THE BLOG

Sadness and Happiness

07/05/2015 22:07 BST | Updated 06/05/2016 10:59 BST

Yesterday was a tough day.

I awoke to the news that one of my online friends had passed away. She was a beautiful and very special person, with an inspirational attitude (I don't use the "i" word lightly). She had made her peace with the fact that she was dying and had found ways to channel what energy remained into creating lasting memories for her children. She had found serenity. She wrote this to me, just four weeks ago:

"Think, everyone's on a journey. Ours a rocky one but look at our legacy. Our blood running through their veins, our wisdom, our image. Their magical path to make & I've no doubt the adversity will make strong, wonderful souls who stand united. Everyone must leave, I teach my kids to be mindful of death so they grasp life & for you & me... Coping mechanisms are the key.. Let go of old you (easier said than done I know!) enjoy what u enjoy! Buy that dress, cake, champagne whatever makes you happy & when you feel the sadness, go with it."

What wisdom. And yesterday, I felt the sadness because the world had lost this truly special lady.

The day got worse when I learned that my platelet levels had reached an all-time low and I wasn't able to have my chemo. Instead I had platelet transfusion and I will see my oncologist tomorrow to discuss how we go forward from here, as the chemo is clearly battering me.

To top it all off, one of my very best cancer friends found out yesterday that chemo is still not keeping her liver lodgers under control. She has been in horrid pain for some weeks and is now going in to a hospice for some pain management, in the hope of recovering enough to take part in a clinical trial. She seems in reasonably good spirits, but the "h" word (hospice) panicked me and I am unable to get her out of my head.

So the sadness grew and grew. It is hard to describe but it is definitely palpable. It is like a wave - starting far out to sea, swelling and growing, crashing on the shore. It is like a piece of music, building, repeating, reaching a crescendo. It has a colour - a sort of grey, purple, smoke-like quality, suffocating and all-consuming. And with the sadness comes fear - fear for my friends, fear for my own future, fear for my kids and my husband and my parents of having to deal with life without me. I know that my chemo is working at the moment, but the sadness quashes the hope and allows the fear to find a way back in. The sadness renders me heavy-limbed; the fear pins me down. It is hard to see beyond, to grasp the positivity.

Reading the last paragraph back, I am struck by how melodramatic it sounds. Melodrama isn't me and it is perhaps for this reason that it tends not to last all that long. I awoke this morning feeling tentatively better. Hope and positivity aren't radiating this morning, but the sadness and fear aren't either. Today I feel that things are finely balanced. Good news, a good experience, a happy thought will allow the light in, but bad news may bring back the grey purple fog. So I will take my friend's advice and try to find something today that makes me happy. Happiness is yellow and orange and warm and sweet. Happiness takes away the fear. People take happiness for granted but they shouldn't, because it is so fragile, so fleeting, so easily defeated. Happiness is like a delicate flower and needs to be nurtured. Today I am going to water that flower.