The Outside

I have always been one for enjoying the world outside my home. Flip the coin and I have also been one who has enjoyed wasting a day in my home. I think of all the times I indulged in the latter now, and I never imagined that it would become my existence. When I am at home now, if I am not in an uncontrollable sleep, I think about being somewhere, anywhere else. Part of me longs for it. I long for my old body and my old life, outside of N1 or Deeping. The reality is quite different. With my new body and my new life, I can find the outside world terrifying.

The flat is safe. I know how many footsteps there are from my bedroom to the toilet and back again. I can navigate most the hurdles that could possibly come my way in the dark, without a walking stick and more often than not, I can control who comes through the front door. The outside world on the other hand is a vast pit of unpredictability and danger. The general public equals danger.

I can count on one hand the amount of times I have left my flat for something that is not a pint of milk, by myself, since I was diagnosed nearly three months ago. I do not include hospital visits in this, because those sort of trips are controlled, basically escorted and all so very predictable.

Leaving the flat by myself feels naughty, almost forbidden and I am not sure if I like it. I want my independence, but I want that to come without the anxiety of falling over or being pushed in a crowd. People frighten me. They live in their own worlds and their worlds do not include My Myeloma. I do not want to walk around with a big sign around my neck that says “with cancer and brittle bones”, but sometimes I think it would be a good risk management tool. Just in case.

There are a lot of days now, when I do not need my walking stick. Hooray for pain control. That said, I would not dream of leaving the flat without it; it acts as my protector when there is nobody around to be my protector and even then, it doesn’t always work. People push, barge and shove. People do not consider what the stick is for and thus they are a threat. A threat to my bones and a threat to my long term mobility. Today, I caught two buses and on the return journey there were no priority seats available and nobody made one available. I am not sure if I would have done this in my former incarnation either. At the weekend, I ventured into a shop without my stick but accompanied by a five year old and a lady rather politely asked me to move or she would hit me with her buggy because I was blocking the aisle. I would not have said this in my former incarnation, but I may have judged the large woman standing in my way struggling to stand. Maybe this is karma.

I want to be outside. I want to do normal activities and not feel My Myeloma. Physically, this is impossible and until I address my current fear, psychologically, it is, erm… tricky.

My name is Emma Jane Jones and I have become a scaredy cat.