave woman, whatever you say. Yes, you have no choice but to go onward and through this, but to continue with normal life as much as youbdo, and to keep writing your blogs takes courage.
    Hugs. X

    Liked by 1 person

  25. TamrahJo says:

    Ahh… ❤ and hugs sent… It is so disconcerting to 'surrender' gracefully those quality of life things one wasn't quite fully aware of in impact, though one knew enough to expect them – I am mightily heartened to hear you have the strength & stamina to cook, and to spirit and appetite to walk past roads traveled while you eat – sending you many, many prayers, and love from from across the 'pond' – ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Thanks, TamrahJo. No, we don’t notice so many of the little things till they come under threat… ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • TamrahJo says:

        I have no doubt the ‘Gates of the Universe” are being stormed in pleas, by many, on your behalf – you’ve only to walk your path as best you may while others hold the ‘plane’ for you – submitting to that which cannot be avoided is not surrender, which I’m sure you know and, well – I think of the line (Dylan Thomas?) “Do not go gently into that good night, rage rage against the dying of the light’ and well, swollen face and demolished hair do, is well worth some ‘roid rage’ to bolster your own efforts – If nothing else, enough rage to support you while you walk through the beauty of life – both past and present – – :). And I’ve ‘talked too long” – but, I still trust, no matter where you are at, or where you are at, you understand why and well – I see you in all grace – and trust you to find your way through the maze of options before you! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  26. Sue, you have my deepest admiration for your positive attitude and good humor while undergoing cancer treatment. We should all have such grace! Wishing you all the best — may you feel as well as possible in the days ahead.

    Like

  27. Eliza Waters says:

    Erudite post, Sue. Your close observance and analysis of your feelings about the myriad of changes and loss of control helps bring acceptance of those things you must let go of… and there is a lot of that, it seems. Precious little remains unchanged, I imagine. Every day must bring another adjustment and surrender, shrinking your world down to a day and moment at a time.
    Sending you warm hugs as you face the next round. xo

    Like

  28. Hail to your joy, in all the ways you experience it! God Bless you, Sue. ❤

    Like

  29. Thinking of you Sue. Your positivity and sense of humour shine through. Enjoy the fruits of your cooking labours. ❤

    Like

  30. Sending love and healing prayers… Thanks so much for sharing your journey and inspire us to find joy in the little things we CAN do. ❤ xo

    Like

  31. Sounds a little bit sad, but you are always finding the positive in the sadiest environment. Thats good, thats motivating, and will help to overcome this bad thing. Be blessed, stay save and keep smiling. Best wishes, Michael

    Like

  32. dgkaye says:

    Love your positivity Sue and your visiting old things and making them anew. You brought back memories of years ago when I was very ill and put on those crazy steroids. I literally couldn’t sleep and my face and body both felt like the Goodyear Blimp. A horrible drug, yet sometimes life-saving. Buy yourself some pretty scarves. ❤

    Like

  33. All of this is uncharted territory. You’re so brave, Sue. Grace under fire. I send you love and many hugs. ❤️❤️❤️

    Like

  34. Jim Borden says:

    how wonderful to have those food-related memories. glad to hear you got up to Oxford; we loved our day trip there a couple of years ago…

    Like

  35. Food is so important in my household. I grew up with mum planning what we would eat each day. She’d greet me at breakfast having already planned or even cooked our evening meal. It’s in her Malaysian culture to love food. So I appreciate that comfort that food brings. Mum was and still is a brilliant cook better than any restaurant!

    Like

  36. *hugs*

    And Lilie and Logan send puppy kisses.

    Like

  37. CarolCooks2 says:

    I have so much admiration for you Sue…it seems that no matter what life throws at you that once you have digested it you fight back…Cooking is a wonderful leveller and always holds precious memories…Enjoy! Sending love and blessings 🙂 x

    Like

  38. All I can say is very beautiful post, and all the best wishes.

    Like

  39. Michael says:

    I didn’t realize …you keep on keeping on you! Hugs n stuff !

    Like

  40. Jennie says:

    My goodness!! You write so the reader is ‘there’, completely understanding and feeling all of you. Thank you for letting us in. Yes, finding something you can control. And discovering the joy of reliving memories through old recipes. Bless you, Sue!

    Like

  41. Adele Marie says:

    You are correct, Sue about being in control when everything else is outwith your control. My Mum was given a wheelchair so my daughter and I could take her out. The town she lived in was on the coast so some beautiful walks except for the pavements. They were in dire straights and trying to navigate the wheelchair was horrendous. My daughter and I were arguing one day about who was to push “Nana” when my Mum got out of the wheelchair and said. “I’ll ruddywell walk myself.” I can smile at this incident now as my Mum took control and walked herself, slowly but surely. Goddess bless you, Sue, huge hugs. ❤

    Like

  42. The oxygen tank must be very difficult, Sue. Thank goodness I didn’t have to manage that with my mom. Her hair also lasted for about three chemo treatments and then she suddenly lost it all. We then cut all her hair off. I bought her a wig but she didn’t like it and chose to wear a headscarf. My mom rested a great deal during her treatments, especially for the first few days, but then she also used to get up and she liked to cook. The doctor said cooking and baking were very therapeutic for cancer patients.

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      The tank is a pain, although I don’t need it all the time. The machine has me nicely tethered at home though when I have to use it. I do have a few tufts of hair left… not enough to go without a scarf…

      Like

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