Things (!) are failing me now…..

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07/05/19

Day 10 – HALF WAY!

Yes, yes, yes! I have made it to the half way point of radiotherapy. Which means only ten days left of active cancer treatment. My dad hasn’t killed me off with his driving. I haven’t killed him because of his driving. I am managing radio as best I can and I am, for all intents and purposes, back to fighting fit for life (full time work, full time mama, full time partner).

But, as predicted, my legs are bloody killing today. Actually full on pain, that I have felt before but that was when I had run the Great North Run (13 miles). I literally walked half of that yesterday and I am in the same amount of pain. Geez, how am I possibly going to do 26 miles in two months? The panic is now setting in and a bit real.

Radio today was a bit of a weird one. The door on the radio room wouldn’t shut properly which is quite a significant problem! So I was delayed going in and then after being welcomed in, lined up in the perfect spot half naked (and freezing cold!) there were workmen not 10m away behind the screen trying to fix the door. I mean, if trying to stay still for the minutes usually was a pain, staying super still for what felt like 20mins was a special challenge. Once we were done though and I had redressed, I found out I’ve had my last five booster sessions changed from the ridiculous time of midday back to 9am each day. Thank goodness. So I can now  continue life through to the end like I am just rocking up to work late!

My hair is also due a special shout out today – there is a level of fuzz that has take over my head and that can only be described as a bit weird! When I say head I don’t just mean my scalp either. Its fluff everywhere – I look like a bloody gerbil!! I’m starting to get a little bit excited though that it is coming back. Thinking about how I felt now when I lost it, I’m now on the other end of the graph and rising back out of the slump.

08/05/19

Day 11 and today was a challenging start to the day. Four attempts to park the Golf today. In a car park that has a lot of bays free at 8am. But four attempts to reverse. Four. ‘Its a BLOODY GOLF NORMAN, A GOLF’. He then whinged about the Jeep and the people carrier that were parked near him and wondered how they parked it. Well, for starters Norman they have parking sensors (although I don’t think even they would have helped today), secondly THEY AREN’T SMALL SPACES!!!!!!

Back at work after a hospital incident free morning today (and no more car dramas), I blitzed a big presentation and decided as I was on a roll, I would chase up the damn Doctors who haven’t responded to my complaint (which has peaked my anger significantly!). The Practice Manager rang me back and admitted that the docs were covering their arses and want more from my Oncologist to say I can resume the contraceptive pill. They are chasing and the original nurse has actually put some effort into following this up. However, I explained in no uncertain terms that she shouldn’t have a job in the healthcare profession, due to her uncaring attitude to those in her care.

So transpires now that I will get a call by Friday to ‘sort me out’! Thank bloody god for that! So I head home to hope that I have a letter for an ultrasound for the second (/third) lump – remember that one – yeah, it’s still there!! And I am still waiting. Of course I am. These last two days have tested my calmness to my limits. I haven’t got annoyed at the NHS service in this journey, but these last two days have been a little bit testing.

And my boob is still itchy, itchy, itchy. I CAN’T itch it in public! Aaaagh!

But 9 days to go. 9 days. 9 more days of dad driving, but only 9 days.

I am feeling a reflective mood kicking in now though, and I can see it in my thoughts that I lay bear. I am revisiting a time line and keep saying ‘this time last year’. I can’t imagine what I am going to be like with actual anniversaries of stuff. I keep dwelling on the length of time I have been absorbed by all of this, when I should be focussing on the fact I am nearly out of this. I am going to end active treatment in 9 days, but I know I will end this chapter but start a new one. A changed one. One that I didn’t order on any shopping website or channel! One that no-one voluntarily orders. Before I would have lived blank pages going forward and made my own destiny. A destiny that I work hard for but my own nonetheless. Now I feel like an element of my life is already taken over – that little area of my mind that was carefree and didn’t think about health and wellbeing much is now a little but crowded.

But I have this. I really do. And I will not let these ‘things’ get me down.

Bank Holiday weekend!

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04/05/19

Its a Bank Holiday weekend!!!!!!!! Whoop! And only eleven days of radio left. Whoop Whoop!!

