Living with cancer can be a little like living in a bubble. You are somehow both in and out of a kind of reality. During active treatment your life is about endless hospital appointments, dates, feeling good days, less good days, low blood days when you can’t eat out, mask days, home days and bed days. Your previous life is on hold or for some over. There are also all of those questions about what happens after this treatment ends, what will my life look like next?
I’ve been living in the cancer bubble for years, most especially during the past 3 once it was clear that this was never going to leave me alone and never get any better. I made all my decisions based on the fact that my death from metastatic breast cancer would be imminent and since then despite almost constant treatment I’ve had periods of such good and rude health I do wish I had made some different decisions. Isn’t hind sight a wonderful thing!
And suddenly at 9.44 on Tuesday morning reality rudely interrupted my cancer bubble. At that exact moment a motorbike hit the car I was driving and for a nanosecond everything stopped … and then speeded up! Somebody had landed on the windscreen, it had absorbed his weight without breaking and injuring Dilgesu, my step-daughter, who was in the passenger seat. We were out of the car within seconds, the man who’d been on the windscreen a moment before was on his feet but there was another man and a motorbike on the ground.
What I keep coming back to is how lucky we all were. I was turning and going very slowly, they were also going slowly and despite the fact that they weren’t wearing crash helmets neither had any head injuries and not a broken bone or stitch between them. I would also like to say that I am responsible for the accident, I turned without a clear view of the road ahead. However something was looking down on us at that moment … we all feel it!
That was the first time in my life I have ever been in a crash of any kind and I think it has given me the opportunity to have another rethink about life and where I am and there are a few things I have decided I have to do as a result:
1. Get a new photo ID driving license
After the accident one of the first things the police and gendarma wanted to see was my license and so I showed them, the bit of pink paper I’ve had since 1987 when I first passed my test and so old that everyone was trying to unfold it without it disintegrating in their hands.
2. Get a Turkish driving license
This is very long overdue and just one of those things you don’t get around to when you have cancer. How many other things have I put on hold, how many other things have I used cancer as the excuse for not doing!
3. Apply to become a Turkish citizen
Over the 17 years that I’ve lived in Turkey there have been many times when I’ve wished I were a citizen. It would have made my life so much easier on innumerable occasions, I would have been able to vote and participate more fully and then finally I thought I’ll do it once I get married. I got married 3 years ago and then as I was diagnosed with advanced cancer 2 days after my wedding it sort of slipped my mind.
Well I’m still here, I never for a minute thought I would be but I am and I’m also feeling better than I have in years. All of that can change in the blink of an eye and that’s what I realized on Tuesday at 9.44 … there are many ways to die, it may not be the cancer in the end so I had at least better sort out the paperwork and put a few things in order.