It is another beautiful spring day outside. Unlike yesterday, I am writing this post in the waiting room of the BCC (point to cancer- what cancer doesn’t know, is that I’ve got an amazing brownie for after this meeting – point to me!)*.
Dad is reading a paper entitled ‘Presynaptic Spike Broadening Reduces Junctional Potential Amplitude’ – I’ve copied that with out knowing what it means, there are some very pretty graphs on it. I am resisting my desire to contemplate the plug sockets again (they are at an awfully funny height for sockets) and so I am writing this list of truths, rules and top tips**, I may write longer posts on some of them but here goes, in no particular order:
- Try, if you can, to prep for your future by going on a roller-coaster, blindfold. This is what results days, tests day or in fact everyday will feel like, the highs and lows are “Cray Cray”.
- You will come away from every appointment with a saplings worth of paperwork, proving that cancer is not just bad for you, it is bad for the environment.
- You will not be able to comprehend how far reaching a cancer diagnoses will affect your life, present and future – this is a very good thing.
- Lymphedema may prove to be a bigger nemesis than cancer. Grrr.
- You will worry about money, especially if you are a freelancer. You will then realise that there are people a lot worse off, that you have options and that you are, once again, luckier than most.
- Conversely, money worries will probably not stop you spending extravagantly on crazy things because a) it makes you happy, even just for a minute b) why the hell not? Try really hard not to go too wild because…
- ….You will still have to do everyday, normal things like paying bills – the bank does not know you have just been put on a mental rocket to Mars.
- Final note on shopping, try not to internet shop while high on morphine. I, apparently, have a Turkish bath towel winging it’s way to me – from what I remember, it really seemed like the most important purchase of my life at the time. (If I’m being kind to myself I could see it has a defiant shout – that I’ll be swimming again soon). A. once bought a vegetable peeler when coming down from sedation, we already had 2. So I guess we’ve got off pretty lightly, as long as we don’t mention the shoes….
- It will take more than breast cancer to convince Dad and A that you should be allowed a French Bulldog – not even when you bat your eyelashes.
- Your Doctors (and all NHS staff actually) are titans but they may not know everything at the very moment that you may wish know it. Like your parents before them, they may seem God-like but like you, they are human. They are the best kind of human because they spend their days breaking the worst kind of news. Always keep this in your mind.
- The above, is why you will spend you days at BCC trying to get the gruff, scots receptionist to like you…. heres still hoping.
- The hospital will suggest you bring someone with you to your appointments, to help remember what is said. However, you wouldn’t take someone who didn’t love you, but because they love you, they may forget too. Don’t worry, between you both, you can cobble it together. BRING A NOTEBOOK.
- You will realise just how vain you really are.
- You will feel guilty, about a shed load of odd things. This will at times annoy and exasperate your loved ones.
- When used judiciously the phrase “who wants to talk about cancer” can bring levity to a situation.
- Following on from the last point, only use your C-card for good, preferably funny reasons.
- You will promise yourself you will not use your C-card to gain the advantage – with great illness comes great responsibility.
- At some point, in a fit of pique, you will break this rule. Don’t be to hard on yourself when it happens.
- You will find a lot of humour in life with cancer, just don’t push yourself – it’s surprising how quickly darkly funny can turn simply dark. Advise others of this too.
- Medical Professionals are not allowed to find your illness funny. Case in point; when asked about your alcohol consumption (which you will be several times a visit) your answer probably shouldn’t be a) right now? yes, Gin please or b) I am now an alcoholic (delivered dead pan)***. But they must have a a sense of humour or else they wouldn’t make you wait for the Breast Nurse in front of rows upon rows of boxes of fake boobs….
- You will start a bucket list (or if that’s too bleak a Life ‘to do list’) when you read it back you will discover a) you will need to be a millionaire b) you are generally a lot shallower than you’d hope and c) you are obsessed with food.
- The first 3 questions you will want to ask, upon finding out, will probably surprise you and possibly the BCC nurse you are speaking to. Asking if you can swim while having Chemo as your opening gambit for instance….
- You will become a walking cliche, this will piss you off.
- Your body will no longer belong solely to you.
- Do not be cocky about any test or hospital visit – karma will bite you on the ass.
- People will spend a lot of time telling you – you are young. Sometimes this is a good thing, sometimes a bad but because you are so vain it will always feel nice.
- This goes for anything to do with your BMI too.
- No one will know how to react when you tell them something like this, you wouldn’t have known a week ago, this will sometimes annoy you.
- You don’t suddenly become any better at handling other peoples bad news. You will forget the phrases that annoyed you and use them on said people. At some later point, this will really peeve you too.
- Always thank your medical team, your loved ones, friends, blog readers and supporters.
So Thank You, Thank You and once again Thank You. Your words of kindness and love fill my days with light.
* I also got no more bad news today – another point to me!
** Let’s please remember the 1 2 3 4 mantras of little blog 1) I hope it doesn’t happen to you. 2) these are my own personal views 3) check your bits and bobs 4) everything is better with cake.
*** Not least because they’ve probably heard it before. Several times.