Back when mum had cancer, she had a little lunch party with her friends to celebrate what she thought would be good news. In preparation for that, she bought a bottle of Moet. But, of course, when the news came through, it wasn’t good, and the champagne was never opened. I inherited that bottle, and it’s been in my fridge ever since, waiting for a suitable occasion to open it. It seemed strangely fortuitous when the occasion seemed likely to be my own news of a cancer cure.
I got that news on Friday, more or less. It came via my GP and was tied up in medical jargon and obfuscation – there’s no such thing as a categorical statement. Basically, the bottom line was that as far as they could tell, no cancer remained. (They scheduled my next specialist appointment for the 24/3).
I took the news initially much as I had approached it. On the balance of probability, I had expected it, and though I felt relieved, I was pretty sanguine about it too. I didn’t feel like cracking a bottle of bubbles.
Predictably, the reaction was much more effusive from my friends when they heard. They were excited, and many gracious words were said on the phone, text, or Facebook.
I’m still not excited. I’m not the excitable type; besides, I take nothing as read – I’ll be happier when I get the complete rundown from the docs. But still, I felt something begin to come alive in me.
I don’t know know how deserved it is, but I felt a mild sense of pride that I had come this far and survived. That translated into moments of old-fashioned cockiness. Now that I felt it again, I realised how long it had been. I missed it and was glad it was back. Like it or not, it’s a part of me.
I felt a renewed sense of the future. I had no clear idea of what was in store for me; it was more like now that was done, I knew I had entered the next stage, and there would be stages to come after that. The road may be wreathed in mist, but it goes on.
There was one strange effect. I’ve always been a man with a strong sexual appetite. I felt none of that after surgery. I argued to myself that was to be expected given the immense damage done to me, including parts related to that. It would take time to recover and build up my energy again, and with that, the desire would return. I felt a little embarrassed, nonetheless, and unmanned (I know it’s stupid). But, like the cockiness, this was a part of me, and I didn’t want to lose it.
But then I felt it come back. It seems apparent that much of the gap was psychological. I would survive, so that desire – and no doubt others – came flooding back. It feels good, but I’m a long way from dating again.
I started back at work on Monday, also. It’s meant to be three hours a day, but I’ve done a fair bit more than that already. There’s a lot to catch up on, and soon as people hear you’re back, more things land on your desk. I’m fine with that. I’m still battling fatigue and some pain – I’m on Endone now – though I feel the trend is positive.
You never know, I may crack the Moet this weekend.