"Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled About the centre of the silent Word." ~ T.S Eliot
All too soon, my six week appointment comes around. Oh, I'm not dreading the news, my lovely surgeon telephoned three weeks after the operation and gave me the fantastic news that it had been a success, there were no nasty tumours in my womb, (did she really have to be taken out? Can I really afford to think about that?) and that the surgery was the conclusion to my treatment.
"Come and see me in three weeks time, we'll see that you've healed up, and we can sign you off and you can get on with your life"
He has a slight Aussie accent and a cheery disposition and dresses like any male consultant gynaecologist I ever scrubbed for or have been examined by.
I am no stranger to cancer. I nursed many sufferers, my mum died in my arms of this disease...it's horrible, so cruel to so many, so why was I not quite ready for my journey to end?
I had not felt fear during any of this, it was debilitating and did not allow me to carry on my normal life. Perhaps that's why I loved it so. It was a big hand, held up just for me,
"Stop the world," it's voice said,
"this woman needs to get off."
I've been saying the same myself, for years, but no-one listened. Mr M and I talked, argued, cried, all in the allotted time between waking and him driving to the office, but when he had to go, he had to go. I would pick myself up from the floor, the callousness of his walking away, listening for him to return to comfort me, part of me praying that he would not. He never, ever did.
We discussed the weight of his work some time back. It comes first, it always has. It pays the bills and feeds the kids, I can't argue with it. When he admitted that it was his life, he was his work, I felt relieved, and excused of
some of my failings, realising that I had truly been alone much of the time. I feel at my most lonely when I'm with him, and his BlackBerry. However much 'making time for ourselves' I engineered, I never managed to get his attention.
Cancer got his attention. It made time for ourselves. Mr Mac looked at me and I could feel him seeing me. The world no longer whirled, it slowed, and there we were in the moment, laughing at something silly. I wasn't afraid of it ( I was genuinely more afraid of the dental treatment I had to have in preparation for possible chemotherapy) and he admired my courage, my brave and positive approach. He said as much, to me and to other people where usually, he ignores me, or goes into a jokey routine about how awful I am.
And now, all too soon, we're sitting in the waiting room, me knowing that I'm going to be signed off (consigned back) and him emailing, on his BlackBerry.
Postscript: I do not think of my lack of fear as courage. I view it as a slightly worrying, if useful, detachment from reality.