The good things about cancer ….

In the spirit of Being Positive, I bring you my top five advantages of having cancer:

1. I didn’t have to send any Christmas cards.

Just in case you’re on my list, and are under the impression that I love writing cards, look away now – I HATE writing Christmas cards. But of course I love getting them. So this year was the best ever, as I totally let myself off sending them and just luxuriated in getting them. Of course, come New Year, I was so consumed with guilt that I sent out a Paperless Post card to the whole bunch instead. But that was quite fun, as you can track how fast people open your cards and you can even get little replies.

2. Everyone is being really nice to me

This is great, and I finally see why people sometimes shave their heads and pretend to have cancer. Mind you, they usually do it for the money rather than the unsolicited cups of tea and the kind thoughts and sweet phone calls, but then I’ve always been a bit of a pushover.

3. When I have slightly mad ideas, no one contradicts me

This is an excellent side-effect, and one which doesn’t seem to be talked about much (or maybe I’m the only one to come up with mad ideas?). Anyway, thanks to everyone humouring me, I’ve been able to get away with quite eccentric things, like folding every piece of cloth in the house into a ‘sushi roll’ according to the instructions of Japanese tidiness guru Marie Kondo. I must say it’s given me huge satisfaction. If you haven’t read her book, you must, you really must. My drawers have never been so tidy. Of course, it doesn’t take years of psychotherapy to work out that I like the feeling of being in control of something, even if it’s only all the microfibre cloths in the kitchen. But it’s a good feeling.


4. Gardening

It’s been great getting out into my garden during this mild Christmas to tidy and tackle all the chores that normally would be too chilly to contemplate. The camellia has buds on it already and you can see the bulbs I planted in the autumn forcing their way through the soil with shiny green fingers. It gives me a sense of continuation and hope.

5. Cooking

I suppose this comes under trying new things, and I can’t help thinking I should be thinking bigger – bungee jumping, visiting Australia, learning Italian? The truth is that I have never wanted to jump much, even when it doesn’t involve great heights and elastic, and I pretty much hate holidays. I would like to learn Italian but not enough to actually do it. For the past few months I’ve either been waiting for an operation or recovering from one and that doesn’t leave much room for ginormous plans, though I acknowledge that this is definitely the time when I should be having them. I am doing slightly more experimental cooking, though. Turmeric, kale, quinoa, chick peas – I’m basically living like Beyonce now. Still working on the singing though.


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