More Pain but Now with Biscuits

Today’s blogpost/diary entry/journal/whinge is brought to you by intense waves of abdominal pain.  Yes I’m ok – it’s probably due to bowel fluctuations caused by a combination of chemo and the primary cancer. I’m going to hospital tomorrow anyway, so will check to make sure I don’t need a stent or something.  But it’s really annoying.  Maybe on the same level as teaching first access recorder to a class of 8 year olds without having prearranged a stop signal.  Insufferable at the time but with a bit of patient tolerance, it will hopefully ease.  But by contrast, this lesson hasn’t been going on for half an hour but for about five days and nights and the piercing squeaks are still ringing in my ears.  And my guts.

So most of those five days have been spent attempting to manage the discomfort and there’s not been room for a lot else. But on Wednesday, as fatigue gradually transitioned to pain, I managed to make it out of the house, courtesy of a welcome lift from JP (miles out of his way!) to a running club meeting where I ate a big filthy chicken burger whilst everyone else went out for a chilly 10k or so.  This was followed by a talk from Coach Grant about marathons which, rather than making me feel left out, provoked a welcome sense of connectedness with the pursuit that has brought me so much joy over the years.

As the pain decidedly took over, I pulled out of all my tentatively made commitments until Saturday afternoon provided a window where it seemed to ease a bit and I welcomed a visit from three sets of very old friends who’d settled all over Essex.  Given that all over Essex is a pretty long way from me, everyone was extremely flexible as I ummed and ahhhed until finally agreeing to give the visit a go.  It’s no surprise but nonetheless meaningful that quite a few people have come out of the woodwork recently to reconnect. It really is true that it doesn’t matter if months, years or decades have passed – you know who your friends are when you can pick back up like you last met yesterday.

You also know who your friends are when the gallows humour gets really dark and that’s not a problem.  It seems to have become my favourite coping mechanism for confronting my all but certain fate.  I told the story about looking at the use by date on a pack of bourbon creams, seeing that it was December 2023 and wondering which of us would last longer.  Rather than shocked/worried expressions and an awkward silence, the room erupted into laughter. And don’t worry – I ate the biscuits, so technically, I won.  Since diagnosis, I’ve also outlasted the Liz Truss lettuce and am eying up the dried pasta and tins in my larder. It’s good to have something to aim for!