Angela

Angela

When I feel tired, sometimes I feel as if somebody's there, pushing my eyes back into my head, pushing me down into the bed and I have a great struggle to open my eyes and get up, its just as if I want to sleep. Then all of a sudden I can get up, feel quite good and wide awake, and think everything's fine. I'll go on like that for a couple of days and then suddenly I'll go back to wanting to sleep again. I usually find that when I'm in the half awake/sleep phases I get so depressed, because when I'm wide awake I think, great, this is the start of me getting some more energy, and then suddenly I go back to this again. Is it ever going to sort itself out? In my painting I put black because if I'm asleep it's a no-go area and it's very black. When I'm wide-awake it's yellow, cheery and bright, and in-between it's reddish. The bird is the dove of peace. I've always been used to being on the go all the time, having plenty of energy, running around, and knowing you are really getting on with it. Then I was diagnosed with cancer.

I had been suffering for about eighteen months.I remember going to the doctor and he diagnosed me as suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. I would get home, drop all my bags and go to sleep for about two hours. He put me on some tablets that didn't make any difference. Then one Christmas I had a cold and was left with a cough which I couldn't get rid of. For nine months I asked my GP for chest x-rays, and when I found it difficult to get my breath, he still didn't want to do x-rays. When I found a lump in my neck, he finally referred me to the hospital where they told me, your chest is in the most dreadful state -look at all this mass here, and sent me for a biopsy. When the doctor came to see me he told me what I thought, you've got lymphoma.

Since the treatments last year I just feel a completely different person, I don't have any energy at all. I do things but I haven't got the inclination, the concentration or the inspiration to do it, and this worries me because it is the complete opposite to what I am used to being. The tiredness, I feel, is one of the most significant parts of the illness. The one thing that struck me more than anything was, that when I was busy working, I didn't have much time to think about myself. With having all this treatment and everything, there's only my son at home, I realised I felt isolated, lonely. Even with friends around me I thought, it would be rather nice to have somebody at home, to put their arms around me and say, I love you, you're getting on fine, and this is what I miss more than anything. I know lots of people don't get on with
their families, but I've never really had much of a family and the ones I do have are scattered all around. Some cousins have been in touch, which has been lovely, but I still feel lonely. This is why I enjoy coming to these groups.

It wasn't just the painting, which I thought was marvellous, it was being able to talk to other people, not moaning about their illnesses, but understanding. You can talk to these people, they understand you, you understand them and I think it's a great help. It's very strange because sometimes I can be lying in bed and I think to myself is this really happening to me? I don't know if it's the tablets stirring me up, or what. Sometimes I just can't get any emotion together, it's really weird and I think it's happening to somebody else, and I keep thinking if they've made a mistake in giving me all this treatment, when there's nothing really wrong. Without my darling friends I would never have survived.