1 year on…

Today marks 1 year since my diagnosis! And I’m ALIVE! I say it in a jokey way but the truth is I’m so grateful. Thinking back to the 4th Feb 2020, the one thing I wanted to know and the one thing no-one was able to tell me (and still aren’t) is how much time I have. But I’m slowly coming round to the idea that the answer is irrelevant because we should be living each day to it’s fullest … I mean how much time do any of us have on this earth? What I do now and how I choose to live today is what counts.

Quick summary of some of the most poignant things I’ve learnt in the last year:

  1. Trust God – I know it’s not everyone’s way… but it’s my only way. He is my safe place & my strength through it all.
  2. My family is just incredible – I don’t know how I would’ve got through the last 12 months without my ‘A-Team’. There is so much love and respect between each person. I think the picture for this blog explains it best – all different parts of one heart… everyone brings something different but everyone slots together to make a formidable unit. I’m so lucky and I’m so grateful for my amazing family.
  3. I have awesome friends – it shouldn’t take a life changing incident to appreciate your friends & relationships but I think I needed it and I think maybe some of my friends needed it as well! I mean that in the nicest way possible… we always just assume we will have time to build bridges, we will have time to show someone how much we care and we always say “I’ll be there for you”… well this was the year I needed you and you were all right there by my side πŸ™‚
  4. You’re much stronger than you know – I’m learning a lot about my will, my drive, my motivation… and I’m pleasantly surprised with some of the steps I’ve finally started taking forward even though it was probably easier to just feel sorry for myself. And on that point – my shoulder is firmly lodged back in its socket and I’m fitter and physically stronger than I have ever been!
  5. It’s ok not to be ok – this journey has been a rollercoaster of incredibly high highs and extremely low lows… and I’m learning to embrace both aspects. I think the physical battle is what it is, but it’s the emotional battle which is the toughest – so I’m just learning to give myself time to slowdown and reset when it gets too much.
  6. Celebrate life – don’t take anything for granted and live in the moment. Easier said than done, but changing my focus to what is in front of me has given me a gratitude for the simple things in life that we take for granted – and that in turn has helped me shape a much more positive mindset. Do silly things, do crazy things, do things you want to do and always do things for others.

These last few days have been so strange – I’ve tried not to think about the fact that the 4th Feb is like a new milestone day for me. Every year I make it to the 4th Feb from now on is a massive achievement and that makes me grateful but also sad. I just keep thinking of the things I was doing leading up to 4th Feb last year – how care free I was… how different my priorities were… how I thought I had all the time in the world to achieve my dreams… how I just assumed I would always be there for my girls through every stage of their lives… how blissfully unaware I was of what was to come. It’s giving me chills down my spine just writing this – glad the heating is on! Honestly speaking, I’m not sure how to explain it – I think when you know you have a ticking time bomb inside of you, there are days where you can’t shake off the question of “what if something is changing inside me now… time is up” and that’s a hard feeling to just move on from. I certainly couldn’t do it without the faith I have in God – I know I keep coming back to it, but it’s the reason why I smile through each day… even when inside there are times I might be crying – there is a peace that surrounds me because I know my safe place is in the palm of God’s hand.

I know 2020 was a year to forget for the whole world, but seriously, talk about timing – 4th Feb I get diagnosed with a brain tumour, mid-Feb Coronavirus has become a pretty serious deal, 23rd March the entire country is in lockdown! As my brother in law said at the time – God was so upset with your illness that he put everyone into lockdown! All jokes aside, I know it’s been difficult and different for everyone, but that first lockdown was such a welcome break for me and my family to just breath – a chance to press pause on the chaotic start to the year, take it all in and figure out how to move forward again. Those first 4 or 5 months after diagnosis were actually the best, really positive outlook on everything, lots of love being poured in, super productive, boxes getting ticked left right & centre, being the best version of me… I think everyone around me were wondering how I could be so positive and when I was going to crack… and it’s not that I cracked but I did have to wade through some really tough moments. The problem with having super high moments or a really good day/week, is that it’s hard to make every single day that amazing with that much productivity and that much achievement. I felt guilty to sit on the sofa and Netflix binge, I felt guilty to sleep in… and I began filling my day with an unhealthy and unnecessary amount of tasks just to say I achieved something that day – to some extent I am still doing that. My mum and dad always complain that I never sit still and I always have to be doing something… and I was thinking about that this week – and I think there’s something inside me that doesn’t want anyone to see my pain or see me as weak and conversely I don’t want to see the pain of my loved ones when they ask me if I’m ok… I think it’s just better to be busy and show everyone that I’m just fine. Every single person in my family has been a rock, no-one has broken down in front of me – but I know they must have their moments when I’m not there and that breaks me… they always say death is worse for the people you leave behind and that thought really bothers me; as much as I want to be here for every beautiful moment that is to come, I wouldn’t want the people I love to spend time in sadness over me. I guess that’s the conundrum of life and death… and that’s also why it’s best to leave that hard work to the big guy and I’ll just get on with doing what I can. And I’m not going to lie, I don’t want my life to have been meaningless – I want to leave a legacy, do something purposeful, do something encouraging and empowering for others and leave something for my girls to take on and be proud of.

I apologise for the rambling! This blog is an honest trail of my thoughts… so let’s shift from a minor scale to a major scale! When you discount the crap from the last year… I’ve actually had an incredible year! I achieved so much more than I could’ve imagined, I wrote so much more music, I’ve reconnected some really meaningful relationships, I gained a nephew who I have the honour of sharing a name with, I proudly saw Chindhu take on new job roles, we got a dog, I got time that I wanted with my girls – to watch them both learn piano, singing, guitar, see Avaana’s first tooth fall out, see Arya learn to read & write and personally speaking, I’m really beginning to find my own purpose. I know there are still many good days and difficult days to come but I’m not going anywhere. There is so much to look forward to – and regardless of how much time there is, I will do everything in my power to keep this show on the road and keep pressing forward.

One last thing – sometimes I wonder why I even started writing this blog (I’m pretty sure others do too!), why did I share my personal battle with everyone… I could’ve just written a diary and kept it to myself in my drawer – but if I can help or inspire just one person through their own personal battle, then every word in these blogs was worth it. I pray if you’re someone in the fight of your life or you know someone fighting for their life, these entries give you some comfort that you are not on your own and its ok to ask for help. I’m a person who has always worn my heart on my sleeve, I’m loud, I’m not good at holding things in… and so why should I do so while I go through the biggest battle of my life – surely the bigger my army, the more chance I have of fighting this. You have no idea how much the messages I receive from family, friends and readers lift me up – they can come from the most random people at the most random times, but actually the timing is always perfect – it gives me encouragement, it turns a bad day into a much better day, it raises my spirits and gives me renewed strength to never give up and to keep fighting.

Thank you

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