We took the cub out to a climbing and trampoline park today. Usually, I don’t buy into the fact that we have to do an activity every weekend and have to pay to make memories, but over the last few months I have felt like I owe her fun. And to have fun means leaving the house (I am no fun in the house as I am tired and end up in bed). I feel that if we go out I have to make a concerted effort to get through it and that in some way I am making up to her my absence in other ways. I know that sounds utterly ridiculous. Writing it down feels ridiculous. But if mama guilt of a full time working mama was prevalent before, it is even worse now. Never have I felt so absent in her life and like I am letting her down.

Tonight though, the man cub and I have laughed and laughed. We were talking about an upcoming wedding that we need to consider outfits for and again, more words I thought I would never utter just tumbled across my lips. As blasé as you like I just uttered ‘I’m not sure dress shopping will be successful, I don’t think anyone ever designs a dress that goes with bald’!! We were absolutly creased!

We’ve also had a late offer of overnight babysitting tomorrow night. I am over the moon – a bank holiday with a Sunday drinking session could be on the cards. The man cub just wants to sleep though!!

05/05/19

After an afternoon of shoe shopping that wasn’t for me (furious), the cub has been dispatched to the parentals, and the man cub and I are free to go wild. Which in reality meant that we procrastinated for about two hours about whether we were going out, once we decided we were going out, what were we going to wear, and how would we get there. You can tell we’ve totally lost sight of a good drinking session over the practicalities of how we achieve this. I’m pretty sure I used to be able to go out at the drop of a hat before having a cub. We are so sad.

We made it out and spent a lovely few hours people watching, had a good chuckle like we used to about fashion choices (and I should be put in a box for that!), and observing other couples and their dynamics. We were back to being us – not mama and dada for one night – just us as a couple. The couple that fell in love, have worked through a good few years of the trials and tribulations of relationships and having a small cub, but we are still those two people who decided to hook up many moons ago and have a laugh at life together. We just need a reminder sometimes. I also don’t think we give enough credit to how beautiful it is that we commit to us as a couple every day. It isn’t an effort, because it is so comfortable.

06/05/19

Rocked out an amazing lie in today! No guilt. No phone or tv used with a cub as a distraction while I nursed a hangover/wanted more sleep. Nope, just a lovely long lie in and a natural wake up time! Loved it. But I was missing her, so off I went to collect her. Yep – the car journey back reminded me of what I did not miss – incessant talking for the full twenty minutes and I could have taken her back!! (I honestly do love her, she’s just a bloody talker and doesn’t have a filter for quiet time yet!).

So I decided this afternoon that I needed to do a little walk to keep building the practice miles for my big walk! It had nothing to do with removing me from the relentless talking from the cub! Absolutely nothing at all so I told the man cub And off I went. 7.67 miles blitzed in two hours at a 17min mile pace. Not too shoddy considering I’m still dog tired from radio / full time work shenanigans. I’m fairly happy with that. But I know I’m going to feel this walk tomorrow. I absolutely think my head dictated this walk and I walked like I used too. My body might have different thoughts about it after a nights sleep!

We’ve also watched the SAS Stand Up to Cancer special on the TV tonight. We’d done really well just watching the celeb bit of the programme where they do the SAS challenges, and avoided the ‘personal’ stories that pepper these programmes with the aim of making you suddenly so sad that you reach for the phone to donate your house. However, we didn’t fast forward a bit where a young girl was chatting innocently about her cancer journey. It was all so beautiful, she was beautiful. She had got married to the love of her life after being diagnosed, it showed a few bits of the horror of chemo, and then………. The footage took an horrific turn when her wife ended the short clip by saying that she had lost her battle and cancer had taken her life.

Well. That was heart breaking.

I realise tonight that I am never again going to watch these stories without feeling gut wrenching pain. Without being grateful. Without being thankful. Without being sad. I have always been a crier with stories like these (don’t tell everyone, but I am an absolute softy), but now I am crying for me and mine. I am sad that cancer has infiltrated my life. I am sad that my precious people are sad. I am mad that we have to bear this and these stories are now so much closer to our existence. There are absolute moments of ‘why me’. Equally, seeing these insights into others who have battled or lost battles with cancer, have took me to depths of despair. My darkest thoughts seem to come alive when I see these losses and it takes everything I have to remain in the moment. To remind myself that I am still here and I am still living life.

