I had hoped to go back to work soon but my trip to see my daughter in Ireland taught me that it may be a bit early. I loved our time with her. We discovered beautiful beaches to walk her dogs. But each walk knocked me. Maybe what most illustrated my fragility was how upset I was to leave her. The tears are still not far off. I think maybe this time away, convalescing, has connected me to the impact of this, my second diagnosis of breast cancer. Until now, I have been busy saying this won’t kill me, it’s early, I can do this, but giving little space to the emotional or indeed physical impact. After my last diagnosis, the legacy for some time was a fear of not being there for my children. It’s not surprising, really, given that I had my treatment as my father was dying of cancer. I guess this will always be my fear, so time with them is the most precious thing.
Not only does a visit to her mean the beauty of Ireland but also she works with the charity, the Dogs Trust, who re-home dogs so we get to visit the dogs. It’s my idea of heaven. I thought of our own lovely Golden Retriever who we got as a pup. He came to us the year after I had cancer the first time. And he brought back laughter into our house; it was a turning point for me. He brought chaos for a time as a pup too, presenting underwear to unsuspecting visitors at the door, being dominated by our cat, having crazy gallops around the garden, thinking he was one of the children and stealing space in the paddling pool. He was a boy, so on one occasion he even tried to hump the church minister! But most of all, I remember the love and laughter he brought, somehow that soft gentle head on your lap could make everything feel OK. And we had many wonderful walks all together. Indeed, when he died, we scattered his ashes in Loch Lomond, his favourite place in the world.
So dog therapy is my recommendation this week. If you have the space in your home, your life and most of all, your heart, and are able to give the commitment to a dog, you won’t regret it. And a rehoming centre will match you up with the right dog for you and your situation. If we hadn’t flown, I had a short list drawn up! Ah, maybe next time?
Reasons to be cheerful have been much needed and the visit from my step-granddaughter, visiting for the first time on her own, was perfect. We had a trip to see the pandas and also to see the musical, Oliver. Her own grandma died of breast cancer a few years ago – again, that reminder (as if we need it) of the importance of time with those we love. Treasure it, I do.