INTO THE WILDERNESS: CANCER

cANCER DIAGNOSIS

During my lifetime I have endured many things and faced many challenges, but the most frightening and demanding challenge came when I was diagnosed with a serious blood cancer in 2013. Cancer was something that I always feared greatly, and thought I would never get through if it ever happened to me. So, it was with great shock that I heard the Haemotologist saying to me,

“Mrs. Lewis,you have cancer..

Stunned was not the word for how I felt. It had not been expected – at least, not by me. I had indeed been very ill for almost a year, had lost five stones in weight over a short period of time, had the most appalling itch and bleeding sores all over my body, suffered terrible night sweats, and could hardly breathe for the retching very deep cough that I had. But my doctor put it all down to stress- although my family never believed this.

It could be said that it was a miracle when my doctor went on holiday and a new doctor came to see me at home one day, for immediately she saw that there was something seriously wrong. She did not voice her fears to me, but sent me straight to the hospital, where eventually I was given the news.

In the room that day were my husband and my mother, and it was strange how calm everyone, including me, was.

“Will it kill me?” I asked the Haemotologist.

“I don’t know,” he replied.

I was stunned. My mother started absent- mindedly kissing my head. The nurse in her plastic apron looked down and studied the floor. I remained calm, and it was not until one of the nurses started to push me along the corridor in my wheelchair that I began to sob violently.

“We get people better in here,” she said.

Had she not heard the Haemotologist say that he did not know if it would kill me?

My husband, my mother and I went home, and my husband telephoned my brother who was on holiday, on Holy Island, and told him the terrible news. My brother told us later that the seals on Holy Island had been quiet all morning, but as he was given this awful news, they all began to wail.

Today I am in remission, having faced the biggest challenge of my life. But the cancer and the aggressive chemotherapy left me blind, wheelchair bound, unable to feel with my hands and feet, and often in pain. I am 68 years of age, and my husband too is wheelchair bound, as he is suffering from Post-Polio Syndrome.

Life continues to hold many challenges for us, but now, I can honestly say that I am glad I had cancer, for it gave me the opportunity to rise to the biggest challenge of my life, and to show myself that I could do it.

The chemotherapy was, in the words of the. ward Sister, a “leap of faith,” and that is what this site is all about – faith. At the beginning, I did not think I had much, but i now kno w that it was only faith that got me through. It was a rough ride, but here. i am now, alive, though marked by the experience. I a m learning to live as a blind person in a wheelchair , but I am happy.

I would like to share with you some of my journey, and my Reflections on it. Though I am physically in the dark, in my spirit I am in the light. The greatest light that I have ever known. I have days when I am in pain and grief, but at the same time I am also in the light.

I hope you enjoy visiting this site, and that you find some of the things in it helpful.

My first poem, in the Reflections section is about my brother receiving the news on Holy Island.

Thankyou for visiting this site.

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