july 2009
Two down, one to go (well okay, one & a half …)

So okay, remember last week when I told you the wonderful news about my friend “Bob” very generously sending me a donation that was enough to see me through a whole month, so I could spend that time focusing on healing and getting through the chemo? Well, guess what? I have just been given another month!

A few weeks ago I sent out an email to people I know in Sevilla, explaining my situation and letting them know they could help out with a donation if they wanted to. Brazen of me, eh? Well, not really. I’d like to be able to say that I sent that email without a shred of embarrassment, that I simply see my financial dire straits as yet another “side effect” of my illness and that it wasn’t hard to do.  But I’d be lying. Okay, I’ve got better about not feeling ashamed about asking for help, but I still get moments when the fact that I need help leaves me feeling vulnerable and helpless … and also incredibly frustrated.

However, as I explained in my post about taking some time out, I came to a decision to spend the rest of the summer taking care of myself and getting better, though I had no idea how I was going to support myself, especially as I thought I was about to lose my only source of income – subletting the apartment next door (which has now happened). Then Bob came along … and now Pilar.

Some of you may remember that Pilar is one-third of The Team, the fabulous nuclear medicine doctors who also happen to be my ex-students and friends, and who have been at my side since last year’s emergency colon resection. Well, I got a message from Pilar that she had made a donation by bank transfer and when I checked my bank account online I couldn’t believe my eyes. She’d sent the exact same amount that Bob had and so, just like Bob, she has given me a whole month to heal!

When I spoke to her on the phone about it the other day she just said “Look, I am able to do it, I wanted to do it, so it’s done”. She said what she did was calculate how much she would have spent on English classes with me this past year and that ended up being the amount she sent me. She said it was like any “employee” being paid while they were off sick. And so I told her that, as far as I was concerned, starting in September she had a year’s worth of classes already bought and paid for that she could take anytime she liked. And I think she did like that idea, so we are both happy with that arrangement.

And so, that takes care of June & July. It’s a real shame about losing the apartment sublet next door, because that means I’ll have to get that much more work happening in September. But I am not going to worry about that now. Maybe it was time to give the place up anyhow as it was actually turning into a real headache (a long boring story that I shall spare you). In any case, it wasn’t my decision in the end so there really wasn’t anything I could do about it.

But back to my good news. I have been reminded these past couple of weeks that I really am a fortunate person and that I am blessed to know so many truly caring people. I’m also convinced that taking time out to heal was the right decision for me. I’ve made some very positive changes since I made that decision and I know that if the PET scan results are good next week then that will further motivate me to … well, to go further.

It feels a bit like I’ve been lost, but now I’ve found my path again. Hope that doesn’t sound too flaky, but it’s really how it seems. I haven’t felt so much like me in years. I sometimes wonder if I would have found my way “home” if I hadn’t got cancer and gone through all this. Hmmm…