Going Rogue is in Vogue

We are messing with my Meds. Which means we are messing with my hormones. Which means trouble. While I say ‘we are messing with my meds’ in a chavilar fashion, I’d like to make it clear it is with the full permission of my Specialist and Nurse, I have not gone rogue.

My cancer was oestrogen sensitive which means, in short, that my type of cancer feeds off of a hormone being produced by my body, which is a bummer. I am very fortunate that there is a pill that can suppress oestrogen production. I am very grateful for it and I’m very, very lucky that I have this option. However, what this means is that my body and these pills have been waging an internal war for about 18 months now. There is always collateral damage in war and the side effects (for me, not everyone) have felt pretty brutal.

Until about a month ago I’d not had a decent night sleep in 2 years ( I know new parents, neither have you, but my Pills don’t redeem themselves by giving me kisses or giggling at my funny faces), coupled with leg cramps, a clouded mind and crippling hot flushes 4 times hourly, I was getting a little down – depression is another side effect.

So I got parole, 3 months off the meds and it’s eye opening. I have a brain again, can concentrate on reading and writing, can swim for longer, I laugh more and for the first time in ages can go out late, dancing, no less. I feel like I’m finding myself again (well not again), finding the new person on the other side of all of this and it’s exciting and a little weird. I feel like a human, an actual human, not an automaton.

Not that flooding my body with hormones again hasn’t had it’s own issues. Remember when you look back at the cringe inducing teenage diaries you wrote, or observe a pack of teens all awkward in a park? You know how you sign and think to yourself, “you could not pay me enough to be that age again” ? Well, I have a feeling that this rush of hormones is plunging me distinctly into the teenage zone. Only now, at my age, it feels AMAZING though somewhat confusing and yes, socially awkward at times.

I’m enjoying freedom, I’m enjoying freedom so much I’m not quite sure how I’m going to go back to jail again. The Specialists like to quote statistics, it’s all about projected years of life VS cancer VS my age, at least I think that’s what they talk about. I cannot keep the information in my head. Not in my usual ditzy way, I simply can’t try and live a normal-ish life with that information in my head. They’ve told me these stats at least 10 times now and each time, Poof! gone by the following week.

You want to know the craziest thing? The pills give me a 1 to 2 percent extra bit of protection, just 1 to 2 percent!

So I’m trying to figure out if I live life to the fullest, happiest, joy fuelled-ness and live without the extra 1 to 2 percent chances or do I go back to a greyer, safer, tougher way of living? I guess writing it like that you can see the way I’m swaying. Yet, what do I do with the guilt? if it comes back, for the people who don’t have the opportunity of the wonder pill? But what if I take the pill and it comes back anyway but my days haven’t been quite as sunny?

Answers on a postcard please!



This is an email I sent to A. just before my diagnosis, he was away on an international tour, I used to find this email sad but now I just think how far we’ve come.

Benign Tumour! Almost! I’ve named him Burt.

Hello my dearest flying man,

So I met a very kind Dr today.

I also got to look at the ultra sound of my breast.
Burt is about 17mm wide, and if it is a Fibroadenoma- a benign  tumour caused by stress. Thank you 2013! 
It’s 90% likely that it is but he took a core biopsy – results on Tuesday.
That was not a pleasant one but more   thorough than the needle biopsy. Had a local anaesthetic and then they cut the skin poke a big needle in and punch a core of the tumour out. He should me the sample after, it looks like a little worm.It’s pretty sore now but ok at the time. I got to watch it all on the ultra sound which was pretty cool.
Might have to have it removed in future. 
I was very brave. Just a thought when your thinking of presents….;-) I jest I jest!

Skipping forward some stages it has now been two years of colossal highs and lows. I wanted to mark my 2 year Burtavsary with a short ‘state of the union’ about what I’ve learnt and what I’m still struggling to learn.

It takes a bloomin’ long time to grow your hair back.  My hair is apparently about 3 months away from a short 20′s style bob, presently I don’t feel I have a hairstyle, more like a mop on the top of my hear that wilfully refuses to do my bidding (which I have been informed is perfectly normal for a two year old).

It takes even longer to grow your eyebrows back, which is odd. I’ve also learnt that eyebrow serums can give you werewolf cheeks – if applied before bed and smeared over your face – it stimulates all hair growth apparently.

Chemo weight is very, very hard to lose, especially when you love cake…..

Sometimes it’s very, very hard not to just wander around repeating “what the hell was that, what the hell happened.” This was not meant to be my life but then A. dances past in a striped pair of pants, old skool RnB on spotify and you wonder if it wasn’t what happened maybe life wouldn’t be as sweet.

I still think about cancer daily, I still have to talk about it a lot. I beat myself up about this but then I think; if I’d seen a talking chicken or a flying monkey I’d probably still be talking about that. Cancer is as shocking as a flying monkey.

If cancer is a weeping, bloody wound, recovery is like an itchy scab. When you have an open wound people comment; when you’re covering up a scab no one talks about it. Except if it’s a shark bite then you can be all like  “hey, I got bit by a shark” and you’re cool. Recovery is sometimes as lonely as swimming around and waiting for Jaws.

Sometimes these days, when nothing much is happening, feel like loopy bubbles of pure joy. Other days I feel a bit like I’d imagine Odysseus felt a few months after he was finally back from Troy – a bit like he should still be outsmarting Sirens and dodging Cyclopes’, I guess when you’ve finished something epic everyday sometimes feels a little everyday.

Hot flushes are the devils work.

I wish I could say that I learnt the secrets of the universe while puking my guts up or the strength of Samson returned with my hair but it didn’t. I’m just a person that something rubbish happened to like a lot of other people are. I think I laugh a little more easily, I’m happier to speak my mind more openly, on a good day I remember to count my considerable blessings and on a bad day a remember there have been worse.