Search this site
Please login to your my.Macmillan account.
If you currently have an Online Community account, you will be asked to create a my.Macmillan account the next time you try to login.
Don’t have an account? Create one now.
What is my.Macmillan?
inspiration, side effects, chemo, ovarian cancer, hair loss, arts, crafts, music, friends, help
Another steroid fuelled evening.... yes it is 2:30am... ridiculous! I will definitely be sleeping for 3 days once the steroids wear off! Apparently some people have no problems with steroids and feel no side effects, I am clearly not one of them.... and to be honest, I’ve yet to meet someone who tells me the steroids have no effect on them whatsoever, but I’m sure that lucky person is out there having a fantastic night’s sleep ;-)
For the rest of us who get to stay up and feel completely wired even when they’d really rather be sleeping, I would like to share one of the things that has kept me sane through all the ups and downs of the steroids over the last 3 years, the all time number one on my list: my CHILDHOOD DREAM.
Now, as a bona fide childhood dream, it goes without saying that I never even got near it for the first 30 years of my life; and if I am completely honest, I did hold my parents a bit responsible (yes, I know, utterly immature and completely spoilt is the verdict but that is how I felt in my twenties... and yes I am ashamed but it all ends well!). So my childhood dream? To learn how to play the piano!
Every Christmas, every birthday for as far back as I can remember that is the one thing I asked for, piano lessons, year after year..... but well, back then these things were too expensive and that’s fair enough. So when my mum retires and moves to her new house, the first thing she shows me is her brand new beautiful piano! The problem is she lives in a different country, so I won’t be gate crashing that party!!
The years go by and I still do nothing about it apart from trying to hide my annoyance every time my mum tells me how wonderful it is to learn the piano (by the way, my mum is really nice, she’d just forgotten about my piano obsession).
And then I got ill.
As I mentioned in the previous blog, I had a bit of warning before my second surgery and I felt I would really need something to motivate me to go through the whole re-learning how to walk again as I had just recovered from the nerve damage from the first surgery. So mum came to the rescue, helped me track down an electronic keyboard and installed it in front of my bed so that I would be able to see it from the bed but would have to walk a few paces to reach it. Well, I’ve never been so motivated to walk in my life!
Now I know that an electronic piano will never be as good as a real piano but it has a number of advantages:
I do take classes, and I was surprised to find that these days you don’t have to go to a formal music school (not like where I grew up) so I can arrange the classes around chemo dates and energy levels, which means I always have something to look forward to for when I feel good.
In the beginning, I did use to get paranoid about all the germs which the children taking classes might be leaving on the school piano, but I make sure I don’t put my hands near my face during the class and then wash my hands as soon as I get home and so far I have never caught a cold whilst on chemo so it must be possible to stay safe or I’m just very lucky!
There is something very satisfying about trying out one’s childhood dream, even if it is to find out that actually it is not as good as we imagined. Sometimes though, it’s even better than we imagined! The piano has comforted me many times when I felt frustrated about all the things I had lost because of cancer. What I have gained from trying out my childhood dream far outweighs all the losses.
So what’s your childhood dream? You never know, it might be possible to give it a go!
It is true that playing the piano or another musical instrument can provide such solace and joy. Music can express feelings and emotions for which we have no words, I believe.
What is my childhood dream? At this moment I can't quite fathom it. I do have a few more years to think back through than Claire though. Food for thought...!
Claire, you write very well.
Hmmm. Like Matthew, I have a few more years to think back on than Claire does. My childhood dream was to dance ... and I do ... and to play music ... and I do (both activities I took up at age fifty .)
Food for thought indeed.
One thing I am quite convinced of, is that music, whether you play it or listen to it, can be an enormous source of strength and comfort faced with something as shattering and heartbreaking as having cancer or seeing and trying to help someone you love to fight it. Another is that it is quite possible - because I've done it - to learn a musical instrument as an adult, even elderly. So if that is anybody else's dream, I'd say go for it !
If you have any questions about our organisation our Macmillan team would love to hear from you
You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or YouTube.
© Macmillan Cancer Support 2010
what are these?