And, then I remembered…

Bryony Thomas
2 min readSep 29, 2020


For two minutes on Sunday morning everything was normal. I woke up in my bed, my husband was downstairs making breakfast for our daughter, and I was just me.

My body was my own. My mind was still. And, then I remembered…

I’m a cancer patient.

Bryony in hospital
Bristol Royal Infirmary — 7th January 2019

I turned onto my side, and then I remembered… my body was cut open and re-plumbed in one of the most complex surgeries in medicine.

I reached for a glass of water, and then I remembered… it was time to take my meds.

I stepped into my slippers, and then I remembered… that I can no longer feel my feet.

I heard my daughter laughing, and then I remembered… I have around 1% chance of seeing her 18th birthday.

It’s the first time this has happened since my diagnosis in December 2019. I had a fleeting moment where I forgot all of this. It reminded me of the weeks following my father’s death when I’d wake and remember afresh that he was no longer with us. Maybe this means I’m moving into a new phase. Maybe it means I’m still grieving.

And, yes it is grief.

I mourn for the body I loved. Its dexterity. Its unbroken skin. Its reliable, and un-noticed, functions.

I mourn for the mum that I was. Lifting my daughter up without fear of a hernia. Playing with energy. Being able to look at her without a sweeping feeling of melancholy for the memories I hope we’ll still be able to make.

I mourn for the wife I want to be. Enjoying each other, and looking forward to many years together. Not thinking of how he might navigate life without me.

I mourn for the business vision I’ve spent a decade and my life’s savings building towards. Not looking jealously at people still pushing forwards.

But, of course, I’m grateful too.

Gratitude and grief are not mutually exclusive.



Bryony Thomas

Pancreatic cancer survivor. Good enough Mum. Sometimes fun wife and friend. Founder of Watertight Marketing.