Someone I love told me yesterday that I should be ‘slowing down’. I got a little bit cross about this. Because actually, I’m not ill. I mean, yeah, I have this disease in my right boob and lymph, but I don’t feel ill. At all. I’m a bit tired, but then I’ve been knackered since DS was born more than two years ago. I think of illness as being when you cannot get out of bed with a cold so bad you’ve told everyone it’s flu (insert your own joke about man flu here).
This feeling of general wellness is one of the things that makes ‘having cancer’ so weird for me. It’s surreal, sitting there in endless waiting rooms for endless scans (of which more shortly) with a load of much older people who look much iller than me. And I’m there with plenty of hair (at the moment anyway) and my highest heels, just sort of dealing with it. I think some people think I’m in denial, because I keep saying how fine I am. (Slightly embarrassing doorstep incident yesterday when neighbour plucked up courage to come round and ask with the ‘sympathetic head on one side’ thing how I was. I said: ‘I’m fine’, and she said, ‘Oh!! Is it all OK then?’. ‘No, I’ve still got cancer, I’m just feeling fine about it.’) But I’m not in denial. I am in complete and utter acceptance. I don’t feel fear, or dread, or panic, or resistance, to the cancer or the treatment.
Someone lovely emailed me yesterday saying she supposed I felt ‘wretched’. Quite important not to second guess how people are feeling, because I don’t feel wretched at all. I mean, I’m obviously not looking forward to having chemotherapy. It sounds pretty ghastly. And the irony is that it’s the treatment to ‘get me better’ that’s going to make me feel like shit, not the cancer. And since my long red hair is one of my defining features, I’m not really looking forward to the probability of it taking a gap year away from my head. Particularly as my head is childishly small. Really. Adult hats come straight down to my nose. So if I go baldy I will look like a total pinhead.
I will be slow when I need to be slow. When I have no choice but to slow down. On days when chemo has knocked the stuffing out of me and I just want to lie on the sofa with the new Flatout Bear my mummy bought me watching my favourite Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn movies. (Tho to be honest, it’s more likely to be Toy Story or High School Musical in this house). Right now, I am more interested in living, laughing, and doing. And if that means going to see that wonderful crazy healer in Essex again, let’s go! If it means watching back-to-back Inbetweeners, hurray! If it means going to Sussex to do the strange and intense The Journey process (I’ll do a separate post on this), fill the tank up! If it means a night out in London with an old friend for outrageously expensive cocktails at Skylon, get me on that train.
Because between these adventures, life is getting a bit frustrating. I now intimately know the layout of the Royal Surrey County Hospital. I was there again yesterday to sign the consent form for the new drugs trial, and my oncologist, the Tiggerish one, bounded in briefly to tell me that while the ‘in ducto’ calcium deposits are now confirmed by the biopsies as pre-cancerous, they are all in one contained area, so my lovely surgeon is confident we can avoid a mastectomy after the drugs melt my lumps away. Whoop whoop! (I said to him, quite genuinely, gosh, aren’t I lucky! And he raised one querulous eyebrow and said ‘Well, you could be luckier…’.)
And after the bone scan last week, I now have to have a CT scan on Saturday morning (the scary tunnel one! Not really the sort of thing I was looking forward to spending my weekend doing), and an MRI scan and a heart scan on Monday (more radioactivity. Note to self: avoid M&S so I don’t set the alarms off again) and an echocardiogram at some point. Tits, bones, heart – there is no bit of me that they are not scanning. I now know how the food in my Sainsbury’s trolley feels. And only after all the data from all the scans is back will I be able to start the chemo. So maybe next Thursday, possibly the start of the following week.
So in the meantime, while life continues to be a bit limbo-ish, I’ll carry on with work and the kiddies and the house and all the other stuff that keeps me busy. Haven’t even had time to start looking through the amazing Cancer Lifeline Programme yet. No time to slow down. I’m like Roadrunner, me. Meep meep!