kate bohdanowicz writer

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All clear but everything's changed

I didn’t want to blog before my latest scan as I didn’t want to tempt fate. Fortunately it’s come up clear so I’ve been told to come back in SIX whole months. Bliss. The problem is I still need corrective surgery for my leaky bladder (and it’s leaky with a capital L – it’s one L of a leaky bladder). Of course that won’t kill me and for that I should be grateful. I know I should be celebrating but instead I feel fragile and exhausted.

This cancer lark doesn’t stop when you’ve been told the cancer’s gone (and of course you only get a few months reprieve before the ‘scanxiety’ starts). My body has changed. Not only due to the new, sieve-like bladder but also the fact I’ll never regain feeling on the top of my right leg from all the nerves severed during surgery. It’s also ballooned from steroids but I’m working on that by walking 10,000 plus steps a day until I can resume running. Along with that, my attitude to life has changed. I’m not quite bungee jumping off cliffs and buying Harley Davidsons but I no longer take the three score and ten for granted and I like to think I’m a bit more understanding of other people’s situations.

During chemo I was asked to fill in a questionnaire – one of the questions being whether I would recommend the chemo suite to family and friends. I laughed. Anyway, another asked if I considered myself disabled following surgery. I said no ­- although it is debilitating. I’m not totally in control of my body and I don’t have as much energy.

Last week on First Dates, I saw the youngish bloke who’d suffered a brain injury following a moped crash 12 years earlier. I was also reading about the young woman who’d lost her leg in the Alton Towers accident. Before I wouldn’t have taken much notice but now I realise this can happen to any of us. You learn a lot from cancer but I think the biggest lesson is not to take anything for granted and have a bit of sympathy for others. The past nine months have been difficult yet they’ve opened my eyes to the world and of all the things that have changed for me, that’s the one I appreciate the most. 

Comments (1)

  1. Wendy:
    Apr 20, 2016 at 02:29 PM

    Nice piece Boll. Probably many people looking on don't appreciate the problems and anxieties that continue even if the immediate danger is gone, unless they've experienced something similar.

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