Before The Cancer (still said in mockney, in case you were wondering), I worried A LOT. I worried about EVERYTHING. I even worried about the amount I worried.
Don't get me wrong, I had (and still have) a lot to worry about. As a mother I worried about how little money we had and was either worrying about my girls in childcare when I found work, or worried about not providing enough when I took time out of work because they were miserable without me. I worried about the example I was setting for them and worried in advance about what they would say later on in life about how they were raised.
As a daughter and a sister I worried about being the family flunk. I was the only one to go to a grammar school and university but had progressed the least in life. I was hard up, praying for pin money jobs and nor grown up enough to keep a house consistently tidy or a fridge well stocked. The girls were always fed and cared for but it's become part of their world to know mummy and tidy don't go together. It made me worry they may not feel so secure.
As a friend I worried about my spontaneity/impulsiveness. I've always been the funny one but I worried that when friends needed someone in an hour of need they were likely to turn to another grown up, not the one who is always late with a story to tell.
As a woman I worried about growing old. I worried I was untoned and unlovable. I worried my best years were behind me and I had frittered them away. I thought of all the times I had lost myself in a party in my twenties and got drunk drunk and all the stupid things I had done to my hair and makeup and outlandish clothes I had worn when perhaps I should have been putting that energy into seeing the world or been better at settling down when the time came. Instead of being wild and mildly tamed.
The list goes on.
Days in to my diagnosis, as I attempted and failed to get my head round the enormity of having an on the turn breasticle, I thought saying 'I've got cancer' would be a silencing statement. I naively thought it would be simple enough to call the bank and the credit card company and all the other businesses who are owed money and say 'I've got cancer ' and they would say 'oh, erm, oh (being British about it) and they would tell me not to worry until I was feeling better. Unfortunately not. I also thought it would be the same in terms of benefits. If you read the papers there's loads of people doing things they shouldn't, right? Not in my case. I have to provide forms, evidence and so on to the right agencies in a timely manner and all at the same time ( this can take at least a full working day on the phone) because if I'm seen to alert one first and they inform the others, part of our income will be suspended until we provide evidence and this can take weeks to remedy.
Learning that life goes on has been a humbling experience. In these past few weeks I have learned worry is not harmful to your health and neither caused The Cancer nor will bring about my demise. We all worry, as we should. I've learned to take life more slowly and instead of worrying about what the girls will think of me in tr future, I worry about what they will think of me today. We play more, I worry less about cleaning.
I'm enjoying the time I have with my family and friends. It's funny how having more people to visit it motivation enough to keep things in a bit better order.
Even though the red topped letters are still coming in I'm not worried. I finally get it that compared to things, my girls would rather have me with them. I realise now I have made a success of my life- nor through being wealthy or having a good job. It's impossible to be surrounded by such a fantastic community, wonderful and supportive friends and a caring family and think of yourself as a failure.