I always knew that there would be down days as well as up days - well, today is one of the down days. To be honest, yesterday afternoon was a bit of a dip as well, but I thought I had recovered and certainly the day started off okay. Woke up with a slight headache, but that's fine. Did my first lot of physio and facial exercises and then went over for breakfast with Father John, the local RC priest. He used to live opposite us and has now moved to round the corner. I hadn't seen him since my operation so we were due a catch-up. Over toast and honey and a pot of good Northern tea, we had a good old chat, so all seemed to be going well.
Came home, Neil was still here and we were talking about trying to arrange a couple of days away somewhere a bit warmer and sunnier than the UK when all of a sudden, I found myself in tears. Poor Neil's shirt front was somewhat damp in a very short time! I feel that the positive attitude I usually have is in danger of becoming a facade - it feels that I am fighting two battles at the moment: one with the cancer and one with the facial disfigurement. Both of them are big battles, not just little skirmishes. Waiting to start the next stage of treatment brings with it uncertainty and worry, although I genuinely trust the NHS to do right by me. In a way, that's the easier battle, because the decisions about what to do, and the execution of treatment, is in the hands of the professionals. All I have to do is turn up for treatment and keep myself in the best of health otherwise to give the treatment the best chance of success. But the rest of it, the facial disfigurement? That's up to me. I have to take my face out in public. I have to deal with any stares or comments. I have to choose not to hide away but to try to lead as normal a life as possible. And I am finding it terribly hard today.
I know the people who love me and who care about me don't care what I look like. But I do. I don't like looking in the mirror and seeing a lopsided face. I don't like not being able to smile. I don't like having an eye that is so different from the other.
I don't like being so shallow that these things matter. All that really matters is being alive and what I look like shouldn't be such a big issue. Well, today it is. And I don't mean that I don't appreciate all the wonderful treatment I have had, because I do. I also know that without the disfigurement, I would in all probability be in a far worse state of health. I understand all that and can rationalise it. Just today, I can't rationalise for my emotions.
So, there you have it - down in the dip and wanting to get back onto a more positive track (if that is not mixing my metaphors).
There is lots to be grateful for, though - a lovely chat with my baby brother on the phone and a visit from him and his gorgeous family next month as they are en route to Gatwick airport; continued love and support from the people who matter and, above all, being alive. When I look at the alternative - well, it's not really an alternative, is it?
As always, I am so thankful for my lovely family and amazing friends. Thank you all and I hope to resume normal, cheerful service soon.