August 20th, T13, University College Hospital
“But we are going on holiday in November, she will still be able come on holiday won’t she?”
“No. No, she will not be well enough to go.”
When those words were spoken 21 months ago, I had absolutely no idea what they meant. I did not realise what not being well enough to go on holiday meant, nor did I have absolutely any idea how long I was going to have to wait to feel well enough to go on holiday. I most certainly had no idea how difficult I would find dealing with the fact that I could not go on holiday. I was definitely shipwrecked upon these fair shores.
We all know that myeloma is like a lifelong prison sentence; it is one big fat miscarriage of justice. For the last 21 months, I, unfortunately have been held in maximum security. Not a maximum security on the UK scale of prison decency, I am talking about American style, 23 hours a day lock down that would feature in a sensational Louis Theroux type-documentary about how barbaric imprisonment can be. That is how I have seen parts of My Myeloma life.
In my mind, nothing exemplifies the hardship that myeloma represents more than the inability for me to go on holiday. A desire that grew and grew after I was told that I could not do it and I grieved when it became evident that I was not physically capable of doing it and I would not be for a very long time. My freedom had been taken away. I was trapped in a triangle of the flat, Mamma Jones’ and the hospital and they were the only places I packed for.
In those dark times, when crying myself awake was a normal occurrence, I dreamed and I planned of so many holidays. I was promised some too. When there is no chance of one going away, one’s imagination really can be inventive. The idea of a holiday, to be more specific, going abroad on a holiday was my hope. My hope and my pain. It was a target and one that I could not help but set my sights on. It became a symbol of my health improving and thus if I discussed going away, my response would have been as emotional as if I had been talking about my potential recovery. Going away means freedom from my daily myeloma toil. It’s a break from it.
My last trip abroad was in June 2011 and the last time I travelled by air a volcano in Iceland decided to be a dick. Needless to say, my mind has been short on new discoveries of late; the East Coast Mainline and Tottenham Court Road, whilst special can become tiresome.
No more though. No more. I am at Gatwick Airport and my bags are nowhere to be seen (I like to think they are also on the plane I am sitting in). Any minute now, I will be forced to turn off my mobile phone, a small sacrifice to make for in a few hours I’ll be in Venice. After all those months lying in a bed, building up my energy and hoping, I am actually on a plane en route to a land that is not ours. I am on annual leave. Not special or sick leave, actual annual leave.
It has been so long coming.
You could say I am free. I would not, for I am not that cheesy.
I am going on holiday!
And myeloma only cost me £154 extra for insurance. A bargain. I will tell you about all the other planning some other time. Right now, I am celebrating.
P.S. Mamma Jones is pleased because she was just hanging out with Simon Callow in the club lounge. Swish. To be sure.