Because I will have this. I have eleven days to go until I can say I am done with active treatment and I am going to own it. Absolutely.

Radio continues……

02/05/19

Day 8 and had a cracking start today. After yesterdays epic hospital appointment and utterly emotionally exhausted I woke up shattered. So the dad decides to have some more road rage today. Just the indicators alongside the horn so we avoided the window wiper debacle, but I literally had my head in my hands. Then he took three tries to reverse park the car in the multi story. By the third time, I had my hand on the car door to just get out and leave him. The strong coffee was needed today. But he was chuffed to bits as it was a free one with the loyalty card! I can’t even get happy about that – I’d much rather be having free coffee at work that I can make every morning. Saving grace is the free car parking for us cancer patients! Perk of the bloody big C!

After radio was done, and heading back to work, he decided to use the left lane on a roundabout to turn right. A really busy roundabout. Where luckily when he’d pulled out there was no one else who had dared (they maybe had a premonition), where he careered into the left lane, while I shout that he’s needing the third exit, right dad, right. ‘I know’, he says to me. Aaaaaagh. How much is car hire? I’m sure it’s cheaper than my sanity. Someone give me some strength – twelve days left. Just twelve. Nearly half way.

After a long, long day at work, I arrived with the man cub to pick the cub up from after school club. As we crossed the school yard, her little mate ran over and said ‘are you going to grow your hair back?’. It made me smile to be honest. The absolute innocence of children. I smiled at her and just said ‘oh yes, I hope so!’. Her response – ‘yay’ and then she ran off to continue playing. The man cub and I laughed and laughed. So innocent and totally accepting. Such a u-turn from the negative experience a while back with the child who was being a wee tinker. It’s funny that I forget that all other experiences with the children who are friends with the cub, those that haven’t batted an eye at my hair, my baldness, my illness – is less significant. But it should be the norm and I should be shouting about them. I should be making less of a deal about the bad experience and more of a  deal about the beautiful acceptance of both normality and innocent questioning. It would be even better if this acceptance continued in later life and there were no judgements.

Tonight, I have given myself a pep talk about the negative thoughts that are creeping on me while waiting for the next ultrasound. I need to put to bed this negative stuff. I had a lovely interaction that was so positive today. I know I have never lived in worst case scenario so I need to stop doing it. I need to just deal  with this waiting game again. I will get an appointment when I get it. I need to remember that the other girls who are being seen before me also need to be seen before me. So I can do this. I’ve done it a lot now. I can keep doing this.

I’ve been getting back in my groove at work, I’ve got my good mood face back on and loving the normality of being in the office more frequently (my team might not!) having crazy conversations that make me laugh every day. I just need to equate that all over my life. Because normality is what I am craving now.

03/05/19

Day 9, radio done after a lightly longer wait (some kind of staffing drama it seems which wasn’t ideal but still wasn’t more than 40mins in the hospital (the drive in had taken longer!) and then lets just drive through a red traffic light. Straight through. As I start to open my mouth to say stop, we were already through it. ”Ooops’ he says, ‘sorry I missed’ that he says. Oh yeah – no bother dad – at least there wasn’t anyone crossing the road!! Someone please send help!!

I’ve also just received my appointments for Day 15 – 20 (booster week) as well. Where I have been grateful for getting an early appointment everyday at 8:00 so I can get on with work during day 1 – 15, I have now been given appointments at 12:00 every day. Are they kidding? 12:00?? I’d have to leave work at 10:30 and unlikely to get back to work until 14:00. So might get five hours at work on a good day compared to the seven hours plus that I am averaging at the moment. I need to get on the phone next week as it’s Friday now and I can’t quite deal with the argument with the appointment making folk!

When I got home at the end of another trashing day my cub broke my heart like she can in a heartbeat;

‘How was your day baby?’

‘Really good mama, how was the hospital for you today mama?’

