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It’s that birthday coming up soon, the one in the Beatles song, somehow no longer ‘many years from now’. How did I imagine, in years past, that I’d be spending this milestone day? I thought there would be a bit more to life than ‘knitting by the fireside’ and ‘Sunday mornings go for a ride’, but I never imagined I’d be in a state of excitement watching my hair grow back after cancer treatment. Since I finished chemo back in March it’s been a slow but interesting process to observe. What colour will it be? Will it be curly or straight? My hair has sprouted in tune with the seasons, with a few shoots in spring and a more steady growth now as we move into summer. Miss Wiggy has been ditched in favour of scarves, and soon those scarves will go for the big reveal!  At the moment it’s only ready for half a reveal:

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As someone said on Episode 1 of the BBC Programme, The Big C and Me, coming through cancer treatment is like being reborn, because things are not the same again; the carpet of normality could be swept from beneath your feet again, so you cherish and enjoy the things that really matter. This uncertainty makes us want to be labelled, to know what category we’re in. Is it remission? Am I cured? I am, apparently, now a Cancer Survivor, and what better day to announce it than on National Cancer Survivors’ Day.   My condition is ‘under control’.  I am still on Avastin, a biological therapy aimed to deprive any remaining cancer cells of blood supply.  Things will remain like that till January next year, with scans and check ups every three months. In between these I lead a normal life. I’ve adjusted and reduced some of the things that I do so that I’m not rushing or putting myself under pressure, but this last week has been a wonderful kaleidoscope of activities, all played out under sunny skies –walks and lunches with friends, a choral workshop, a poetry-writing day, a concert at the Sedbergh Festival. Lucky me.

So how will I spend my special birthday? I will be forever grateful to the medics that are treating me and have given me my life back, but now’s the time to take more control, so I am attending Penny Brohn UK’s course ‘Living well with the impact of cancer’, just to help me with the wobble moments and to give me some pointers on diet, lifestyle and mental attitude.  No alcohol or coffee, and I’ll be switching off my mobile phone. Wish me luck! It’s being held in a conference centre on the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond which looks wonderfully relaxing.

After that we will be escaping to a cottage on the Isle of Islay and enjoying all life has to offer.

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