Djungle print silk shirt & Other Stories (£69 down to £48)
I love a silk shirt. Not that I get to wear them often – but when I do, I love the feel of them. My other silk shirt was from Warehouse and it’s ridiculously old now but this one I spotted when I was shopping in Other Stories in Leeds. Despite, or in spite, of its bold print and bright colours, I fell in love with it and bought it on the spot. Its first outing was to a pre-birthday, birthday party, with some friends a couple of Saturdays ago. We sat outside around a fire, drank rhubarb gin and ate cake in the warmth. It was perfect. Then life took a turn for the worse and I’ve since looked back at the photos of that night, wondering whether they were the last ones where I would be truly happy and free from worry.
Barely two days later I was in lots of pain firstly with pulled muscles in my neck, plus I’d got an infection and shortly after that, I found two lumps where really you don’t want to find lumps. But this isn’t really about that because all is fine, thankfully. What it is about though is how we deal (or don’t deal) with the unknown. How we go to those darkest of places and how friends and family scoop us up and keep us going, promising that if sh*t is on its way, “we’ll be in it together.”
But back to the shirt first. Can you see the lady drinking cocktails? That was me – well with my rhubarb gin!
I’ve always known that I’m not good with uncertainty but no-one teaches you how to deal with potentially bad news, which may still be two weeks away. And there’s no time for a quick hit of CBT during that time. And odd things happen – you become acutely aware of the word “died” or anything relating to it. Plus there are amusing things that happen. I couldn’t get my neck sorted as I knew that it would be too painful to lie face down on the osteopath’s table. Really I needed to put the bit of me that was sore, through where your head goes. But then I would have fallen off the table which would have been a great comedy moment. Then thoughts go around in your head. I kept thinking of a phrase that I’d seen on Instagram “When life gives you lemons, freeze them and throw them back.” Well my freezer was full of lemons waiting to be lobbed at whatever was coming my way.
I also thought how lucky I’ve been in life so far and maybe it was time to take one for the team because statistics state that amongst my friendship group, one of us is going to find a lump somewhere that may not turn out to be good news.
[No doubt the youngest was asking for the first (and biggest) piece of cake. This is the cookies and cream party cake The one that I made was half the size of the recipe!]
There were times that I wondered whether I would ever run again and whether the last long run that I had done barely a few days before would, literally, be my last. But then again, when a needle was inserted to drain the fluid off the lump, in my head I was running along the canal, counting herons. And whilst there are obviously other things more important than that, I’m keeping the children out of this or else we would all be in tears!
Two of my closest friends are committed Christians and both of them prayed that I would get an early appointment rather than have to wait for two weeks to be seen. And when that early appointment came, I did ask them both whether they had friends in high places. Equally I felt guilty for being so lucky as to get the appointment. It was a phone call at just the right time which resulted in me getting a cancellation so I didn’t queue jump in one sense – but in another I felt that I had.
The Doctors and Nurses at the clinic were amazing and before too much time goes by, and before life returns to normal, I must thank them properly and let them know how much their compassion and positive outlook made a difference to me. What I experienced was the NHS at its absolute best. Oh and we have a lovely Doctor’s receptionist too – I must take her some flowers and thank her because she swept me up on more than one occasion.
And the people around me who knew – particularly my wonderful husband – kept me going when really I didn’t know what to do with myself. Now I feel a little beaten up and slightly emotional but I’m ready to run, which is a sign that all is well again.
Is there a point to all of this? Well I suppose that it’s important for us to be aware that when we’re least expecting it, life can suddenly throw us a curve ball – and it’s amazing how quickly things can go downhill from there – so don’t sweat the small stuff. I don’t think that I handled my curve ball very well in some ways but others have reassured me that it’s all perfectly normal.
I do think that it’s important that we talk about these things and share them though, although of course everyone deals with things in different ways. But I like to think that if anyone came to me and they were in the same situation, I might be able to offer up some help, however small. So let’s keep talking, and checking, and fund-raising and having positive thoughts. Luckily I didn’t need to throw any frozen lemons and the freezer is full of peas for the sore neck – but if anyone ever needs a few frozen lemons lobbing, I’ve got a pretty mean throw.