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Finding Courage After Cancer

RuthThe Recovery ‘To Do’ List

Two years after major surgery for kidney cancer I feel some sunlight filtering through the black hole I fell into since my diagnosis, though I’m still working on getting the full extent of the sunrays to reach me.

Materially, life for me looks different to my life before. I have moved house, changed jobs and cars, even got a new email address and phone. Then I had two adventurous holidays abroad, ran a half marathon, got my camper van, and turned 40.

Much of this was well-planned, however during the recovery time after my operation I decided to make a huge ‘to do’ list and undertook a few changes as soon as it was safe to do so.

Stability vs. Change

My main motivation was my son who was four years old at the time of my diagnosis. I needed to keep his life as predictable as possible so I was unable to consider anyone else but myself and him. This caused some interesting times. I had to involve people, while keeping them at arm’s length.

But I also had this overwhelming need to keep moving and planning; it was a way of coping with moving forward. Two years later, I wonder why I am exhausted!

Campervan Dreams Campervan After Cancer

It has only been recently that I’ve felt able to start addressing my journey. I have taken up counselling – which has its pros and cons. The most helpful step has been our purchase of a campervan. We’d always talked about it and had been saving for years- now we finally did it!

It suits my lifestyle after cancer as we just pop in it after work and go (my new job is also part time which helps) and we have travelled all over Scotland. Life has become more about our campervan than cancer. 

I still dread scans and facing that real vulnerability, but I need to remind myself I am being well monitored. I still feel slightly isolated and I’d love to meet up with someone who has went through this journey. 

I take nothing for granted. Every single experience I have with my husband and son is magnified in a way which may have been less before my diagnosis. And I know whatever the future holds can be dealt with.

Meantime, I am living the life I want. A life I may never have had the courage to live before cancer.

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Stuart Brereton (not verified)

Had kidney removed feb 2018 , regular checkups , 2nd nature now going for me tests and scans , feel lucky that i was caught in time , and cannot praise our nhs for looking after me , Enough of cancer !! Getting camper van , plan to tour when ever we get urge, most of the time me thinks !!! , Me , Karen and our beagle friend Nelson

Rachel Naylor ? (not verified)

I had kidney cancer 2 years ago too, i get ya ?

Bob (not verified)

I was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2016 and finished chemotherapy in June 2017 my last scan showed me cancer free.