As I was laying in bed the other morning, trying to wake myself up from sleep, my clock radio was playing a song – a track by M People. Even in my bleary-eyed sleepy slumber, in that instant in my head I was immediately transported back to the time I went to see this group in concert with an ex-boyfriend many, many years ago. Our minds, the brain and our memory absolutely fascinate me and it’s amazing that from just hearing a certain piece of music can evoke such strong and vivid memories – memories that have disappeared into the ether until they’re re-ignited again by one of our senses.
Last week I ventured out on a trip to meet up with my dear friend. We’ve been buddies for as long as I can remember, and since she moved up to Scotland over 10 years ago, the amount of quality time we get to spend together is few and far between. We now make sure we plan a trip together, just the two of us, no husbands or children, to reconnect and enjoy each other’s company.
We stayed in a lovely spa hotel in the Peak District – the exact same hotel we stayed in two years ago. Back in April 2015, just before our scheduled trip away, I’d been given the devastating news that I had breast cancer. At that point in time the hours and days passed in a blur, and understandably, driving over four hours in that state to the other end of the country on my own was not a good idea – so my fab hubby ‘dropped me off there’ (you can read more about this here in my post Hope).
This time, the journey back up to the Peak District was a poignant one and many things along the way prompted memories to come flooding back to me. I remembered exactly how I felt being a passenger in the car on the way up there, not knowing what was ahead of me, anxious and scared sh*tless. So, so many thoughts rushing about in my mind, trying to make sense of it all and what the future had in store for me.
Amongst all these thoughts and memories as I drove, it also struck me at what a long time it took to get there! My darling Pats had not only driven me there and then driven himself back home before, but he came and picked me up on the Sunday too! What an absolute angel. Friends had since commented on the fact that they didn’t think their other halves would do such a thing for them. I’m sure they would. I know how lucky I am to have such a wonderful husband and in the sad and dark times it’s ever more apparent.
This time on my journey I felt positive and empowered. Thinking back to all that happened in the last two years and how different my life and my future ahead of me is now. Sad at the things that obviously just aren’t meant to be part of my life, but anticipating all the good things I have to look forward to enjoying.
I drove through some absolutely stunning scenery on the way there – I don’t think I appreciated its full beauty on the first trip. If you’ve never been to the Peak District I would definitely recommend it, it’s got such beautiful character and charm. At one point I drove down this road that opened up to reveal the most incredible landscape – a carpet of green valleys, hills and peaks with snow capped mountains in the distance that met with the bright blue sky and brilliant sunshine. I could not stop exclaiming to myself out loud “wow”, “wow”, “woooooooow”! A perfectly beautiful day and a feeling of being blessed to be alive to see such a sight.
We enjoyed a fab weekend together, being pampered in the spa, eating delicious food, sipping bubbly, roaming around all the quaint little surrounding villages and reminiscing about the last time we were there.
Whilst we were away I had a little accident involving my iPhone, a selfie stick (yes, I’m afraid I am one of those annoying people with one!) and a swimming pool. Needless to say the water won and my dead iPhone is currently sitting in an iRescue kit drying out. I must confess to having quite bad nomophobia, so being without my phone has made me rather anxious as I’ve come to rely so heavily on it for so many things. Not least to stay connected to people, but most importantly is the reminder function on my phone. It literally is my actual memory.
My memory has never been that great, but since starting hormone treatment (namely Tamoxifen) it’s definitely got worse. I have to write everything down immediately otherwise it’s gone. It’s one of the genuine reasons why I have my phone attached to me most of the time (much to my husband’s annoyance!) so I can remember to do all the things I need to.
I have been lucky enough to form friendships with two other lovely ladies – connecting through writing our own blogs on breast cancer. Both have had their own struggles with the side effects of anti-hormone medication. My friend recently commented on her own concern about the mental effects of Tamoxifen and pointed me towards this rather alarming article, which we all agreed we could relate to.
I’m sure anyone taking Tamoxifen (and/or is going through the menopause) will be able to relate to these images. I have been that woman with phone to my ear…desperately searching for my phone!
I sincerely hope my iPhone dries out and comes back to life, not least because I’m gutted to think I’ve lost a load of photos, notes and other data, but so that I can get my virtual memory back!!