Saturday, 9 March 2013

To Good Health and friendship

I had a health scare. It was only a few weeks ago but the word biopsy sends shivers through me even now. It wasn't dramatic, but for a moment I experienced fear. Fear of the 'C' word. 

I have been through this before, 5 or 6 years ago. Same sort of thing: a lump where lumps should not be. It was fine! I had my ultrasound and they told me that I didn't have cancer. The end. I have never even thought of it since, until I found the new lump which felt...different. A scary different.

Things have changed in the NHS since the last time. For a start, things take a lot longer and there were far more women being shipped through the same process. Then I had the biopsy sprung on me (I was expecting to be told I could go home, and I felt myself shaking as they told me. I'm not scared of things like that, it was the shock). It hurt.

I received a non-diagnosis. This is the NHS' way of saying 'we don't see any cancer but we aren't going to say you haven't got it in case you sue our arses if, on the remote possibility, you do and we missed it'. It does not comfort you.

I was also told that I'm suffering from stress (well, it was a stressful situation...). The consultant asked me about my lifestyle and job. He was very passionate about stress in the work place being the cause of so many illnesses. I didn't realise that it can increase the risk of cancer as well. I have always just accepted that my job can be stressful and carried on.

Over the winter, I have not been out exercising like I used to. Sure, I still go to kung fu which can burn up to 1000 calories in an evening, but that's pretty much it.

Exercise for me is like water to a plant: I need it. Even S commented on that fact when we were stuck in the car for hours travelling up to Scotland. Without it, my stress levels increase, and I get a bit grumpy and restless. So, stage one is to get back into running (no problem. In fact, I have been waiting for the lighter evenings). I went out on Wednesday and it was really good. Oh. and I seem to have been signed up for a half marathon. I don't know how...

Because I am virtually in constant pain, I have been told to change my diet. I don't know why but I am rebelling. Being told to do something for your own good is fine...but being told you can't have something makes you instantly want it. Why is that? 

The irony is, other than caffeine and the very rare piece of cake I managed to acquire from work, I had no interest in these bad foods before I was told "no". Now I find myself running around work hunting for biscuits like a ravenous vulture searching a desert for carrion. I am not impressed but I can't help it.

I am hoping everything will balance out in the end.

Rebellions aside, the whole thing has taught me a number of lessons. 1. Life is much more fragile than we choose to think. 2. good health is important. 3. friends, who are there for you no matter what, are the most precious gift.

I also discovered the people who aren't genuine friends...people who actually didn't really give a shit about my situation and cared more about themselves and the fact that I wasn't there to help them with their dramas. I'm 33 and I'm still learning.

Friendship is a two-way thing. Some friends are always going to be transitory (i.e. you need that kind of friendship then you move on) , and other friends are with you for life.

My friend, M, sat with me for the full four hours of the first hospital session. I knew other friends were there for me if I needed to talk. That is friendship.

So two things you shouldn't take for granted: your health and your friends. You wouldn't do very well without them.


  1. Sorry to hear you have some health problems at the moment. As I was reading your post, I was thinking that I needed to ask who had gone to the hospital with you. I'm glad someone was there with you. Support is good whether the news is good, bad or indifferent.

    I agree on health and friends. The latter is something that has been on my mind of late and that I need to find some way to make some good friendships. In fact, I was talking to G about that very thing last night, as it somewhat gets be down. London is not a great place to make friends - and I say that as a Londoner!

    Anyway, this isn't about me. I hope you get some resolution soon and that the pain is dealt with. The lighter nights are just round the corner, so enjoy your runs.

    Take care xx

  2. Hi RR,

    Thanks for your message. :-)

    I can imagine that finding friends in a city, despite there being so many people, is much harder. People distrust other people and, I know in London, you can't even smile at people on the tube without instant suspicion being raised.

    I grew up without any close friends, just a few kids I would hang out with at lunchtime in school and have occasional trips out with. College was painfully lonely. Uni was a bit better. I didn't develop any close friendships until I was 22. That was just one.Then I met M when I was 28 at a photography course.

    After a very negative relationship a couple years back, I went on a serious search for more friends. I didn't know anyone like me (gay). So I went on Gaydargirls. Not the best place to find friends, I discovered. I met a lot of women, had a lot of interesting experiences (!) and met a few weirdos too (one, I have to say, was so scary that I had to flee from the cafe we met at and drive some very random roads to make sure that she wasn't following, lol). From the transitory friendships to the serious ones, I gained a lot from that time. I learned about myself and about what I wanted from friendship, and, also, what I could give in a friendship too.

    I hope that you find the kind of friends that everyone deserves. Sometimes the best friendships come from random, unexpected places.

    My health will be fine in the end, it is an excuse to practice patience, plus the lighter evenings are superb already. I have been on several runs and am building up my stamina again. I love the Spring in Cornwall.

    C xx

  3. Thanks for your words of wisdom. I used to have some very good friends, particularly at and post-university. However, things change, including when said friends are not terribly supportive around issues of sexuality ("flee from sin" was a somewhat surprising (and not a joking) response from the person who was apparently my best friend!).

    I can imagine Gaydargirls is a source of all sorts of interesting experiences! I think I need to get involved with some more activities because I would imagine it is easier to find some common ground with people if you are involved in a shared activity or interest e.g. a book group etc.

    That said, there are other distractions going on at the moment because G and I think we might have found a house we want to buy!

    Each the exercise and light evenings xx

  4. Hi RR,
    I wish I had words of wisdom, but I am only learning in life...a student.It must be heartbreaking to lose friends in such a way, and I guess it would be difficult to trust people in future.

    I hope you have found the house you want to buy! Exciting times for you ahead, I'm sure.
    C xx

  5. Found the perfect house, but couldn't persaude the owners to accept my money. Ho hum...

    The search continues!