It slipped itself in between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve, waved, smiled, winked and left. I gave a nod of appreciation, lifted an imaginary glass of champagne (imaginary because you know The Body That Got Cancer likes to keep a firm eye on its units and the bubbles had been flowing since Christmas Eve) and took just a moment, a quiet moment - I'm still not ready to dance on the tables - to say thank you.
With the 27th December came my second Cancerversary. I'm superstitious. I know enough to know that we can never dismiss the potential for secondaries or, indeed, that any of us can be complacent about the potential for a primary cancer to form, but I'm grateful for the relative peace and calm that my Two Year Cancerversary brings.
Last year I wrote about my first Cancerversary here. It was a cautious celebration in a sort of raw, new girl at school kind of way: knowing it should be fun but not quite ready to let down all my defences. This year I feel more settled in, comfortable, that I understand the post cancer diagnosis and treatment world into which I was plunged and most days I can cope with it quite effortlessly, thank you.
The Fear which I wrote about here, does still haunt me from time to time. I've had a few scares, just admirable vigilance on behalf of the medical profession, and although my style is to busy myself so that I have no room left to fret, the fear does nonetheless manage to settle itself in over the top of my brain sometimes and leak into my thoughts. It's not an undue pressure, nothing like the early days of The Wait and The Not Knowing, nothing like the fear of recurrence when chemo finished and for a few months after, but it's 'just there', in an annoying little tic kind of way.
So, from the position of being two years post cancer diagnosis, I would like to say to anybody who is further back on this rocky road than I am, it does get better and it gets a whole lot easier.
Most of my work was on hold during my year of treatments so I only really started back to teaching and editing at the beginning of 2015 and you know, I'd really missed the buzz of writers excited about their stories. My return to work this year has been a baptism of fire with the writing and promotion of Tea And Chemo to throw into the mix, plus the small matter of my final edits on Glass Houses, which we'll gloss over because I'm a little behind on those. But it's been wonderful to be back to full busy-ness again. Although sometimes I curse the stairs up to my office after dinner or at the weekend, cancer taught me, if I didn't already know, that sitting still doesn't really work for me.
This year other people I know have been diagnosed with cancer, some very young people in my online group have developed secondaries. Some have died from them. My heart breaks a little every time. Not for me, so far I continue to be one of the lucky ones, but because cancer is still such an enormous thorn in the side of human health. Great strides have been made in all areas of cancer diagnoses, cure and care but until we can take a pill to rid ourselves of cancer before it even suggests any danger, until we have 100% accurate diagnostic tests to take action before it dares to become a possibility, we must keep fundraising, caring and raising awareness.
This Cancerversary, in addition to the wonders of the medical profession that blasted the cancer cells and my family and friends who kept me sane and continue to do so, I'd also like to thank Matthew Smith, owner of Urbane Publications. Right from the start, when Tea And Chemo was a collection of blog posts and an idea, Matthew determined that Urbane Publications would also give every penny of profit to the three charities I was keen to support:The Haven in Leeds, The Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre in Harrogate and the national charity, Breast Cancer Now.
If you are interested in buying a copy of Tea And Chemo, your purchase will help the three charities. If you are not interested in buying a copy of Tea And Chemo, that's ok, I need never know… but you could still give your pennies to one of these three charities and then you wouldn't feel half as bad :)
Meanwhile, I'm off to celebrate because it's New Year's Eve and the new year coming, the adventures we don't yet know, now that's something I really love to celebrate. Have a wonderful new year lovely readers, may 2016 be filled with life-affirming moments.