Tuesday, 2 May 2017

It's time to dust myself off and move on

As many of you will know, the close-shave re-occurrence that raised its ugly head in December was treated four weeks later with innovative tomotherapy at my local NHS hospital in Cambridge. The cancer cells were found close to my heart and lungs so could not be treated using conventional radiotherapy but I was really lucky to have the benefit of this pioneering technology as very few machines are in operation in the UK. I'd had my fingers burnt by BUPA in the past so made sure that I phoned them to let them know what was happening. The insurance policy allows patients to claim for treatment that they were unable to have in a private facility so I marked the end of the treatment with a phone call to make the claim.

Everything went swimmingly, the funds were paid a couple of days later and I carried on being grateful for my abundance of good luck... until last week. I received a phone call from BUPA explaining, in essence, that someone had ticked the wrong box on my paperwork and that I needed to repay them the cash. I was told that although I'd received the treatment at my local NHS hospital I had been listed as a private patient and it was easier for them to claim the payment back from me than to try and pursue the NHS for their expenses.... needless to say, I was fuming and went for a run around Clumber Park after work to expel my frustration.

The anger propelled my pace and set me up for an impressive lap time... until my phone ran out of battery... I cursed and started to listen to the pattern of my steps in time with the "we're with you every step of the way" BUPA commercial which was running around in my head with the addition of my own lines "until we need to trip you up" and then ... BAM..... I was lying face down on the path crying into my bleeding hands staring at the rock that had tripped me up and feeling rotten about my life.

Then I heard it.
The voice in my head.
God only knows who it was but I will never, ever forget it.
She said "You're lucky to be alive. Stop crying, dust yourself off and move on."

I thought about the lifelong memories that I made with my sister at Friday's Ed Sheeran concert, I cried in her arms as he sang "Bloodstream" as that was the song that got me through chemo but now it's time to dust myself off and move on.

Every now and then we all need little reminders of just how lucky we are, it's not what happens to us that defines us - it's what we become.