Fidelma Cook

AS I slid once again into the doughnut-shaped scanner I was, of course, mentally saying my prayers and calling on my overworked Guardian Angel to lay his protective wings round me once more.

It seemed to take longer than normal but then since treatment was stopped I have got out of the habit of scans and immuno therapy and my body is on its own once more. It’s been a little holiday but time now to pay the cost and find out what has been happening. More fervent prayers silently recited in a familiar litany.

Outside, when all is over, I waited in the corridor for my ambulance drivers. They arrived with the open results of my scan, as is normal here. I resisted reading them for I have learned that what seems good to me is often not and vice versa.

Needless to say Pierce – whose French is limited to say the least – read them the minute I got home. His eyes fixated on 'stable' which was used three times, mine on aneurysm, cyst and their measurements. I refused to address it further.

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After a weekend veering between hope and telling P to shut the f*** up with his theories and exit funeral songs I was finally before my oncologist – a young woman with intelligence radiating from her. We spoke in English so there could be no misunderstandings.

Once again the cancer is….stable. The tumours have neither grown nor gone on a wander into the hidden parts of the body. I have, please God, gained more time yet again. My son later tells me they didn’t expect me to get past Christmas.

My specialist says they’ll scan me again in three months time. If things have changed, all involved in my case will have a meeting and decide what other treatments my body can take.

They are not giving up on me yet so neither am I and I could feel a well of hope rising from my toes to my head, then slapping it down so as not to tempt fate. That will never change.

As always, like all the other doctors, the one thing she won’t, or rather can’t, tell me is how long I’ve got. They may have a good idea based on statistical evidence but there is no absolute – their hands and skills work their magic but there are many more magical factors at work too.

I’ve come to believe it is better not to have even a rough date for we may subconsciously work towards it as a cut-off date and, effectively, possibly hasten what would be our end.

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So here is where we stand, or in my case sit and shuffle. I’ve had another reprieve for which I am truly grateful and I’m certain your prayers and cosmic wishes have played an enormous part in it all….along, of course, with my Guardian Angel. Thank you once again.

Now I face a summer of intense heat but I’ll try not to complain for I’m still alive, thank God, to feel those glorious rays. So many, in these plague months, are not, so I will face what comes with gratitude for this extra time I’ve been gifted. For a gift it is indeed.

And the boy and I? Tricky is the word. Even now he pushes my buttons and I his. But perhaps seeing me has finally shown him my limitations.

Although I’m not so sure as he drags me and the chair over the stones to sit in the sun. He tells me when it’s time for bed; that two glasses of wine is enough; to stand up straight. I tell him to ‘bugger off.’ I find myself yelling ‘leave me alone’ although in reality that is the last thing I want. I have become the truculent teenager – he the all-knowing, righteous father.

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Ah, why is love so complicated in its feelings – such an odd mixture of hidden wounds and resentments. Of misunderstandings long gone but never forgotten. Of painful recollections when wrong calls were made. Of cruel words, even at this late stage that can never be taken back.

But enough. When he leaves today (Saturday) l’heure bleue will extend into les heures again and silence descend. A silence as cutting as a rapier. Once at least the antics of an Afghan Hound occupied my mind and laughter until life righted itself. No more.

Anyway, enough of this self-pity. I’ve had marvellous news and, please God, been given the gift of extra time. It is up to me now to use it wisely and well.

And if that’s as simple as an extra glass of wine and staying up until be it. Take our pleasures when we can and long may they last.

So my dear friends….onwards and upwards. With feeling.