OK, it was bound to happen sooner or later. This past week, I’ve had a bit of a wobble. I dunno why. I don’t feel scared or anxious or fearful. I haven’t started feeling ‘why me’ or ‘it’s not fair’. I’ve just been feeling a bit down, irritable, rather tired, and not quite so able to cope with things not going smoothly. I’ve mislaid my little bubble of calm positivity. It’s probably in that drawer with the miscellaneous jigsaw pieces, hair clips, a chargers from a mobile phone I last used in 2002, bits of plastic crap from kids’ party bags, and dead batteries.
I’ve had enough of being scanned, injected, poked and prodded without any actual treatment, is probably what it is. On Saturday, I had a CT scan. This is the ‘Polo mint’ one, and it was to look inside my head, torso and pelvis. I was wearing a gown which managed to be voluminously huge and yet reveal every stretchmark at the same time. Then just after the platform started moving through the hole of the scanner, there’s this disembodied, slightly embarrassed, male voice from the safety of the radiation-free radiographers’ cubicle: ‘We need to remove your bra’. I was wired up via a canular to the contrast dye they inject into you, so couldn’t actually remove my bra – I just had to scrunch it up in my hand, desperately wishing it was a bright pink Rigby & Peller number instead of a grubby old M&S number.
Then yesterday I had a really quite horrible day. It started with an MRI scan. This is the scary claustrophobic tunnel one. Luckily (!) I wasn’t on my back, but on my front as it was a breast MRI. (Apparently better to see through younger women’s denser breast tissue than the mammogram or ultrasound scans I’ve had so far, to get a completely accurate picture of what they are dealing with). This involved lying face-down on a body-length foam cushion. With two holes cut in it for my boobs to dangle through. In a really narrow tunnel with my arms pressed to my sides. And the NOISE of the machine. It was horrendous, like nothing on earth, varying between the high-pitched screaming of the devil’s own choir and the rumbling you might get inside a satanic cement mixer. Although it did cover up the sound of Ken Bruce through the totally ineffectual headphones, so that was a bonus. And when I escaped, my squished ribs felt like every single one had been individually jumped on by an Oompa Looma for 40 sodding minutes. Ouchy ouch.
Then things got worse with the heart scan. They did one injection, sent me away for half an hour, then I was meant to have another injection before a 25 minute scan. I’d been told I would be out before 1pm, in time to pick DS up from nursery. Got back from my little tea break and waited for the next injection. And waited. And waited. Eventually, beginning to panic slightly, I asked what was taking so long. ‘Oh,’ said the receptionist in Nuclear Medicine cheerfully, ‘we’ve run out of the stuff for the second injection and they’re making up some more in the pharmacy.’ Run out? WTF??
To cut a very long and stressful story short, I had to dash across town in the car to pick DS up from nursery (still had canular in right arm, with handbag hanging off of it at one point, with all the poise and grace of Miranda) and DH had to leave work and meet me back at the hospital to take DS home. In the end, the whole thing took so long that I couldn’t even pick DD up from school. I was totally stressed out by the end of it, and lost any last vestige of going-with-the-flowingness.
Anyway, today I had a lovely, normal normal normal day: doing actual client work instead of caaancer admin, dropping off and picking up the children at the right times, and even managing to flick through Grazia while DD watched the deeply educational High School Musical 2. No-one asked me to put on a paper gown. No-one injected me with anything. No-one subjected me to even mild doses of radiation. Bliss is highly comparative, don’t you think?
So, more tests and stuff at the hospital on Thursday and then, finally, we should be all systems go for starting treatment next week some time. I feel like shouting ‘Just. Give. Me. The. Drugs. NOW.’ I am actually looking forward to chemotherapy. That’s how weirdly warped life has become over the past month.
Well you’re definitely entitled to a wobble! I really hope you get a start date for your treatment soon and then you can focus on finishing it and putting this behind you; and there will be plenty more normal days along the way. S xxx
You are so courageous and funny, Maja. The image of boobs dangling down in the scanner machine will stay with me forever, I think!
Oh the joy of tests! Glad you are having them but not the way they make you feel and the additional stress of course of impact on life and routines.
Forgive me for asking this from a coaching viewpoint? Which friends or supports are willing to help with picking up kids for you in future? I’m sure your support team is available if you signal now!
Hi gorgeous, you wobble away and we will be here to steady you.
And, by the way, I am but a phone call away for picking up kids – next time you have an appointment, how about assuming it will run late and let your willing friends help where we can to ease the stress?. Then if you finish on time you can go home have a cuppa and be chilled on the sofa like royalty waiting to receive your small and slightly grubby bairns as they are delivered to your lap.
You are amazing, strong and ready for battle so its no wonder you are impatient to get at it. All I can say it the F***ing C better watch out.
Onwards and Upwards
We have never met but you sound like a lovely person with amazing inner strength. And given what you’re coping with: wobble on lovely. Will keep everything crossed that things start shifting for you next week, in every sense x
Have been reading your posts recently and, though I don’t know you, I still wanted to wish you all the best with all the forthcoming treatments.
You write extremely well, even when the topic is so emotive and personal – fantastic stuff.
I will be rooting for you over the cyberspace x
natalie that was the sweetest message ever! it made me cry.
everyone wobbles, cancer or not… but man, if u have cancer, or have to support someone with cancer u r more than entitled to a wobble!
my mum had cancer… i don’t know what you’re going through but I have a fair idea of how hard it gets.
sending you lots of support and wishes… don’t know where you live, not sure i can offer to help you with pick-ups so i will join in your cyber support!! xox
Thank you all so much for your lovely comments – I can’t tell you how much everyone’s kind, funny, generous and loving responses to my posts keep me going!
I am a new reader to your blog…. Really enjoy your writing! Good luck with all your treatment xx
From what I’ve seen, that’s your first wobble which is pretty amazing! I haven’t known you for long but I am so impressed with the way you are dealing with this and I find your posts inspirational. You certainly manage to allay my fears. As for pick-ups, you know you can ask me to collect your DD, especially since I have to be at school every day anyway. She can come along with us until you are ready to collect her and my children would be delighted to have her to play with. As for your DS, I’d be happy to collect him too. Just ask.
And when you find that bubble of calm positivity, can you tell me where you got it in the first place? I need one!
Another amazing read, I have been fortunate in that I haven’t had to have all this done to me.
I have only had two major wobbles, the day before my op and the day after I had all the results from the op, am predicting one the day before chemo starts. Am getting to know what gets to me about all this f*****g caaaaancer!!
Absolutely agree about just getting on with it – give me the drugs – however horrible!!
Big hugs and thinking about you xx