Oh, go on my beautiful cub. Keep breaking my heart and being the loving, gorgeous human being you are. The squishy hugs, her assertion that she wants the hospital appointments to stop and that she is sad for me are breaking my heart. It is clear now that the daily arrival of her daddit is making her more aware of the fact I am heading to hospital. Previously, we may have mentioned the odd time but it was never in her radar or so obvious as it is now. And much as she is loving her daddit giving her big hugs and kisses every day, it is also making her more aware of what her mama is going through. Just another shit side effect of managing cancer.

The other epiphany of today was yet again, another saying that I never expected to knock out in my life – I have super itchy nipples! WTF? That’s not something that you can say out loud as a pain in the arse side effect of treatment! It also isn’t something that you can deal with well, as I discovered in a few meetings today. It’s not an area that you can itch in public and let me explain – an itch that isn’t itched is the most annoying, niggling, frustrating situation. The only thing I can equate it too is when you have an itchy foot and boots on, but you’re also driving and can’t do anything about it. So you wriggle the rest of your body to distract from the source of the irritation. But an itchy nipple. In the middle of a working day. There is no wriggling or itching another area that can distract me. Dear god – this is another annoyance of epic proportions, hopefully short lived, but crikey just another gift of the cancer journey.

I’ll keep going. I am nearly there. I am closer than I have ever been and I am now within reaching distance of the final ten days, the half way marker nearly achieved.

I have this. I really do. Itchy nipples along with me.

Second lump check up, or should that be third??

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01/05/19

So I approach my second hospital of the day with the man cub, and we are silent in the car. We don’t have any words on this journey anymore. It’s as if fate is trying to prevent us getting there as traffic is absolutely shocking, but we make it for 4pm. We needn’t have worried about being late. The waiting room is absolutely rammed for the usual Wednesday breast screening session and pretty much every head turns as the bald lass walks in the room.

God, will I ever get over this feeling that I want to be swallowed up. I also recognise that my presence isn’t great as not only will some of these people be here for the first time to get a lump checked out, some will also be here for results, some will be here for a treatment plan and some will be here for routine screening. I appreciate that my appearance is unhelpful to everyone at this stage.

However, I also want to stand up and say loudly – you can do it; if I can, then so can you – but that’s a bit of a step too far today. Because all of a sudden I am back in a bad place in my head. So we sit in silence (no phones being broken this time to cause any distractions!) and wait. And wait, and wait. We knew we were in bother half an hour later when one of the nurses came out and announced they were running an hour behind. At this point there were still eight prospective patients in front of me and any one of those could take longer than their allotted time, so my 4pm squeezed in appointment was at the back of a very long line.

As the cub had to be picked up by 6pm from after school club (and I had not informed the parentals of the latest development so couldn’t even tap them up for a favour to pick her up), I despatched the man cub to get her at 5.15pm. He was reluctant to leave. He hasn’t missed an appointment with me yet. But needs must.

5.20pm, and there was three of us left, me (third time lucky please), a young girl (and I mean younger than me so probably in her 20’s!) with her boyfriend/husband and an older lady with her three adult children. The young girl went next and then we waited. And waited. The older lady was taken in before the young girl came out (probably to be prepped for something), and I was left alone, in a waiting room where the lights might as well have gone out. The Receptionist turned the TV off and all I could hear was the hum of the lights and my thoughts. I was clinging onto those big girl pants.

Then the young girl came out with her other half. With the green folder. And the green children’s book that explains cancer for children.

And my heart broke a lot.

The other half looked like he’d just witnessed the most horrific thing in his life. Pure shock written all over him. I suppose it is horrific to witness the love of your life get told heart breaking news. Then her face – composed (sure, she might have had her tears behind closed doors, but she had a game face on), pragmatic, resolute, focussed. I remember that feeling so well. I remember thoughts of how I was going to manage this with the cub. I had been pragmatic and could instinctively see it on this mamas face. She was going to fight. Good on her.

I wanted to leap up in that instance, but I also didn’t know what to do. I felt utterly useless and I was sat knowing a little (probably a lot) of what this girl was feeling, but feeling trapped to my chair. My bald head, chemo chub isn’t screaming – ‘join this journey pet’. And running across to an absolute stranger to tell her that she will absolutely have this, nail it, own it, also doesn’t feel like a great way to welcome someone to the world of cancer.  I don’t think that I would have appreciated it, but also I don’t know if I might have – it took me a long time to tap into the FB world of other girls like me and see that I wasn’t alone – is that what is needed? Goodness, I just don’t know. But what I do know is that I don’t resent the time I have sat and waited. I can never get mad if someone arrives to get a two minute good result and leaves skipping, but someone else gets bad news and needs 40mins to process it. We’re all entitled to some compassion and time to process this. So when the appointments run late, it is absolutely OK.

