It’s possible that Easter 2016 will mark the end of a journey. There is no doubt that Easter 2009 marked its beginning. It was the Tuesday night before Easter 2009 that my brain haemorrhage struck, and Good Friday that I awoke from the resultant coma. I’d love to say that I arose on Easter Sunday. However, there is only one truth and I won’t attempt to bend it.
Today is also Good Friday, seven years on, and Sarah has just been released from hospital for the last time in relation to her dreadful cancer episode. I use the word “dreadful” loosely. On the contrary, both of our illnesses have arguably been the best experiences of our lives. We have been lucky, of course – luckier than most who suffer such grave illnesses. Surviving with barely any significant disabilities, we are better off than millions who suffer chronic conditions that decimate their lives, but who receive little in the way of appreciation or attention to their plight.
When people say things like, “You never know what’s around the corner”, in an attempt to wisely advise someone to live for the moment and not to put things off, their perception of where this corner is often differs from ours. To most people, the “corner” is somewhere over there in the unforeseeable future, but to us it is potentially imminent. I need to use the word “potentially”, because we still plan to live to the age of 100, but as we have seen it first hand, to us the corner is somewhere closer to the “here and now”. We have looked down the barrel of its shotgun and brushed it aside with the aid of a mixture of good luck and the expertise of our wonderful National Health Service.
With these experiences carved into our psyche, we have a constant driving force at the back of our minds that never goes away – a motivational push to live our lives in ways that we never would have previously imagined. It also makes us happier people, knowing that without such good fortune our lives would be so much different now and we therefore appreciate little things that many cannot.
Sarah’s last operation was yesterday. It had nothing to do with cure or prevention of any illness, but a cosmetic reconstruction after the lumpectomy to remove her breast cancer. She has always wanted to have a “boob job” but would never have done so had all this not happened. There are many things that we wouldn’t have done had our illness not happened – like driving across America (Route 66), learning to dance and publishing a book. Remarkably, after what was fairly major surgery (although I still maintain that she is a lightweight because at least they put her to sleep for her operations – unlike my brain surgery operations!), she has been released after only 24 hours, with no pain whatsoever and without needing painkillers. I’m still scratching my head over that one! As I write this, she’s sleeping like a baby – the effects of the general anaesthetic cannot be overcome in such a short period of time by even the hardiest of people like Sarah.
Our seven years from Easter 2009 to Easter 2016 have been more than interesting. They have been unimaginably eventful. We haven’t just been on a journey – we have weaved, turned and skidded sideways down the highway. Our highs and lows have been as extreme as are humanly possible. We have fought demons and dragons, and won our own version of the lottery jackpot. We wouldn’t have it any other way and would never turn back the clock if we had the opportunity.
All is good in the Pritchard household.
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