P.S. Up front! Which is the wrong way round but after much deliberation I have decided to put this main script up front. Purely because I do not want to cause offence, but need to clarify why I have had a laugh with this post.
All of the below makes me sound ungrateful. A complete b**ch towards those people that actually ask the question. And I probably need to put some context to some of it. Cancer is a funny one, people have not known what to ask and I can see them struggle with it. And in all honesty, I would probably have fallen into at least one or two categories below before I became ‘that person with cancer’. It’s the fact that my brain isn’t in that sane place that everyone usually is (if you ever could have said I was sane!).
Where usually you do your usual pass in a corridor or on the stairs, someone says ”Morning, you alright’ and to be fair you could have either had the best morning in the world, or a raging fight with everyone in your life and your response will still be typically British, ‘yeah, fine, how are you?’. That’s just what we do isn’t it, but as I have found, cancer changes everything. I never thought it could, but by god it does. It delves into every part of you and my head is in a strange place where jealousy is becoming like the green eyed monster.
I’ve never thought jealousy was a good trait, I still don’t. And lets be fair, we all have moments (when someone has splashed the cash you don’t have and got the dress/shoes/bag/item that you really wanted), but its usually dashing. However, it is now a little more permanent. I am jealous of everyone being carefree, cancer free, not worrying, continuing life. And my life is permanently changed now. This leads to a much bigger conversation but for the moment, I’ll just leave these conversation snapshots out there as a reminder – for me. People do care. They just do it in their own way. And in all honesty I wouldn’t want it any other way. If anything it helps my inner demon release itself in inventive ways! Which is quite fun!! (as mention, I may not be sane!).
For those who do ask – I’ve still got this. And I’m ok! (Ask me – and I will reply!!)
Betty: how are you feeling?
Me: Great, thanks.
Inner me: How the f**k do you think I’m feeling?!
Mabel: how are you holding up?
Me: Just fine thanks.
Inner me: Holding up what – the broken left tit? With the usual boulder slingers thanks!
Gwen: You’re looking well.
Inner me: Should I look like something else? Should I be crying constantly? Or actually, should I just take that as a random compliment that I look better than I usually do?
Dorothy: Oh you know, my husbands sisters husbands aunty had it. And she was fine.
Me: Ah, good to hear. How is she now?
Dorothy: Ah, she died a few years later with secondary cancer.
Me: Ah, sorry to her that.
Inner me: WTAF, do you think that is helpful to me in any way, shape or form. NO. No it is not.
Bertha: Ah, are you ok?
Me: Yeah. Fine thanks.
Bertha: Are you sure?
Me: Yep, all good.
Bertha: But are you really sure?
Me: Yep (as I leave).
Inner me: Leave me the f**k alone Bertha, I answered the first time, and the second. The third was a joke. Just drop it. Unless you’re a first grade counsellor you are the last person I am talking too.
Johnny: Hows the bairn doing?
Me: Yeah, shes fine thanks.
Johnny: You sure?
Inner me: Well I’m not bloody sure now thanks Johnny, I was 2mins ago, but not now. Cheers!
Miles: You know they’ve made great inroads into recovery for cancer patients now?
Me: Is that right?
Inner self: What do you read in your spare time Miles, f**king medical journals. Or The Sun? Stop trying to be a clever bastard and just ask Bettys question!
Jenny: How are you doing psychologically?
Jenny: I know it can be hard on you.
Inner self: do you Jenny, you haven’t had cancer (I do know that before you ask), so how the actual s**t do you know it can be hard on you. I am psychologically thinking about a murder and that might not be good for me at this moment of time.
Eva: how you doing (with a raised eyebrow)
Me: Just great thank you
Inner me: Would it help you if I was a crying, snivelling wreck? Would you then believe I was ill?
Jane: You know, you might be one of the lucky ones where your hair doesn’t fall out.
Me: Thanks Jane.
Inner me: Jeez Jane, you’re a real treasure to be around. Full of joy. I am already b****rding unlucky to have cancer, you telling me I might be a lucky one not to lose my hair isn’t f**king helpful!
Jane: so when will you actually start losing your hair?
Inner me: that’s it Jane, you are going the same route as Jenny and I am having murderous thoughts. Drop it!
Ben: I didn’t like to ask, but, you know, I heard.
Me: Yeah, I’m ok.
Ben: I’m sure you are.
Inner me: One of the most sincere conversations I have ever had. (N.B. He knows who he is!)
P.P.S. All of these questions have been asked, responded too and inner thoughts have been the truthful version. All names have been changed to protect identities (I mean if I worked with Betty, Mabel, Gwen, Dorothy and Bertha I’d think I was working in a 60’s admin office for Miles!!). But no longstanding offence has ever been taken as per original P.S.