No 7 on the List for Living

7) Go to Paris by Eurostar just for lunch

It seemed like such an extravagant thing to do – going all the way to the French capital just for a meal. But then, that was the whole point.

I never would have chosen to have this killer disease but being forced to think about your own mortality makes you stop and consider what’s really important. This may sound odd but knowing that your time is short is quite life affirming. You appreciate so much more.

My List for Living is about doing the kind of things I wouldn’t normally do or the stuff I’ve always wanted to do but hadn’t quite got round to. The focus is on having fun and spending time with the people who mean the most to me.

It felt amazing to be heading to Paris with a big group of friends. What a way to start my List for Living. This may not be number 1 but this is a great thing to tick off first. Also the ones higher up the list are so much harder to do.

As we’d travelled abroad for lunch, it had to be somewhere special.

We went to one of the oldest brassieres in Paris, the beautiful Bofinger. It’s famous for its glass domed ceiling and art deco style. Luckily my rubbish French managed to secure us one of the best tables in the place – we dined under the dome.

Lovely ladies who lunch…in Paris.
(L-R) Jenny, me, Kath, Anna, Colette, Tamsin and Nicola.

After more than three hours we were the last to leave. Now that’s the way to do lunch!

The plan was then to explore Paris but after a short walk we spotted a bar which seemed too good to pass.  On the menu was a ‘foxy lady’ cocktail. Tamsin, my friend who kindly offers to pinch me at hospital, insisted that I couldn’t pass on that either.

Later, a couple from Australia started chatting to me as I squeezed past their table. The pair had recently retired and were traveling their way around Europe.

“Hey – you girls sound like you’re having a great time. What are you celebrating?” the woman asked me with a smile.

Oh. What could I say? We’d had a boozy lunch and now it was cocktails o’clock, my brain couldn’t think of what to say other than the truth. So I told them I had cancer and I was doing something fun with friends. The woman looked shocked and held my hand. I tried to reassure her, saying this really wasn’t a sad occasion.

It was an uncomfortable situation more for her then me however I’m glad she struck up the conversation. It made me realise that I felt so alive, I was making the most of life, and yes, we were celebrating.

Considering it was only a couple of days after my last chemo I felt surprisingly well. I’m sure that if I wasn’t doing much at home I wouldn’t have felt quite so good. A big occasion always gives me a boost. Another reason why I’ m already loving the list.

The day was brilliant. I had a great time with friends. It meant that thoughts and fears about cancer drifted into the background.

The only thing we had to worry about was whether the multi-coloured macaroons we’d bought would get crushed. They did. And would we make it back to the train station in time. We did, just. We caught the Eurostar home with a couple of minutes to spare.

It was a perfect start to my List for Living. Popping to Paris proved that my disease won’t stop me from enjoying the precious time I have left.