‘Fear is always there – lurking – waiting to strike when you’re at your weakest’
Roisin with her devote partner, Michael (Image: supplied)
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I’ve been absent for five weeks, dealing with some scary thoughts and actually really feeling like a cancer patient for the first time in a while.
You get so used to the everyday side effects, the constant bloods, chemo appointments, oncology checks and what not, that you never actually have time to sit back and thinkthis is hard – and to be honest, what’s the point?
Life goes on and we go on too for as long as we can. I am a big lover of life and I have always wanted to soak every little bit of joy from it but lately the fear is loud and I’ve been struggling.
I know a lot of us cancer people can find it extra hard around anniversaries of certain dates – the date of diagnosis, of surgery, of remission, of recurrence.
Mine is coming up in January – three years since I recurred and was told it was incurable. I am struggling a lot more than I expected.
Roisin's two adorable children, Ivy and Bill
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I was told I was incurable the day before I was due to celebrate my three-year remission. We had a weekend away booked to celebrate – instead, I was sat in the chemo chair, crying – a lot! The utter cruelty of that irony.
The one thing that is pushing my anxiety off the radar at the minute is that, when I asked my oncologist how long I had, even though I desperately never wanted to hear the answer to that question, she told me to aim for three years to start with.
So, as you can imagine, three years for me is both incredible and terrifying. I can’t ever un-hear those words. People might wish I’d ‘move on’ or just get on with living my life but when you’re swamped with fear, it’s too hard sometimes.
Isn’t it crazy, fear? How it’s always there, lurking. Waiting to spring the moment you’re feeling the slightest bit vulnerable.
And when it strikes, it consumes you. I had a sleepover with my six-year-old, Ivy, this weekend and as she dreamed, unaware, my conversation with fear led me to envisaging my recurrence – coming back for a third and final time.
Roisin's partner, Michael, with the couple's new puppy
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I imagine the absolute desperation of having to be around Ivy and Bill. Not being able to escape because of lockdown and needing to just scream and scream, and cry and beg. I honestly do not know how people have dealt with this throughout lockdown.
I think of the conversation I’d need to have with Ivy. How I’d try to play it down but find it utterly impossible, somehow trying to prepare them for life without me.
It’s as though I can see my future, but it's as if I’m looking through a straw and the straw itself is the fear wrapped around my every thought. Never fully daring to let myself imagine my future.
Michael and me had a little slow dance in the kitchen this weekend after we’d put our Christmas decorations up.
He told me how we’d dance like this when we’re old and grey whilst we wait for visits from the grandkids and I burst into tears. I wish so much that I could just have that thought and that dream without the fear laughing down my ear.
Ivy with the family's new dog
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The strength of fear can be paralysing but thankfully, the power of writing for me is magical and it always helps to put pen to paper and to share these burdens mine with others.
On a lighter note, it's almost bloody! We have put our decorations up extra early so that we can enjoy extra fun. The kids have loved this weekend and we got a puppy – Bert.
I have always grown up with dogs so I always felt that a family isn’t complete without one – Michael, however took 12 years of persuading.
It wasn’t a decision we made lightly but it has been one of the best things we’ve done. Dogs can be great for so many things – mental health, anxiety, motivation, exercise, cuddles and fun.
More and more schools have nurture dogs now and honestly, Bert is the most wonderful addition to our little family.
Have a lovely week and if you’d like to shop small this Christmas, I’d really appreciate you popping along to my tiny shop www.fightypants.com.
Product of the Week
If you’re stuck for Christmas prezzies this year – this is what you need in your life.
The Ninja Foodi Blender & Soup Maker HB150UK
It can chop, pulse, blend and more. I’ve been loving it for making wintry soups at the mo.
The kids have loved it for making smoothies and we’ve also used it for pasta veggie sauces to sneak them in for the kids! One of my favourite parts? It self cleans
I’ll share some of my recipes with you in the coming weeks but I plan on making healthy soups, especially after Christmas when I know I’ll pile on 10 stone worth of mince pies and espresso martinis. Here’s the link, you’re welcome