This too… #covid #cancer

I never thought that I would say it. It goes against pretty much everything I hold dear. But, between a world turned upside down from the fallout of the COVID crisis, to my own journey through the treacle-paved and elephant-strewn path of cancer, I have begun to appreciate a single facet of life more than I have ever done so before.

Just being ‘normal’.

Where the virus is concerned, we are each feeling its effects in different ways… and whether it is the lack of freedom, contact with loved ones, fear of contagion or the practical problems of lost jobs and home-schooling, few, I think, will be able to say their lives have not been altered by this microscopic bug. The changes have crept in or been imposed, bit by bit… it seems as if there are new regulations being made every day. The uncertainties and questions keep on coming and all we can do is work with them.

With cancer, the uncertainties are also there, but they take other forms. From the moment of that first collapse, that first test result or conversation with a doctor… however you find out about that diagnosis… your whole world is altered in ways you may need time you no longer have in which to realise and understand.

The initial reaction is personal and will be different for everyone. My immediate emotion was utter relief. Now I knew what I was dealing with. Not some nebulous nightmare, but a concrete condition that could be faced and addressed, both as an ’entity’ in itself, in terms of its fallout on everyday life, and in how I, personally, could and would come to terms with the whole thing.

The first and worst thing is telling those you love. Watching their hearts break and knowing there is nothing you can do to help ease that pain… except stick around as long as possible for them, so they can live with the idea for a while. It won’t actually help… not really, not at the end… but it gives you time to be together, to share moments and say the things often left unsaid… and that is a gift.

…at least in years when you are not kept locked away from each other by a damnable virus.

Then it is borne in upon you that your life is no longer your own. It is held by the medics who make their decisions based on clinical and practical needs, rather than on how any of that impacts on your family, personality or any other facet of your life. And you go along with that, accepting these new terms of engagement. Because you need the time for those you love.

Little by little, so much of the control you have over aspects of your life is leached away. You may feel as if you have much choice in how your life is unfolding. So, when something does come your way over which you have a choice, you appreciate it.

For months, I’ve had to rely on help to do some of the most basic chores around the house. This goes completely against the grain with me; I have always been pretty self-sufficient in that respect. So, being able to get down on my knees and wash the floor the other day was a triumph. Changing the bedsheets becomes a victory of massive proportions, eating freshly baked goodies an act of reckless and rebellious independence. Having enough of a voice, after weeks without, to be able make a phone call…

It is in the smallest of things that I begin to see the major lessons of this particular, double-pronged journey. Because, when you think about it, life is made up of the small things… the little, everyday normalities and their quirks that we simply accept until they are challenged or come under threat.

Globally, we are sharing an uncertain journey because of the virus and there are parallels with those who are also dealing with serious illness. If we can find small ‘normalities’ in our days, familiar moments that remind us who we are, what we do and why, then we can reclaim a semblance of control in a world that seems to have lost the plot.  Not only are we reclaiming bits of normality, by doing so, we are also standing up and saying ’no’  to changes we do not wish to see… and facing tomorrow in a way that upholds our belief in the future.

One thing is certain… this too shall pass, one way or another, and I would like to hope that those still standing at the end will have the strength and courage to reshape the future with common sense and compassion.

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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171 Responses to This too… #covid #cancer

  1. barbtaub says:

    You’re the one with the strength and courage. The rest of us just hope to be worthy of it.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Pingback: This too… #covid #cancer — Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo – Ladyleemanila

  3. CarolCooks2 says:

    You give us hope and strength Sue to go forward… when I listen to you who has so much of the strength and compassion that we all may need I to find hope…xx

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Sadje says:

