Feeling The Distance

Photo: Des Jalles

Ethan McLaughlin

This article originally featured on Ethan’s blog at http://dealingwithtc.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/feeling-distance.html

So firstly, on a medical standpoint, some slight improvements. My markers have halved but they have not flattened, so there’s not enough to allow doctors to be able to make a confident conclusion.

Alongside this, there is the possibility that. the surgery, the tests, the distance and the waiting, might all happen again if that second lump, which I am praying is a prosthetic, turns out to be a relapse. The doctor I spoke to over the phone, looking at the surgical notes, could neither confirm nor rule out a surgical mess up, because there was language in the notes which he (because he is not a surgeon according to him) was unfamiliar with. So either I am still dying or someone messed up the joys.

Yes, you guessed it – more blood tests, which hopefully shows my levels are normal. Or I get angry with someone for their incompetence. If it is the case, I suspect I will never meet the person as for anyone who has had the misfortune of going through a type of disease which requires any number of hospital visits, you very rarely see the same person twice.

But aside from this, I think one of the things I was least prepared for was the distance. This builds on what I said yesterday, but for me, it really is true in that my life and the women I love is across a sea.

Third year is never meant to be easy, but it really does suck that the best you can do for someone is be on the other end of the phone, when you really want to put two arms around them and tell them it will be fine.

But in another way, distance is not only dependent on geography, but has also affected my interactions with my family and family friends. One of the most difficult things that I have tried to balance, sometimes successfully; sometime not, is being empathetic to peoples’ concerns, especially those of close family members.

Let’s see if I can describe my predictament. I am trying to be appreciative and understand others’ worries, but the fact is everyone is always going to think about the worst case scenario. It affects me in some ways; the everyday life I cannot appreciate and the difficulty that comes with going to work when everyone keeps asking you about your CANCER.

One of the ways I feel like I have gotten through this experience is being realistic and trying to plan for all eventualities, but at the same praying you never have to turn those plans into your reality.

So thankfully today I had a nice long walk. I would say this was to get myself back to some decent level of fitness, but also just get some fresh air for a good period of time; nothing quite beats some good power walking.

One of things I am learning to appreciate as I get older, is having the opportunity to just go and sit down to talk to someone and be able to take stock of how life is going. So thank you Joe. Blood test was nothing special but unlike my first round where I had to wait for around fifthteen people, this time was only five. Small victories, right? Hopefully my next blog will be my final one, but I know better than to really believe that. Either way you lucky people will be getting a video.

But what I do know is, Belfast, I will see you next week.

Published by The Gown Queen's University Belfast

The Gown has provided respected, quality and independent student journalism from Queen's University, Belfast since its 1955 foundation, by Dr. Richard Herman. Having had an illustrious line of journalists and writers for almost 70 years, that proud history is extremely important to us. The Gown is consistent in its quest to seek and develop the talents of aspiring student writers.

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