New Year is of course traditionally a time of merriment and horrendous hangovers followed by positive change or at least really, really good intentions thereof. (I am a champion in the art of unrealised resolutions, but, hey, it’s the thought that counts!)
Last Hogmanay saw me in a pretty emotional state, delighted to bid an extremely unfond farewell to the absolute bawbag of a year that was 2014 at last, and filled with optimism and hope for a brighter, better 2015. And, in its own strange way, 2015 was an improvement on its thoroughly shitey predecessor but the good times have come with shocking disappointments and setbacks and a growing acceptance that what we now consider “good news” in the Shooter household is far removed from anything that we ever imagined could be considered uplifting.
Revelations such as “your lung nodule has only grown a mm” are received as news worthy of popping the champagne. A year ago, a traumatised and much more naive me thought that that lung nodule would be long gone by now, expertly excised by a surgeon who would provide my passport to a “normal” cancer- free life and that I would be forging forward, a fair bit wiser, perhaps occasionally reflecting on That Shitty Year I had Cancer. Filled with life’s possibilities, I welcomed 2015 as a kind of saviour. A proper fresh start. Instead, I end the year on the last possible licensed drug available to me, with a smattering of growths fresh since the innocence of last New Year’s Day.
So now I broach 2016 with trepidation. In theory, it’s a year which looms ominously. My overwhelming instinct is to crawl into bed around 9pm on Hogmanay, switch out the lights and coccoon myself away until mid-January, when I will emerge (a beautiful butterfly?) and pretend that I am still plodding through 2015 (this glorious year that the medical experts didn’t think I would cark it in.)
But, but, but… in the midst of the fear (and I can’t lie, sometimes it’s overwhelming), I have felt a welcome burst of renewed hope and optimism. So what, the prognosis doesn’t look good? Actually, I am in no different a state health wise than I was in the summer. I’m strong, my hair is shining, my cheeks are rosy and when I’m not in a medication-induced fug of exhaustion, I’m having a bloody great time, thank you very much. There’s scarcely, probably never, a day goes by when I don’t have a good old raucous laugh, I have an amazing pair of gorgeous children who drive me insane and subsume my heart with utter joy in more or less equal measure (often simultaneously) and a husband who continues to astound me with his support, love and excellent and prolific tea-making skills. My parents love me. I have a much-treasured extended family, including a beautiful newborn niece, who I plan on getting to know (and corrupt with my devious Auntie ways. Watch out Alasdair and Mel! ). My friends are a hoot and distraction when needed and a collection of lovely shoulders to cry on when things seem, well, just too much. I’ve got tickets for the Manics and Neil Young mid-year and a hankering to revisit Kendal Calling. Beavering away in their labs around the country, researchers are coming up with more and more inventive and effective ways of treating this horrible disease and I have a good feeling that when the time comes, I’ll find myself on an amazing trial. One that may be “The Cure”.
I’ve got feck all reason to leave. And so this Hogmanay, you’ll find me in an unflattering party hat, glass aloft, probably a wee tear in my eye, ringing in the new. Yup, 2016, I say to you: BRING IT ON!