    Remarkable courage and strength in your words Sue. Let’s hope the end, whenever it comes for any of comes with dignity. And those left behind are able to cope with it with grace.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s that tunnel. Once you are in it, you are there until you break free — on way or the other.The helplessness is a hard bone to gnaw. Especially for people who have always tried to drive the bus, even when we knew really we could not. The only thing that happened that I didn’t expect was a very deep black depression. It took me a long time to pull out of it. This reocurred following heart surgery, but the surgery after cancer was worse and much darker. By the time the heart surgery came up — just three years after cancer I felt like I’d had practice in pulling out of depression. This long, long lockdown has changed the latter end of our life so much I’m not sure how we’ll get back to normal, whatever normal is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I doubt if I will be around for the end of the civid crisis… and, going through files looking for photos, I am just grateful we managed to see so many places beforehand… and incredibly sad I cannot even go ‘home’ to Yorkhire to say goodbye. In thebigger picture, that doesn’t really matter…. the land is the same end to end and people are being unable to say goodbye to loved ones. But it still gets to me.

      Like

  6. floridaborne says:

    You are an inspiration, Sue. I hope you’re saving these posts for your grandchildren. Most of us only have pictures, without any way of seeing inside the person.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. You give us all the strength to look for, and find, the lost normality, Sue… and we bless you for that…

    Like

  8. Ritu says:

    Thank you, Sue, for being you. You’re words, especially considering the situation you’ve been through, are an inspiration to us all.
    Love and hugs 🥰🥰🥰

    Like

  9. gmvasey says:

    Reblogged this on The Magical World of G. Michael Vasey and commented:
    Sue expresses this very well. I told my son this very morning – you can only control what you can control so focus on getting that right….

    Liked by 1 person

  10. gmvasey says:

    I dunno how you do it? I take after my Mother. If I even think about trying to say something emotional I cry like a baby……. We love you Sue……

    Like

  11. beetleypete says:

    Reading this reminded me of an expression we used to use when I was in the Ambulance Service in London.
    “In the system”.
    Following a serious diagnosis, life can become a merry go round of hospital appointments, clinic visits, therapy treatments, and waiting for letters and phone calls. Once people are in the system, their daily life is no longer their own, and the lives of their loved ones and those around them are impacted too.
    You get that across very well, Sue.
    Best wishes as always, Pete.

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Thanks, Pete. We learned that during my late partner’s cancer and again with Nick… and now me. There is no doubt that the system works in your best interests, but in all honesty, it makes you feel faceless and anonymous, which is not always helpful when mental and emotional health also come under fire from bodily ills.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. ‘I would like to hope that those still standing at the end will have the strength and courage to reshape the future with common sense and compassion.’ Better hope those still standing aren’t the politicians, then…

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Yes, I’ll echo the need to be ‘normal’. However, what is normal? It’s different for everyone. For some it’s just being able to get out of bed and get to the loo. For others it’s the ability to run a marathon again. All I’m grateful for is to be able to go to work, to drive, and to have my croaky voice back again after extensive external beam radiotherapy.

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      After weeks without a voice, Stevie, I can sympathise a little. It makes life so damnably dificult.
      I agree, ‘normal’ means so many different things… but we all need to be able to touch it sometimes.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I miss being able to sing, but at least I can talk relatively well. Ha, it’s the ‘new’ normal for me.

        Like

        • Sue Vincent says:

          I have never been able to sing… at least, not in tune. Even the dog hides…
          My son’s voice was irrevocably changed after the brain injury, and it took long time for it to come back at all.
          My voice is currently a strange pitch rather than having any resonance… it alters all intonation and inflection. It is surprising how much of your personality and mood are expessed by voice… you don’t realise it till you are silenced, I think. I am grateful to have any voice back at all at the moment.

          Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh, yes. And these are the times that we realize that just a tiny flower – a daisy – and a peek of sun through the clouds, and a chirp of the woodpecker outside our window- these “little” things are so BIG. xo

    Like

  15. Jules says:

    Each day is a gift with which we can share our compassion.
    May healing light continue to shine on everyone.

