Monday, 25 January 2016

Box Of Chocolates

Why hello there. I'm back, because I need a hobby that doesn't involve eating. At least while I'm typing I can't shove food in my gob. Besides, I have so much to tell you. 

Apparently life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get. Well frankly, I would have preferred to have gotten a paltry old box of Cadbury roses (see above). Instead, I got cancer. The cancery kind. It was there lurking in the lump in my boob. It was only small, or so I'm told and I got that fucker. Or, at least, the surgeon did. But she had to cut me in order to do so, and I do not particularly like being cut. I'm funny like that.

I don't like doctors, hospitals, surgery, blood or any of those things. I cannot watch medical programmes. I am well and truly out of my comfort zone.

It is really quite bizarre but at the same time boring. A familiar story. It happens all the time. So why not to me? It's felt like that ever since Mickey Blue Eyes had his cancer 'journey'.

It all began one balmy November day when I made my way to the doctor's to suffer the ignominy known to all women as a pap smear. My GP always does a breast exam during the same appointment, and she discovered the lump. I had no freaking idea it was even there. Scary shit. 

"I don't think it's Cancer," she said, then immediately booked me in for a mammogram the next day. My tits were dutifully crushed and the results were not alarming at this point. Nothing looked suspicious. But off for a biopsy I went. Those fuckers HURT. 

A few days later the dreaded news came. It was cancer. I've now become one of those people who says things like 'I'm on a 'journey', and I never wanted to say such skin-crawling things let alone go on one. But here I am. 

I was cut on the 10th of December and they got it all, as well as a few more spots lurking in the margins. The good news is, nothing had spread to the lymph nodes. The bad news is, it's something called triple negative. You just know that anything negative isn't good, let alone when you triple it. Sigh.

This means there is a slight chance of it being a genetic thing. In which case I would have to do the whole Angelina Jolie thing and have a bilateral mastectomy and removal of ovaries. I always knew Angie and I had so much more in common besides our striking resemblance and humanitarian efforts. She oozes sex appeal with those pouty lips of hers, while I'm also quite surly pouty at times. She adopted all of those children. I adopted a dog from a pet shelter. So... same thing, really. 

Anyway, back to this cancer shit. 

To cut a long, gruesome story short, I saw the Familial Cancer Service Professor type lady and she thinks that the chance of me having a mutant gene is unlikely. (But I still stick firmly to my theory that Ang and I are twins separated at birth. Shut up).

I had a blood test and will know for sure in 8 weeks. In the meantime, I started chemotherapy. Fun times. Using 'fun' in the sense of horrifying and craptastic. But you get that. I will lose my hair.

And I will now become a person who wears hats. At least I do look stunning in hats, that's one consolation. It may or may not be the good kind of stunning, but details. 

Chemotherapy involves going to hospital for a few hours, and having some nasty chemicals pumped into you via a drip while you munch on an icy pole or ice chips. This is to cool the mouth and therefore prevent mouth ulcers. I'm having four 'cycles' of this treatment every two weeks. Short and sweet. Or short and shit, in this case.

For the first two days after I had my first drip/cycle I didn't feel any different. Then, on the third day I got out of bed and immediately felt extremely strange. Nauseous, dizzy and bizarre. It's like the mother of all hangovers, multiplied by a bazillion without the fun of the booze. Not fair. 

It was particularly unfair because that was on my birthday. HMPH.
I did manage to have a cakie and a good lie down. There was no way I was staying vertical. 

Anyway, they give you a shit-tonne of anti-nausea meds and I took the extra ones and eventually felt much better. Meanwhile, when I had a rough night I could just visualise myself floating on a luxury yacht on the Mediterranean instead of feeling the effects of chemo. Totally works. Sort of. Kind of. Not really. 