I get called at 6pm (man cub has cub and is tearing back to the hospital but won’t make it on time for this). And Mr A has a newbie with him. Yay! More people seeing my boobs out. Geez. After a feel around, and syringe to relieve one cyst, he asks me if the lumps that feel like a bunch of grapes is something I’ve already felt – NO, nope, not felt that one mate. Thanks for that. So after the newbie doctor has also made sure he knows what strange lumps feel like, I am on my way with an ultrasound to be booked to make sure there isn’t anything more sinister.

FMD’s. More waiting. 10 months after I first waited and I am back in the waiting game again. This pragmatism that wavered mid journey, that I grabbed back onto tightly, that I have been hanging onto tightly, is being tested to the very limits.

Then, I get picked up and from the back of the car ‘mama, mama, mama’, yes my baby girl, ‘I love you mama’. There you have it. My world. My reason to keep fighting. Keep strong. Keep being her mama. She deserves that.

Day 5 – 7 radios, plus second wait to get (post C) lump checked out…

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29/04/19

Day 5 radio, and Monday morning blues have got me down. I’ve been put through the windscreen twice this morning at a roundabout and traffic lights (seriously give me strength Dad!) and traffic was an absolute shocker. It had been fine on the way to the hospital and the usual routine is now being played out with a military precision. It is so impersonal, check in, sit for three mins max, strip off, don hospital gown (opening front), lie on gurney, get pulled, pushed and prodded into position, count down three lots of radiation spurts in a cold room by myself with random music playing, all done, get dressed, leave – rinse and repeat!!

The journey back to work was a shocker and I was way later in that I usually am. But my full time workload is back on. There is no expectation that I can’t achieve this now. I feel like everyone just thinks I’m rocking in late and should be coping lovely. As if I’m back to normal – just with less hair. It’s that bit. The less hair. For all intents I am ‘back’. But I still hate it when people do a double take when they see me. But what can I do? I just don’t know anymore. I’ve got all these balls up in the air at the moment and I feel like I’m going to drop a few at any given moment. My  cub, my man cub, my family, my friends, my work, my radio appointments, my lump, useless doctors, household duties; all of these are pulling me in directions and some not the same direction. Aaaaagh!

Yet, because I am now nearing the end of this damn journey, I’m OK. Or I should be, it feels. I don’t necessarily help myself as I am notoriously bad for telling anyone I am struggling. I always see it like an admission of failure. And I hate the feeling of failure. So I am always reluctant to admit that I might be struggling. My own worst enemy! I also feel like a bit of a fraud. I managed to make it through chemo, working full time. That was way more brutal on my body, but I also worked from home a lot more, and took a few more days sick during that time. With radio, I don’t feel like I can justify taking ‘me’ time.

Then tonight I have finally pulled together a letter to the Doctors about the treatment I have received. Hilariously, in this day and age, their complaints system requires you to post in a letter. I assume, because they assume you will lose interest by having to put pen to paper / print out a letter and then actually post it. Antiquated doesn’t even describe it.

So I have written and rewritten a strongly worded letter to see if I can get some sort of solution to the limbo I am now in. Bear in mind, their complaints process isn’t detailed on their website (you have to pick that up from the Doctors too!!), so I don’t even know how long they have to respond to me. Could be another ten days. Bloody joy!

01/05/19

Day 7 of radio and I am now closer to half way. I am prepping the cub for the over half way countdown, but we aren’t quite there yet.

Today is also the day when I need to pull on and own those big girl pants again and get back in the general population in the Breast Screening waiting room to deal with this second pesky lump. I have done so much better this time (post cancer) by not procrastinating. The last two days at work I have buried it deep and carried on (my clinical psychologist would have been proud!). But don’t get me wrong, it has also followed me round like a rain cloud. It’s always been there. It just hasn’t burst yet.

