Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Body Is My Own Again

  I have only just written an entry with this title on it, because it truly has taken this long for me to feel that I have regained myself entirely. Up until now, I have felt like parts of me still remain in cancer's hand, and that they are out of my control. Now, whenever I am forced to tell people that a little over a year ago I had cancer, they don't believe me. "But you look so well!"
  Little do they know the journey this frame has made- down the rapid spiral of disintegration only to be re-formed in a patched-up manner that scarcely resembles my old self. But slowly, piece by piece we remedy these pieces. We begin from the inside of the body and work our way out, correcting every wrong that chemo and radio hath created. Funnily enough, not cancer. 

  So I'm in that stage, the better end of the halfway between ill and well. 
  My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer last week. When I heard, I could have sworn that I would have to again endure the undignified process of staging and treatment. It was a hard task to remind myself that I had nothing to do in this process. My vessel was as well as it was the five minutes before I had heard, sitting in a lecture theatre at university attempting to continue my life. I was well, healthy and as far as I knew, cancer-free.
  Then the cruel twist of fate, the realisation that I would rather have it again then have to watch another writhe in its company. I am certain it would be easier to handle if I could carry it as opposed to my seventy-year-old father who has already selected the fabric to line his coffin. As I sit and listen to his petrified ramblings and his conclusive opinions about the "odds" that he has of living, I cannot help but selfishly think... "was I like this?" Was I this unreasonable? Did I morph into this shivering example of fear personified? 

  So this event could be seen in two different ways. One, that as I am emerging from the filth of treatment and the ritual purging of body and soul has come to a close, I am lassoed back down into the mire for a few more months. Or two, that by seeing how ill others are, I can begin to feel healthier. 
  We shall see. 
  So I will hold my fathers hand tightly and do what ever is required of me, knowing all the time that I have wings. And they are stronger than ever before.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

  I have not come to you for a while. It feels like so long. Another curve-ball and you are the only one that I can think to share it with.
  My oncologist has been diagnosed with cancer. Not one that can be easily handled but the horrible kind. The kind when you hear your diagnosis you are thrilled you didn't have. It's a lingering cancer too, something that hurts and strips you bare. And to add to this cruel irony it is a haemtogological cancer as well, which is his specialty. Therefore, the thousands of people he has treated or watched die will now fill his mind and haunt his every thought in the many empty days he has ahead.

  I would rather take this burden from him than seen a genuine saviour be stricken so abominously. But I cannot. My only gesture can be to offer myself in any capacity he may need.
  But he will not need me. He has family and friends. He does not need me. He will not pay me to save his life. He will not give me anything but front row seats to what will be the most terrifying time in his life. 
  Who am I to trust if my doctor is not untouchable? Who can I rest my hopes in if anybody may be taken? Will this thing ever show mercy on us?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

You Know, I Think This Is The beginning of a Beautiful Day

  Something has shifted. I know that next week I'll probably enter a post about how horrid things are again but for now, something has improved. I no longer look like someone who has just come out the other side of chemo, but normal and dare I say it... healthy.
  There is energy and vitality where there wasn't before and I'm more than happy to conceed that the majority of it is mental. I still cradled myself like I was ill.
  I don't know how long it will last and frankly, at the moment I don't care.
  But I like it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

  I have the most horrendous lower back ache. I can hardly walk and there is no relief- not lying, not standing, not putting myself in rather precarious positions against the wall - Nothing!!! The doctor has prescribed vallium which means that most of my day consists of lying half conscious in a semi-dimmed room. As you can imagine, the memories flood back to me.
  Beside the expected: "I hate 2010" and "I wonder what I have done to deserve this much in one year"; the mind drifts in directions beyond your control.
  Naturally the next time you get sick after ceasing treatment and getting the 'all-clear' will be tremendously stressful and conjure up panic about this being the same thing as it was before.
  I think I've spoken on this before, how after five hours of Christmas shopping with screaming kids all around the stores and the non-stop chiming of 'Have Yourself A Very Merry Christmas' rings in your ears like a bad case of tinnitus- you have a headache. But of course, for us it's not a headache. It's a brain tumor.

  Come on, you know what I'm talking about? You have cold sore on your lips because you're run down because you're getting the big C again, not because of some germ you've picked up unknowingly. And the doctors, sure they indulge you and send the swab off to pathology or peruse your full bloods but lets be honest, that smirk is not so easily hidden. They tell you that it's all right that you are a little on edge but it's followed by a nervous chuckle because they (just like everybody else) wonder why it really is so hard for us to let go. 

  It's a fine line between being vigilant and paranoid. I've crossed over, I'm sure. Slouched with my swollen, crying face buried into the cool leather of our couch, wailing that 'There's a lump! There's a definate lump in my back! Right next to my spine! Damn it, can't you feel that? I feel it, and I know my body!' And of course, it's the same as that other lump one year and six days ago. It is hard and cannot be moved. Lymphoma, for sure. 
  Then of course we Google (which is never a good idea) and learn that lymphoma quite often spreads to the spinal fluid. And off I go on tangents of whether I would have treatment agin, where I would spend my last few weeks, how I could possibly tell my mum. Don't get me wrong, I'm not dramtic by nature but these are possiblities which are not so far fetched now.

  Realistically, my back is probably a strain or subluxtaion from where I lifted something and twisted or move in the wrong direction. The fact is, treatment has made my body an unrecognisable lump of flacid indulgence. I have the body of a seventy year old and it is weighing me down as much as these sombre thoughts are.
  The term 'viscious cycle" is a shameful understatment.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. That I can't be more brave or more strong. I'm sorry that many nights this thing gets the better of me . I feel sore tonight, and have been as sick as chemo ever made me. The oncologist has said that my constant stomach upsets are a side effect of the treatment, my system is trying to clear the toxins from my body and rebuild the tissue in my lymph areas.  
I feel so alone and no longer try to look for the words to explain my condition to others. Now, I just stay quiet. After all, it's been a while now. That's what they would say. Even if they didn't voice that, I would imagine that's what they were thinking.

It has been too many nights with, to now be suddenly without. I'm sorry.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010