I always look forward to my birthday. On that day, every year, there is a special type of energy the flows, swirls around and gets me excited. It is my one special day of the year when I feel the sun shining on me and for me. I can never understand people that purposely dismiss their birthdays and live to skip the day rather than celebrate it. 

So naturally, I would expect my boyfriend, having seen his girlfriend going through cancer treatment and remission in the past 6 months, to be a liiittle bit more prepared and enthusiastic, organising the big return, the special present and the fancy dinner. 

Instead, I came to a bit if a disappointment when on Sunday morning he declared he wanted to go shopping ‘for few things ‘. ‘Few things’ being some things for me. Go shopping in Ealing Broadway Shoping Centre, not even Westfield? Go shopping means I would know my present and if this is a present I know, then this is not a present at all. My boyfriend is normally a thoughtful and considerate person, he brings me flowers every Saturday when he comes to my place and I normally cook dinner for us. Flowers replaced Lindor chocolates when it became clear cancer loves sugar and I had to cut down dramatically on this luxury for the soul. The idea to go shopping for my birthday was also considerate on a very prime logical level as he wanted to make sure I don’t refund or return the present he bought me and that I actually buy something I would love and would wear.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love shopping with him as he encourages me to try new clothes, sometimes completely outside my comfort zone. Like the green neon dress I bought for Ascot few years ago. But despite of this, I love the idea to get a surprise for my birthday, to open my birthday cards with messages that I have not seen, to open my presents with things I have not bought, to have a surprise cake that has been hidden carefully from me. Was I, am I, expecting too much from him? 

In reality I don’t need anymore clothes or bags or special presents. I do not need a dinner in a fancy restaurant. When I was lying in bed post chemo I wasn’t dreaming of any of that. But I was seeing myself travelling, having a picnic in the park, doing normal, everyday things that I enjoy. Making effort to notice and enjoy the small things in life.

This man, my boyfriend, also cried every time the doctor said I am in remission or my cancer is fully gone. He helps and supports me in every way and what does he get from me? An excessive list of demands?

It’s not about the EXPENSIVE pre planned birthday surprises. It’s about planning and making ordinary things special. It’s about putting time and effort to create joy in someone’s life that makes their day a day to remember. Is it him getting more complacent now that I am on the clear or is it me being picky and demanding?


New beginning

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It has been two days since I have been given all clear from the doctor and it seems as if the last 7 months did not happen at all.

I still have petty arguments with my mum like why the grapes have finished and my son is telling fibs about completing his homework.  So I did the one thing I am expected to do and take a grip on this family – gave a lecture to both of them. Yes, I had my morning coffee and toast and gave a speech to my respective audience about what responsibilities each of us has in oir little household and how we are expected to perform. Given the short timeframe and no preparation, I structured it well, addressed each member of the group, looked them in the eyes and even raised my voice to make my points clearer. I am sure they will both be reflecting on that as the day goes by as neither of them was in a talking mood when I finished.

When I had cancer, I changed my attitude to life, my diet and number of other aspects which will continue to have an effect (she said with hope). I became more relaxed and started to delegate more responsibility, I spoke to my nearest and dearest for the need to have more consideration to their daughter and mum and they nodded thoughtfully. At the time I actually thought that what I am saying is sinking in. Now i think my mum was probably thinking about the next episode of Masterchef while my son was wizzing in his mind to the next level of “Bottle Flip” or “Tanki online”.

I kinda thought that now I have, I had, this condition, they will be more attentive, kinder (obedient even) but each member of my family has a very strong and opinionated mind and sadly it seems they don’t like to be told what to do. Cancer or not, life goes on. I just have to find a way to be more convincing.