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Erica's blog 14: January 7

We need structure in life, but never be afraid of change

THE first few days of the New Year had been spent catching up with family and being looked after.

January 5 was a great day in Malaga watching the Christmas processions for the Three Kings. We had a marvellous view from high up on the balcony of the Malaga Palacio hotel.

The Reyes January 6 was spent quietly at home. We cut the traditional ‘Rosco de Reyes,’ a typical Spanish cake eaten in most households on this day. I was lucky enough to get the king figurine in my slice so was crowned the king for the day which also brought me luck.

My daughter got the broad- bean… not so lucky as the recipient is supposed to pay for the cake but we let her off, naturally!

January 7 and it was round three for my chemo treatment. I drove to Malaga for the routine blood test very early in the morning and then off to breakfast. Due to the large amount of blood analysis, chemo treatment and Cat scans, my poor veins were acting up and I came home with four different bandages instead of two, but that’s life. We got there in the end!

My oncologist was very happy with my blood test results and the fact that I hadn’t succumbed to infections or colds and my defence system was holding up, meaning I could continue on track with my treatments because the sooner they were over, the happier I would be.

The chemo session took three hours and then it was time to go back to Jorge’s house for some TLC and delicious Spanish home cooking courtesy of his mother.

I rested and then felt well enough to have a little stroll around Malaga, a few tapas and an ice cream and then back home for a video and bed.

I had a slightly restless night but was so relieved in the morning that I didn’t feel as sick as the last time.

It seems that every session is a new experience, you just don’t know how you are going to react. I am positive having my family here has made the difference as they have taken the strain on the cooking and washing and just looked after and loved me. I owe them all so much. What a joy it is to be united! Special thanks to my lovely brother-in-law who has driven us all about and been a saint in general.

January 8 was a delightful day spent in Frigiliana, a typical whitewashed town with cobbled streets, and then off to the beach for a bite to eat. My sister bought me a lovely handbag too. I was thoroughly spoilt.

My next treatment would be on January 28, marking the halfway point of my chemotherapy. This would be quite a landmark and also the last in the first batch of treatments. Session five would mean a change in dose and type of chemo. I would have no idea how I would react to this, but there is no point worrying about that. Each step draws you closer to the finishing post.

Emotionally I remain extremely positive and there are days I totally forget that I have an ‘illness’. I have such a busy life with children and so much still to achieve and so many people to see and things to do that it gives me direction and focus. I have started to make a list of the things that I would like to do when I am fully recovered including walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, hiking, running a mini-marathon and a million and one other things. I also have a lot of thank you letters to write and good deeds to return to people.

I think that people regard difficult news, hard times or illness as a bad thing, but I truly believe that a change, no matter how tough it may seem to start with, good always comes out of it.

We need some structure in life but we must never be afraid of change as it breathes life into our very existence. Otherwise that all-important discovery might never come about, that life-changing trip might never be made, a true love not met or ambition achieved.

I’ve said it before, we are on this planet for such a short time that we really should try and be as kind to others as possible and do our best, but most of all be happy.

Having regrets in life is one of the saddest things I think, so don’t just talk about what you wish you could be or how you wish your life could change. Make a positive step towards your goals, no matter how small, you will find it really is worth it and you will grow in confidence and self-belief.

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