And over the last few weeks it's that "so far" that's been nagging at me. The anxiety that I've had a year and a half and median survival is two years. The stress of wondering every chemo session if the portacath is going to behave. Worrying that every sneeze and sniffle is the beginning of the neutropenic sepsis that's going to have me joining the choir invisible*. It was getting to the stage where I really was getting myself quite wound up the day before chemo and also, sorry Mrs Dracunculus, probably being a bit of a mardy git into the bargain.
So something needed to happen in the head department. I needed some kind of bonce doctor to peer inside this dragon's head and, I don't know, tell me it's all because I loved my mummy or something.
Anyway it turns out there's this charity called Maggies who, according to their blurb, offer "practical, emotional and social support" to cancer patients and their families and I knew there was one of their centres on the hospital grounds at Addenbrookes so last week I toddled over, took a deep breath and walked in. Weirdly its probably the toughest thing I've done during the whole cancer malarkey; the medical side is easy, that's just being poked and prodded. This is admitting that you're not as tough as you thought you were, that your emotions are shot to hell and that you need help.
Which is stupid when you think about it, treating how you cope with this bastard of a disease is just as important as treating the tumours themselves. Perhaps it's a hangover from the "big boys don't cry" generation I was brought up in but I would say to anyone going through any illness or trauma that it's OK to ask for help and you probably should.
So the volunteer I talked to immediately sorted out a cup of tea in the traditional English ritual that there's nothing that can't be fixed so long as you've got a mug of builder's and she arranged for me to see their psychologist who we'll call Dr. Bonce, notice he's a psychologist not a psychiatrist - there's a difference, and earlier this week I duly pop back and we have our first session.
Not surprisingly what I'm going through is completely normal and, after a lot of questions which determined I wasn't about to turn myself into pavement pizza by throwing myself off the roof of the hospital multi-storey car park, he tells me that it's my "threat centre" that's somewhat overactive. Apparently that's the bit of the brain that kept us alive when we dressed like Raquel Welch in One Million Years BC
Also one of the fun things about this bit of the brain is that exaggerates threats, so that rustle in the bushes is a lion about to pounce or these days that twinge is your portacath lumen breaking loose and lodging in a particularly inconvenient artery, and that's why you get anxious.
So what's the plan. Well I'm booked in for a few sessions with Dr. Bonce and he's going to teach me some stress reduction exercises and something called "mindfulness" which appears to be something about putting yourself in the moment and stopping worrying about the future. All sounds like good stuff that I can use and, to be honest, just going and talking abut this stuff to someone has helped a lot.
It's good to talk.
* I'm a baritone in case The Almighty is reading this blog