Firstly, let me apologise for being a little slack with my blog. Between treatment, getting married (more on this in a later blog) and being just generally busy, I haven’t had a chance to write in a while.
Over the past 5 months a few things have happened that made me realise how my journey has affected others. Being in my own little world, I had never really considered how my story could impact others. Sure, I knew that my partner would be affected as she sees what I go through on a daily basis. Our families and close friends would also be affected on different levels. But I never really considered the effect on people outside these circles.
Last year I was invited to my ex-workplace Christmas party. It was a lovely gesture and I was excited about seeing everyone again. I was also very nervous as I hadn’t seen many of these people in months. But on seeing all the familiar smiling faces I was instantly at ease. The real surprise though was when I was pulled aside by former colleagues, led by the lovely Rodger. I was ushered to the front of the group whereby Rodger commenced an extremely heartfelt speech on how my journey has inspired him with his cycling. It encouraged him to push himself that little bit harder and it paid off with him winning a medal in one of his events. In one of the most heart warming moments I have experienced during this journey, he presented me with the medal. This guy had busted a gut for the award, and here he was giving it to me…..speechless!! In the moment I didn’t truly appreciate the meaning of this gesture. But afterwards I realised just how special it was. What a truly amazing person, thanks Rodge!! The medal now takes pride of place in my office so that I can see it every day.
I have had numerous people tell me about how my journey has made them rethink their lives. They now try to do things that they had been putting off. From stopping smoking, to taking a long-awaited holiday, to embracing the small moments in life and to helping people realise that getting old is not a curse, but a privilege. I love hearing these stories. I have received many messages via Facebook and this blog from people going through similar experiences and to hear that my blog is a comfort to them simply blows me away. Initially I was so hesitant about sharing my story, but these messages make me realise I have made the right decision.
This week made me realise just how small this world can be. A few months ago I received a lovely message from someone battling breast cancer. In a cruel twist her partner had been diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer. Her story really touched my heart. During a visit to Peter Mac I was standing at the elevators and noticed a woman looking at me from time to time. I didn’t really take much notice at the time, until she turned to me as said “are you Mel?”. At the best of times I am terrible with names and faces, but I was certain I didn’t know this person. As it turns out, she was the writer of the message. It was kind of surreal being noticed on the street from my blog. I was a little chuffed!! It was so nice to meet in person. I wish you and your partner all the best for the future.