On day 9 of the cycle I had a blood test. This is to check on my white blood cells, which can go a bit wonky and require some sort of injection to boost them.(I'm really up with all the medical terms, as you can see). Obviously the point of chemo is as an 'insurance policy' just in case there's any errant cancer cells. But it also effects your normal ones, hence the hair loss and nausea. Anyway, my bloods were all good and I didn't need the injection at that point. So that's chemo. My next cycle is this coming Wednesday. After which, I will be  half way finished. That's the best way to look at at it.  And I will definitely lose my hair at this point.

Luckily I have a collection of hats thanks to some clever ladies. Thanks Mum, Auntie Helen and my imaginary friend Posski. 

Folks, this is why I don't have an Instagram
account. My selfies (and all photos) are rubbish. 

I've been using this silly old chemo caper as an excuse to over-indulge during the Christmas period. Consequently I've gained a few kilos. For those of you who remember that I was attending Weight Witches and had received my broomstick. Well, I'm a very bad witch at the moment. Oops. 

Evidently, you're supposed to become a serene-and-calm-kale-and -quinoa-eating beacon of beaming positivity to conquer cancer. I guess I'm doomed. I don't wanted to be doomed. Not in any way. Not to a grisly early death or a joyless life of eating mung beans and organic lentils. I'm torn. On the one hand I want to be healthy (OF  COURSE!) and on the other hand life is too short to not enjoy that cakie and glass of wine. Do you know what I mean? Everything in moderation, as 'they' say! (Including moderation).

It's not like I intend to take up smoking and just give the fuck up. But seriously, can't we just agree that this cancer caper just fucking sucks, and I won't be feeling on freaking top of the god damn world every second no matter how much I love the Carpenters. (Some things never change).  The truth is, anybody who thinks you're going to be positive one hundred percent of the time after a cancer diagnosis is quite simply delusional and without a shred of empathy. There, I said it. 

Having said all that, it's certainly been a huge exercise in finally getting the hang of this mindfulness and gratefulness malarkey.

I force myself with extreme herculean effort to exist only in the current moment and not project too much into the future. I've even been quite successful in my endeavours and had several outings with minimal anxiety. Previously I would have become quite beside myself just THINKING about an outing, but it's just a total waste of energy now.

Furthermore, I've even started a whole 'happiness jar' thing.  This is some sort of Oprah-esque rah rah philosophy where you scribble down the highlight of your day and throw it in a jar. It doesn't haven't to be any big grandiose thing, it can be a particularly impressive cup of tea or coffee you had. The idea is that you go back to it in the future and remind yourself that there were happy moments amongst the crap. And that the small, mundane things in life are often the happiest. I know. I don't even know who I am anymore.

At this rate, if I keep up this stuff I might even become a vegan. 

NO wait...

BAHAHAHAAHAHA! Long way off that.

Anyway, today's confession was supposed to be about revealing my greatest strengths. Well, I think it's pretty obvious, isn't it?

Apart from my admirable ability to look stunning in hats, I now believe my greatest strength is my resilience. I never give up. Occasionally I do wallow for a time. But I always snap out of it and keep going.  I never totally give up my hope that things will improve. 

In addition to my balls of steel and iron-like resilience I have many other unique strengths. Such as:

  • I can eat my entire body weight in cake.
  • I'm a freaking ninja when it comes to avoiding small talk.
  • I'm a comedic genius. I mean, admit it, I even made cancer funny. That's a gift, people. 
  • I have a photographic memory. The fact that this skill only applies to remembering the words to every single Carpenters song is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT.
  • I can juggle and tap dance simultaneously.
  • I can make things up. Like that last point.
  • I can stay silent for long periods of time. Say, about 45 years? Coincidentally, this is my age.
  • I am the only person I know who, when they are actually trying very hard to clean up, can end up making more mess in the process. I do this by dropping things, knocking things over and generally having no fucking clue what I'm doing. Winning!
  • I can communicate by telepathy. Not really, I just forget what I was going to say. Sigh. 
  • I can compile amazing bullshit point lists. I mean, BULLET point lists. Ahem. 

So as you can see, I have so many strengths. Now I'm off to kick cancer's butt and try on hats. 

What is your greatest strength?

Linking up for I Must Confess and Open Slather