I’ve been trying to live my life after being diagnosed (and put into remission) with lymphoma. The more I look back, the further away it feels… but a simple reminder can take me back to that dark place instantly.
I haven’t been avoiding the cancer circus, but trying to live a life where I don’t have to associate myself with the word so often. It’s the scars it has left behind on my world, that aren’t always noticeable, however they are definitely there. All it takes is one second, one memory, one thing to remind me of what happened. For example, during my hospital stay, one of the ICU nurses allowed me to play music on her computer and I told her just to stick on a playlist featuring the top hits. And I remember the first song that came on was No Tears Left To Cry by Ariana Grande and that song just resonated with me so much during that period. So when I moved into my stay at the cancer ward it was the one song I had on repeat in my hospital room. Now whenever I hear that song, it takes me back to that hospital room. It’s not necessarily a bad thing as it’s good to remember how far you’ve come, but when in the wrong mindset it can send me down an emotional hole. And it’s not just Ariana Grande… Shawn Mendes and his song In My Blood was a hit with me at the time, as I found it sad, yet ironic.
One thing I did as soon as possible was completely re-design my room and decorate as much as I possibly could. After chemotherapy you spend a lot of time in your room, and looking at the same walls can drive you crazy. I really highly recommend changing your bedroom. I’m so glad I did. I’ve changed to brighter colours, to remind myself that there is beauty in the world. And I’m slowly in the process of changing my furniture, so far I’ve brought a new dresser and bedside table. But sometimes the small things in my room can still take me back, knowing it’s a work-in-progress though is a good thing.
You might think this is a strange one, but the weather. When I was having my treatment, the weather was hot and humid, my body struggled a lot, especially in the unbearable heatwave we had last year. Usually, hot and humid weather can actually make me feeling a bit sick and remind me of that time last year. Luckily, summer was never my favourite season so cancer didn’t take that one away from me.
The reminders are tough, and I’ve learnt that I’m probably always going to have these reminders, often or not. From symptoms, to memories, furniture and the weather. It’s always going to be there. However, choosing what to do with it is the important part, allow yourself to look back, but don’t dwell on it. Life always moves forward, and brighter days will follow as will new dark ones… you know what they say life is a damn rollercoaster.