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the first day of the rest of my life

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scroogeThis is the first day of the rest of my life.  Of course I’m relieved.  I survived.  I didn’t have to go into the hospital.  I didn’t need a feeding tube.  I lost 10 kilos but only two large tufts of hair.  I wish I could be happier, but I still feel really, really lousy.  Recovering is going to take some time (three weeks the doctors predicted).

I took a bath this morning.  The first proper bath in six and a half weeks.  During the treatment I wasn’t allowed to wash myself properly since I couldn’t remove the black line on my chest — the line they use for calibrating the angles of the radiation machine.  Washing off that line in good old soap felt great.  My body is now my own property again.  It doesn’t belong to the doctors and their infernal machines.  I washed my hair too for the first time in three weeks, and if I only could have brushed my teeth with toothpaste, I would have been in heaven.  But that will have to wait (toothpaste burns my gums).

I wonder what happened to my cancer?  Is it gone now or is it lurking somewhere, waiting to return?  I guess there will be all kinds of tests … Meanwhile, I’ll think of myself as a “cancer survivor.”

Pretty amazing really: I was diagnosed on 18 July, and only three months later — October 18 — I will not only have had a major operation but also gone through treatment,and be well on the way to recovery.

But it’s not back to normal, and it won’t be.  I’m going to make some fundamental changes.  To live differently and to live better, more calmly and with more attention to others.  I feel like Scrooge, waking up on Christmas Day, realizing that Christmas isn’t over, and that he still has a chance to set things right.  I too will buy the biggest goose in the shop-window and invite everyone I know to share it.

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