    Like

  16. Reblogged this on pensitivity101 and commented:
    Once again your courage and honesty shines through. Simple pleasures mean the most. I remember how thrilled I was to put my socks on by myself, to have a shower and wash my hair, things I had taken for granted. I love your final paragraph Sue ❤ ❤ ❤

    Like

  17. willowdot21 says:

    You are an example to us all.💜

    Like

  18. willowdot21 says:

    Reblogged this on willowdot21 and commented:
    The beauty of being normal, from Sue Vincent.

    Like

  19. noelleg44 says:

    Words of wisdom, strength and grace, Sue. A few of the challenged you face come with advancing age, and thanks for propelling me forward!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Beautifully said Sue, I feel so much for you and Mary both going through what you are having to do at this time. Life is hard enough, all I can hope for is as you say some good may come out of this in the future. We may realise how much we have, and appreciate the simple things in life which truly matter. Sending love and hugs. x

    Like

  21. memadtwo says:

    You are a good example to us all Sue. Stop whining and be grateful for what is still there. (K)

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I’ll whine with the best of them sometimes… we are allowed to be human, after all. In fact, with my voice at the moment, I have little other option 😉 But there are plenty of little things to celebrate too…

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Thank you for your courage, your wisdom, and your truth.

    Like

  23. fransiweinstein says:

    I have been a fan of yours for many years now, but I cannot tell you how much your posts on cancer mean to me a d just how relevant they are. I, too, am on a similar journey, also recently diagnosed. And every time I read one of your posts I scream my agreement with what you’re saying out loud. You echo so many of my own sentiments Sue and it makes me feel as if I have company on this journey and that feels so good. And now you’ve done it again with your reference to “normalcy.” I just had that exact conversation with someone the other day. Thank you for your courage, your strength and these blog posts.

    Like

  24. “Life is made up of the small things…” Yes, indeed! Most of us miss them in pursuit of other things. For many, I think, it takes something drastic to slow us down enough to see and what’s really important. Thank you for such a poignant reminder. Love and hugs!

    Like

  25. indishe says:

    Your words are full of positive optimism and resolute hope!
    Stay strong and as you say..
    This too shall pass!

    Like

  26. Such wise words! Thank you!

    Like

  27. -Eugenia says:

    You are a true inspiration, Sue, and thank you for sharing your wise and encouraging words. 🌞

    Like

  28. Pingback: New Normal | Stevie Turner

  29. It is quite the strangest thing for me, Sue, that often when I read your posts, I feel as if you’ve reached inside my mind and taken out my own thoughts. You present them much more eloquently than I do but the similarities in our thinking often gives me a turn.

    Like

  30. Sue, I hope you realize what an inspiration you are!❤️

    Like

  31. You are a remarkable woman, Sue. I never fail to be inspired by your strength, courage, determination and kindness. Sending love and hugs xx

    Like

  32. I agree that when push comes to shove, it is the smallest of gifts that create the most joy. You are a gift to those who need to understand that lesson and to those who get it. Thank you, Sue, for continuing to teach us all. Still praying. ❤️

    Like

  33. Astrid says:

    This is such an inspiring piece! Thank you so much. It definitely lifted my mood, even though it’s sad, and made me aware of my need to appreciate the little things.

