‘It’s gonna be fine bro,
You’re gonna get it cut out,
Gonna get fake cans,
We’ll have a laugh in chemo,
Then we’re good to go’.
The last few weeks have been quite cray cray, I’ve only had about 1 day a week where I haven’t had to go to the hospital or to appointments! I’m so busy and important. I’m trying to adjust my diet to being completely organic, which is proving to be quite difficult in this day and age. I think I need to expand my collection of flannies, so I look the part when I visit all the farmers markets. The oncologist appointment went well yesterday, there are a few tests that need to be done before it starts so it will probably will be in the next 2-3 weeks. This is how it will roll –
4 rounds of Adriamycin Cyclophosphamide (3 weeks apart)
12 rounds of Taxol (1 week apart)
So altogether, it will be about 6 months.
I did my first proper bit of exercise in 6 weeks yesterday! Exciting times. Just a walk to the bluff which was about half an hour there and back. Jesus Christ you lose a lot of fitness in 6 weeks. Those of you that know the grass hill near my house, I almost had a coronary trying to get up it. I have been feeling pretty fatigued and nauseous in the last few days because of a minor procedure I had to get done and the medication I’ve been on. I kind of had enough of it though, so I put on my gym gear, pretended I felt well and just left the house. Within 5 minutes I was feeling like my old self, so much energy. One of my favourite gym pump up songs came on – More by Usher (I’m not even embarrassed). I had to stop myself from breaking into a slow/moderately slow jog, I was that amped. Just goes to show that you have to give energy to receive it. So when you’re in bed in the morning wondering if you should get up and go to the gym, just get the f#$! up, would you?
What I have noticed in the last few weeks, that people are quite good at making assumptions, whether it be from kindness and compassion, or annoyance and ignorance. My first encounter was actually on day one of this debacle, when I went for my very first mammogram. Standing there ready to go, feeling quite vulnerable with my exposed chestal area, the nurse said to me ‘Umm, how old are you?’ I proceeded to tell her I was 27 and her response was ‘Well we actually don’t do mammograms for women under 40 on Medicare so I just need to go see the doctor’. I then asked her if she had actually read my report and she said she hadn’t, so I said to her, probably not in the nicest way I could have ‘Maybe you should read my report’. After opening the report and looking at it for no longer than 3 seconds, she said ‘OK, I’m just going to go ahead with the Mammogram’. If any of you actually talk to me soon, this story is heaps better when I say it with my voice and impersonate the nurse, so please ask me to, for full effect.
My second encounter with assumptions from people was at my first visit to the Breast Cancer Institute. I was in the waiting room with Mum and Dad, waiting for my appointment. A sweet old lady who was a volunteer came over and asked us if we would like some tea. I obliged, then whilst chatting to her she said ‘Oh it’s so nice of you to come here with your Mother and support her today’. The poor old bugger. I should have kept my mouth shut but instead I laughed and blurted out that my mother was supporting me! Needless to say, sweet old volunteer lady was mortified.
The third encounter, reminds me somewhat of a train wreck, or one of those situations where you are just begging for the person to dig up, please stop oh god please stop, whilst you are scratching your cheeks and hiding your eyes trying to deal with the awkwardness. Again, I feel that reading the words really don’t do justice to the story, again, please ask me to repeat it with my voice. As I was walking between appointments at Westmead one day, a lady that worked at the hospital approached me. She was one of those people that is in the foyer and goes up to people to talk to them. I am not sure whether she was selling something, doing a survey or just generally trying to help people around the hospital. Any way, she wasn’t doing a very good job of whatever it was she was trying to do and I am sure she could not possibly reach benchmarks or the quota her employees would be looking for. She did the old annoying thing, got right in my line of path of walking, grabbed my necklace and proceeded to tell me how beautiful it was and asked what was it. She was a massive space invader. I told her they were healing crystals and tried to keep walking, but she got in my way again. This is how the conversation continued:
Lady who isn’t very good at her job: ‘So, why are you at Westmead Hospital today?’
Me: (Blunt expression) ‘I have breast cancer’
Lady who isn’t very good at her job: (Jaw drops wide open, speechless, actively moves her head, tilted down, directly staring at my breasts).
Me: (Blunt expression, again) ‘They’re fake.”
Lady who isn’t very good at her job: (In a state of shock, disbelief and obvious embarrassment) ‘But you’re so young!’
Me: (Let’s just say every expression I gave this poor lady was blunt) ‘I’m quite aware of that’.
Lady who isn’t very good at her job: ‘You look like you’re my age!’
Me: ‘I’m 27.’
Lady who isn’t very good at her job: (So, so awkwardly, didn’t know what to say so said letters and syllabals that didn’t make sense) ‘Urghacni nvuabkjbfkjbskgjb’.
Me: ‘I’m in a hurry to another appointment, I have to go’.
As I walked away and out the door, I turned around and looked at her and she was actually standing there, still staring at me, with her mouth open. Awkward turtle, just flailing. I think it’s quite terrible that someone would ask a person, on entrance to a hospital of all places, what they are doing there. What if I was going to see my dying mother? What if I was visiting my child in the burns unit? OR, goodness forbid, what if I had cancer?
This story is far from over.
When I left my next appointment and then had to walk through the foyer again, back to another appointment, she felt it necessary to call out from her desk where she was sitting with all her colleagues, whilst I walked past ‘GOOD LUCK!’ she yelled. To which every person in the foyer then looked at me.
That’s not even it. I’m not even finished. The poor girl, I think she must be Bridget Jones’ sister because she was the absolute queen of awkwardness. Hours later, as I was finally leaving the hospital, she felt it necessary to approach me again. I’m not sure if she was aiming for redemption, I am not sure if she was so scared that I was so young and she had the thought that this could happen to her, but I am sure that she just kept digging herself deeper. She got in my line of path again.
Lady who isn’t very good at her job: (Still as much shock and disbelief in her face as before) ‘How did you know you had cancer?’
Me: ‘I had a lump’
Lady who isn’t very good at her job: ‘Oh my god! How big was it?’
Me: ‘Big enough’.
At that point, I decided to just keep walking, I’m not sure if she kept trying to ask questions but I just left. I am so happy to share my story with people, but the circumstances that telling my story came about in that situation, were not the most pleasant.
My fourth experience was just this nasty man that wouldn’t let me in on the M4 and I nearly ended up on the median strip. DON’T YOU KNOW I HAVE CANCER?!?!?!?!??!!?!?!?!? LET ME IN YOU SELFISH BASTARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Plato said ‘Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle’. I suppose that can be interpreted as it being utterly necessary to tred lightly when you talk to people, especially strangers! I look healthy, I sound healthy and positive and my body appears to be fully functioning. But no one can see the scars under my clothes (apart from my friends and cousins that I have flashed) and no one can see my nausea.
Let’s all just love a bit more, peeps.
Other highlights from the last few weeks have been drinking copious amounts of juices, taking a slow motion video of fat baby Owen crying which is utterly hilarious, visits from my fav NZ/Kiwi comrades and seeing The Lego Movie.