It’s 218 days since I first walked along the corridor to the Macmillan Day Case Unit at The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre. 214 days since I was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital with neutropenic sepsis. A day since I last walked along the corridor to the Macmillan Day Case Unit.
In the meantime, I’ve had another four unplanned hospital admissions and two planned ones in three different hospitals. The unplanned four were for chemo-related infections and the two planned ones were for surgery.
It’s a lot.
And that’s okay.
But it’s a lot.
I cry more than I did. It comes on unexpectedly and has a primordial quality. It mainly happens when I’m alone, but sometimes there’s a witness.
In my mind’s eye I see the face of a friend. I facetimed her from hospital 200 days, or so, ago. I didn’t speak. I just cried.
The moment is etched in my memory and whilst I wish it hadn’t happened, for her sake, it’s a reminder that I’m not alone in this. That those who love me are willing to be there even in my most difficult moments; to witness emotion I struggle to identify – anxiety, despair, fear, grief, hopelessness?
Today I cried for reasons I can’t pinpoint. Yesterday I had the double whammy of radiotherapy (13 of 15) and an infusion of TDM1 (2 of 14), so it might simply have been exhaustion. For the first time in 218 days though, I wanted to write about it.
Writing has long, for me, been a way to better understand illness. In my case, multiple sclerosis. To help make sense when there seems to be none.
The desire to return feels good.
Like I’m becoming me again.
I’ve been collecting objects and images that will someday be included in a project with the working title Artefacts of Illness. The photo below is of Area 2 in the Macmillan Day Case Unit at a little after 6pm yesterday when things were winding down for the day.