Thursday, 5 March 2015

"It's in the Trees, It's Coming!"

Wise people say that the months following chemotherapy can be more emotionally challenging than the cancer treatment itself.

This is because, whilst there is an expectation that now treatment is over everything is going to be fine, there are actually some unpleasant feelings lurking in the back of your mind that haven't been properly addressed yet. These feelings like shock, anger, guilt, sadness, anxiety and so on, often associated with grief and loss (of hair, health, identity, carefreeness, etc), can catch up with you when all the fuss has died down, and poke you in the eye with a stick.

Having read about this fact in one of the useful leaflets they give you at hospital, I put my name down for telephone/Skype counseling when I visited the Penny Brohn centre in October, even though there was a waiting list of several months. I floated slowly up the waiting list and today I reached the top and had my first telephone counseling session.

I was surprised and pleased with how it went. As I burbled on about myself, the small possibility of my cancer returning came up, and I said something that I hadn't said or thought before: "I feel like there's a gun pointing at my head". The gun may be small, far away, and it's hidden in the dark of the trees in the distance. It might not be loaded and it might never go off, but I know it's there and that's a bit scary.

After we said a cheerful goodbye and hung up, I lay down for a while in my daughter's bedroom where the morning sun pours in and it's super-warm. I then got up, made a cup of coffee, promised Austin we'd go for a dog walk soon and pondered the gun-in-the-trees thought.

It reminds me of this - a hauntingly beautiful and deliciously brilliant song by Kate Bush.


  1. I really think therapy ought to be part of every cancer (or other serious,possibly relapsing illness) journey. I have a lot of people who are sent to me post-diagnosis.

  2. I can imagine there is a lot to get your head around. At the time when it is first diagnosed, you are sucked into appointments and treatment and it is only when the dust has settled that you have a chance to THINK. You sound quite brave and as if you are coping but I am glad the counselling is helping.