It slipped my mind

Christmas has been an oddly emotional and strange time for me since I was diagnosed. When I first found the lump in September 2009, the first thing which came to my mind was that I would not be alive to see the coming Christmas.  When Christmas 2009 came, not long after in weeks, but after a new lifetime of surgery, treatments, needles, appointments, a whole new vocabulary and learning to live with the cancer mindset, I was incredibly emotional.  I struggled to hold tears in check when carol singers were singing a version of Jingle Bells in Myanmar outside our gate.  I crumbled again last year, when the carollers came into our house and my composure was just to difficult to maintain.

So this year, I felt the first wobbles as we approached Christmas and I saw the carollers outside neighbouring gates.  However, I left Yangon on the 23 December for my Mrauk U adventure and immediately was caught up in the immediate, making plans and exploring.

I arrived in Mrauk U on Christmas Eve and spent the rest of the day exploring on foot and taking a ridiculous amount of photographs.  On Christmas Day I hired a bicyce and expored the nearly villages and temples, getting lost a number of times and having a wonderful time.  I seemed to provide a great source of entertainment, asking for directions and questions, stopping for a cold drink in a roadside stall and returning to my hotel dusty and hungry for Christmas Dinner.


On Boxing Day, I hired a pony and cart to explore the further away temples and minimise the getting lost portion of the activity.  Towards the end of the afternoon, after a day where I saw only three or four other temple tourists the whole day, I was exploring the atmospheric ruins of a temple complex when I remembered.  I suddenly remembered that I had been dreading the approaching Christmas and its memories of not surviving to see Christmas 2009.  I remembered that I had been extremely fragile the previous year.  But something had shifted in my mind which put cancer to the side more than I realised and it completely slipped my mind.

Cancer is still very much in the forefront of my mind, and I am sure it will continue to be.  However, the fact that this memory of being so emotional and connecting it so clearly with Christmas has faded so much shows me clearly that my mind is healing more than I had realised.  For once I am incredibly thankful that I forgot something!


11 thoughts on “It slipped my mind

    • Thanks Ronnie, yes I hadn’t realised at first that the impact emotionally is so great. Healing takes time and I feel that seeing our proress is important, even though it is less visible.

  1. Yes, another reminder that the ‘healing’ of cancer is done on so many levels, and it’s something that needs to happen over years…. but it’s good that you found peace this Christmas. Your trip photos are amazing.

    • So very true, Sarah, it is a long and often hidden process. I am incredibly fortunate to have been able to have such an experience over Christmas, and that played a bit part in finding that psychological peace. There are still quite a few more pictures to come 😉 I’m organising them according to broad theme. I’m glad you enjoyed them, and thanks for your kind words 🙂 I so often think of you when I am taking the flora ones!

  2. I’m so thankful that your emotions are healing. It takes time, but the transformation is real. It’s been nine years this month that I have been free from my second bout with cancer. It’s still on my mind, but in a different sort of way than before. Hard to explain, but very profound.

    • Thank you Jan – yes it is true, the transformation is perceptible. I hadn’t expected it and they way describe it resonates. I still think about cancer, I am highly aware of the risk of recurrence, but it is somehow a bit different. Thank you 🙂

    • I have to confess that sometimes I frighten myself with my wild notions! When I look back to the time before I started my work in Asia, I could never have imagined the incredible things I have been able to see and do. Having had cancer makes me realise that I can’t take it for granted that I can always do the things I want to, so I want to make of this time when I am in good health and savour this. Thank you so much for your support and encouragement 🙂

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  4. Pingback: A Christmas Exploring Mrauk U (Part 2 of the adventure) « Feisty Blue Gecko – a tail of the unexpected

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