    Like

  34. TamrahJo says:

    It always amazes me, no matter how many life ‘hits/events’ happen to educate me to ‘do better at celebrating the everyday’ blessings, how, when the next ‘challenge of Fate’ comes about, there is always a bevvy of things I SOO will miss, that I barely paid attention to before – – No matter how old I get, no matter how many ‘swamps of ‘well, this sucks, right now!’ I slog through, no matter how hard I try everyday to give thanks for the everday little wonderful things, in hopes I laud and appreciate them before they are gone – – every durn time, when Life turns on a dime, whether through loss of another or loss of my own capabilities, etc., I always have a moment where I think, “Well, damn! I don’t remember ever being ‘grateful’ for this – but oh – how I miss it right now” – i guess somewhere, in my youth of serious illnessnes that weren’t really serious enough to make me a life long saint of ‘get it, explore it, feel blessed by it, every single day’ of non-stop gratefulness, I just thought to myself, “Someday, I’ll get better at this – ” – – STILL! HASN’T happened! Overall, it feels more like, (sometimes) the Universe says, “Awesome! you’ve aced phase 4,536 – now, on to phase 4,537” – – – But still, overall – from afar -and through the sheer beauty of you writing about your journey – I will opine – – You are gracefully dancing through it all with authenticity – And, well, I ache for you that your new normal is what it is – and how it impacts you and your loved ones – and my heart aches thinking about a world in which I can’t comment/email or read your missives or chat with you in the comments – but, that’s all just ‘me thinking about me and what, when the time comes, my new normal will look like’ – My frequently spoken prayer to the Universe? “Please give Sue and her loved ones every single blessing and gift that can be had just now” – ❤ ❤ ❤

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Thank you, TamrahJo. I think we are all guilty of forgetting the smallthings most of the time… it takes something to make us remember and look. (Though my hippo-swollen body laughed and though of Fantasia at the thought of this small person gracefully dancing any more… : D ) ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • TamrahJo says:

        There is our ‘current physical’ manifestation and there is the timeless ever changing/non changing manifestation of our soul – LOL – – See? I CAN do ‘both/and’ instead of slipping into ‘dualism/either/or traps’ – LOL that said, I guess, for myself, I always appreciate those who see the timeless picture of me no matter what current me really looks like – and, sadly, human nature, we try to give to others the gifts we want to receive – – LOL – – That said, for myself, the times in my life when I’ve been so overcome with unconditional love, EVER! was always when the object of my affection couldn’t do a durn thing for me, or be who they had always been for me, etc. — I secretly think, sometimes, we only fully feel unconditional love when we hold in our hearts the moment of pure love – that transcends time, mortality, etc. – -thus, for me? my might be asleep but not dead, due to go anytime, but forever, in my heart, he is young, playing the guitar and strong – – my son might be in a coma and no hope left, but in my mind, he is laughing at me and playing his guitar and singing – and no matter what – even if I was there in person – for me? You shall forever be the pixie redhead that glides through dancing in heels – or capturing a dance through bluebells of one that you love – – I don’t believe I’m a delusional optimist, or anything other than a cynical realist, on the other hand, sometimes, to me, the best gift we have to offer is saying to another, “You might feel that way, you might be struggling right now on this front or the other, but to me? I still hold within my heart and mind the most beautiful, graceful, humorous, gift and blessing’ version of you ”

        Like

      • TamrahJo says:

        P.S. – I gave up on being able to afford/get to the UK long ago – I’m sad we couldn’t ever just whip out a wine cellar for you – I had to realize that long before COVID 19 – but oh, how I sometimes pull out the fun treasures of me ‘planning/working for/looking forward to’ that visit I most likely will never make – – It still gives me pleasure, to think about it – 🙂

        Like

        • Sue Vincent says:

          There is nothing wrong with dreaming… I still have my dreams of a post covid world where I see all its wonders 🙂 Logic might say otherwise, but hearts need to dream 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

          • TamrahJo says:

            Which is why I always appreciated my ‘time’ spent with you – – you never said it was ‘dreaming’ when I talked of what I wanted to visit – planned for making the trip – our conversations on that – and conversations with your son and the hospital he volunteered at, and his mentor’s communiques – well – no one ever said, “Seriously! How are you going to make this trip when you’re struggling to pay bills each month?” – -Nope – we planned and discussed and had a merry old time of it, on my side – – it was such a huge blessing at a time in my life when I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to fully rejoin the work force to earn the funds to pay for it – and, well – you were one of the ‘early ones’ in my ‘new normal’ adjustment that didn’t find me odd, because I still wanted to believe in magic even though I was outwardly cynical about LIfe – :). You were one of the first ‘new connections’ I made, when I decided, “I don’t want to be surrounded by delusional optimists or magic haters – I want to surround myself with those who are realistic, but who never scoff at the magic to be had in both our inner and outer worlds’ – – you gave me that – thus, your overall vision in my mind is a pixie, that waves her wand and spreads a bubble of magical light on any who come into your sphere – so – you can choose – – dancing in heels graceful redhead or magical Tinker Bell pixie family – choose which ever one you want – I can write missives in all honesty to refer to you as one, the other or both – 😀

