Over the last year or two I have been told several times that I am/have been very brave when dealing with my illness.
Although ego-boosting and nice to hear, I have begun to ask questions about whether or not I have been ‘brave’.
First, what does ‘brave’ actually mean? The dictionary definition is:
BRAVE: possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance. Oh, so what does ‘Courage’ mean:
COURAGE: The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery.
So, as I may have faced ‘vicissitudes with self-possession and confidence’, maybe I’m courageous?
Well, not really. I didn’t make the conscious choice of how to react to the diagnosis. It was thrust upon me by circumstances: Owen has had enough difficulty facing up to the fact that I had (hopefully forever in the past tense!) a life-threatening illness without me breaking down in front of him and confessing that I too was in fear of dying before he had reached double figures in age. What option did I have?
And if there is no other choice, can my actions really be counted as ‘bravery’?
I don’t think so. I think that, like many others in my position, I have simply reacted in the only way allowed to permit other people in my life to have as normal a life as possible.
Now if I had been told my illness was terminal, maybe I could see my actions as exhibiting bravery. I don’t know. Maybe bravery, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder?
Whatever the case, and due to circumstances in the summer, for the first time in four years I don’t have to have a PSA test before Christmas to see if there is any sign of the cancer returning. So for the first time in four years I don’t have any worries hanging over my head concerning my health, which appears to be good (apart from the traditional football injury!). Jo and Owen have finished for the holiday and we are now doing the last preparations before the day itself.
I am looking forward to Christmas with all the excitement and anticipation of a six-year-old kid. Which is brilliant! As long as Santa doesn’t disappoint, this will be the best Christmas in years!! I live in hope.
Taking all of that into account, I’d like to wish everyone reading this a very happy Christmas and hope that the New Year lives up to all your hopes and expectations.