In early 2002 they found that my brain tumour had increased in size. After a lot of discussion with my oncologist it was decided that I would have radiotherapy.
In the months that followed, various tests and scans were done taking extremely precise measurements of my brain and I was booked in to have a mask made of my skull. This was first done in plaster of paris and then a clear plastic mask with a hole in it where the rays would enter. After the many months of assessing and sizing things up, to try and ensure they hit exactly the right area, I was booked in to have six weeks of radiotherapy later in the year.
Having the increase in tumour size brought up new fears, but it somehow also greatly enhanced the stunning, simple beauty of life. In dealing with the new concerns with my tumour and the possible bleakness of the future, I became so acutely aware of all the beauty that there was to find in life in spite of my condition.
During this time I became too weak to write and instead kept a journal on a dictaphone that I bought for this purpose. It was my companion and I found it very cathartic speaking about everything that I was working through and coming to terms with - my dictaphone tapes were my very real 'conversations' as I worked through it all, sometimes several times a day.
Six years later, in 2008, I could not find the tapes that I had recorded and thought that I had somehow lost them when we moved towns in 2003. I found this thought that I could have lost them very upsetting as, due to my memory problems, I had no recollection of what was going through my head during that time period. I knew, however, that I had processed and thought about life a lot.
In mid-2009 I randomly stumbled across all of the tapes that I had recorded. On the evening of finding them I decided to listen to one of these tapes before I went to sleep but I had no idea just how bad a move this was! I had no recollection of ever sounding so incredibly weak and found it so harrowing that I barely slept that night!
I haven’t listened to the tapes since then but for the sake of this blog, and sharing that challenging part of my journey, I am now going to listen to them and share the fears, insights and blessings from that time with you.
The blogs to follow this one are going to be transcripts of the recordings from during that time and are straight from those lost tapes.