            Like

            • Sue Vincent says:

              Being currently bald as a golf ball… in one reality…. I like the idea of my red pixie crop, I have to say 🙂
              Dreams and wishes, magic… we are allowed. And if we never dreamed, how could anything ever manifest in our lives? 🙂 x

              Liked by 1 person

              • TamrahJo says:

                to me? the “Make a wish” foundation lies in all of us – even if it is just one person saying, “Okay – so you’re bald – but my memory of you is with” and well through magic of seeing each other as we see ourselves, MAGIC really does happen – who cares who else ‘can see’ it? really? “let those who have eyes see and those who have hears, hear’ – – LOL

                Like

              • Sue Vincent says:

                Abolutely! 😀

                Liked by 1 person

  35. Widdershins says:

    So mote it Be. 🙂

    Like

  36. The ability to bend down to touch (scrub) the floor, to have the voice on the phone, and to cook a simple meal… You’re right, Sue, who would think of them to be a big deal except when we are no longer able to do it? When I had my six months of full-time chemo for the melanoma in my organ, after coming back from the first five-day hospitalization, I had no energy. My husband told me years later that I crawled into the bathroom to take a shower… and many other stories.
    I’m sure I missed all of your posts because I was absent from my blog for six weeks. I remember that you have cancer in one lung. What kind of treatment do you have at the time?

    Like

  37. A beautiful and touching post, Sue. Thanks for sharing your courage and insights as you navigate your illness, during these days when little feels normal. But you’re right, there’s a peacefulness in the familiar. May we come through this holding on to the simple routines of life while creating a new normal of compassion and peace.

    Like

  38. dgkaye says:

    You are warrior woman Sue. There is no more normal it seems. I often worry about if something happens to me and who would be there for me. We have to look at the tiny blessings for every day and not think so much about tomorrow. That’s how I do it – one day at a time. And take in the gratitudes of the moments ❤

    Like

  39. V.M.Sang says:

    It’s hard for many people in this pandemic, Sue, but it must be doubly hard for you, dealing with it as well as your cancer. I can’t put into words how much I admire your strength and wisdom. Keep on fighting.
    Hugs

    Like

  40. socialbridge says:

    Hi Sue, I think you of all people have never taken the littlest things for granted. In fact, you are always able to see the special where others may well be totally blind to it.
    Your point about the impact on loved ones is very well made. I’ve no doubt you are supporting them more than you could ever know. xxx

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Covid has hurt so many through the inability to be together at times of both grief and joy over this past year. Moments that can never be reclaimed. I hope that an awareness of how much that matters is something we can carry forward.

      Like

      • socialbridge says:

        I think the light is dawning at last and that awareness is heightening. Hopefully this will be a lesson well learned from this pandemic and its lockdowns.

        Like

        • Sue Vincent says:

          I hope so, Jean.

          Like

          • socialbridge says:

            Tough lessons are often the ones that are learned best. So, I certainly have hope on this aspect. It’s very much to the fore in Ireland already in discussion and efforts to deal with the worst of the isolation/cut-offness.

            Like

            • Sue Vincent says:

              It needs to be. For so many that has been and is the worst of this whole awful situation. I know that from a persoanl perspective, to be unable to spend time with those I love when I no longer have time has been appalling…and there are so many in that case or worse.

              Like

              • socialbridge says:

                Do you think there were/are ways the isolation issue could have safely been eased over there to bring awfulness to, at least, okayness?

                Like

              • Sue Vincent says:

                I think that with common sense, allowing people to take some personal responsibility and decent PPE, allowing the families of the dying to be with their loved ones, would have saved a heck of a lot of heartache, as well as future guilt and emotional health problems.

                Like

              • socialbridge says:

                I agree but we certainly found that ‘personal responsibility’ was a disaster to beat all disasters here over Christmas. Maybe it’s an Irish thing but give an inch and take a mile was the outcome. We’ve had a desperate January all because of idiotic behaviour by some over Christmas.
                Clearly it is the humane, logical approach but would need to be enforced some way. I know that probably sounds crazy as I know you’re not talking about big booze ups but it seems like there are selfish chancers around every corner who recklessly make life hell for those who undoubtedly need to be out of isolation mode and with their loved ones.

                Like

              • Sue Vincent says:

                There are always those who will take advantage, sadly, and spoil things for others. But no-one should have had to die alone, or lose their parents/child/partner without being able to hold their hand and say goodbye. That is simply inhumane.

                Like

              • socialbridge says:

                Absolutely!
                We seem to have got to grips with facilitating that in Ireland while keeping the worst of chancerism at bay but learned the hard way.

                Like

              • Sue Vincent says:

                It needed to be resolved. Too many can never take those moments back.

                Like

              • socialbridge says:

                I couldn’t agree more, Sue. 💚

                Liked by 1 person

  41. Jim Borden says:

    these posts about your cancer are so inspirational. I admire your desire and strength to do those normal things, like clean the floor or baking some goodies. I think many people would give up on such tasks, so keep on keeping on… 🙂

    Like

  42. Sue, beautiful thoughts you have conveyed. We just called in Hospice care for my step mother as she is done fighting cancer. She is happy now, happy for the life she had and happy to be gone soon from all her pain. It is often hard to understand how it must feel, so I think of all the fighters and how strong they are no matter the outcome. Stay strong but also stay happy.

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I sorry for what you and your family are facing, Christine. It is never an easy time, even when the person who is leaving us is ready to go. I am happy, for the time I have had, grateful for the time I have left… whatever that ends up being… I just intend to live it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  43. Jennie says:

    Just beautiful, Sue. I love your mindset- always have, always will. And yes, the little things are really the big things, because each one is precious.

    Like

  44. Eliza Waters says:

    It is so easy (and human) to rail against ‘what is’ and push back what we don’t like in life and this year has given us quite a lot to push against. The Buddhist teachings offer quite a bit on dealing with ‘dukkha’, acceptance being the first step. Thereafter, we can decide the way forward. Never a straight path, though, is it? As always, you continue to inspire with your honest wisdom, Sue. I admire that so much. ❤

    Like

  45. Thanks for your insightful words. I applaud you for your courage in dealing with this terrible diagnosis during the worst possible times.

    Like

  46. Darlene says:

    I am blown away by your insight and willingness to share your thoughts and your journey. Sending positive thoughts and hugs your way. xo

    Like

  47. Pingback: Meet Sue and Join The Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic | The Showers of Blessings

  48. Such important insights in this one post, Sue. Thank you for them. Sending you a salute and a hug – not possible at the same time, I think, but maybe in a moment when each would be appreciated.

    Like

  49. Bela Johnson says:

    Beautifully penned, Sue. Beyond the ‘normal’ for appreciating each day. Beyond Covid. Your condition adds layers of complexity that reveal themselves, one by one, in this narrative. I think we all need to get the sort of perspective offered here. Life is a gift, no matter how it rolls along. Blessings, dear one. 🙏❤️

    Like

  50. Vinny says:

    That’s a hard but inspiring blog. Life is so tough sometimes, unbelievably so. I wish you all the best.

    Like

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