I travelled up to radio for the seventh time today (one lot of whiplash but no road rage so quite a success). Hilariously the background music choice of the day was ‘White Christmas’?! Who actually vets these songs? Although it did give me a good giggle while lying there half naked being blasted with rads! I returned home to work. Trying to go into my physical work place, when I would have had to leave early and not explain where I was going, would have been a step to far today. I don’t have the capability to lie today with everything else, so decided not to break myself and take the pressure off.

I arrived home with good intentions of opening the laptop and working hard. What actually happened was tiredness. Bone tiredness that has been hovering round the edges since I found this second lump, and today I lay back down in bed and crashed out. For two hours. Ridiculous that I then feel guilty about this as I never falsely declare my time worked,  but I’m sure people think I declare my working from home as a skive. I really don’t. I am very blessed to have an understanding employer and I prioritise work where I can (don’t get me wrong – the non priority stuff is still at the bottom of a pile somewhere and will continue to be there until I get back on top).

I wake up with a couple of hours to compose myself before the man cub picks me up for the inevitable hospital appointment (it’s just a cyst, just a cyst, just a cyst). I bang in a productive few hours for work (amazing what you can do with no distractions!), and then set off for the drive to the second hospital of the day.

Tired still. Really tired. But I have this. It’s just a cyst. It’s got to be.

Had a haircut!!!

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27/04/19

It’s Saturday and I am heading for a haircut!!! A haircut. An actual haircut.

I’m finding it a little funny that I am legit going for a hair appointment alongside my cub and getting hair chopped. But seriously – the fuzz is unreal. I can’t work out where I fit between a teddy bear fuzz and a new born fuzz. It’s a close call!!!

The lovely Anna gives me a ‘no guard’ shave while the cub gets her locks chopped by her best mate Nicola! The cub was on the opposite side of the mirror to me and I could hear her giggling and chatting away while I was sat still barely able to look in the mirror at myself. I am getting a little better at dealing with a mirror but being forced to look at it while my very short stumpy hair is shaved again (to tidy it up) I still find really confronting and really hard. It was a long five minutes.

Then we had a cubs party to attend too. Those big girl pants I had on yesterday are still firmly in place. This party was mine to attend as I felt relatively well (sciatica was killing me but as I had bailed the last few parties due to being ill I felt I needed to step up for this one!). I chatted with the mams like their was nothing going on, I watched my cub dance on a stage like an absolute show off (doesn’t get that from me I promise!), and maintained a pretence that all was good with life. It’s amazing really how much you can deceive people. That sounds really bad doesn’t it? But why would I possibly dump my baggage on people who only know me as the cubs mama. They don’t need that. They have their own baggage I’m sure. My baggage is my load to carry and I will do that. The cubs will also continue to play and that’s always a beautiful sight to see. As a mama it’s my job to make sure she is happy. Today she was very happy!!

Tonight though the dry cough and sciatica are jointly trying to take me down. My big girls pants are slipping off and I am digging into depths I had no idea I possessed until now. I am hopeful that I can be a third time lucky with the lump on this boob. I am sure I can be. I hope my pragmatism is well justified.

28/04/19

Sciatica has broken me today. I had to roll out of bed then make a tentative stand up this morning. I haven’t had it this bad since before I was pregnant. It was probably a quarterly occurrence (caused by the height of heels I wore at the time!) and I always walked like I had an accident to contain! This time I barely hid it round the supermarket as I complained at top volume yet the man cub still scrutinised all products down every aisle to see if he ‘needed’ something. This is why my online shopping has saved my sanity and my purse!!

The dry cough I have due to the radio is also not great today and I am trying to work out how I can deal with this when I am laid back on the gurney and have to stay still. I’m going with sucking mints religiously throughout the three minute journey. I’ll manage that!!

29/04/19

Day 5 coming at you! For Monday traffic it is an absolute breeze towards the hospital and I only get whiplash once on the way in. The radio journey of impersonality (absolute no judgement on the nurses here – they must deal with at least 80 people a day – they don’t need to be personal) continues. Get into position, wiggle about, lie very still (sucking mints so I don’t cough), hold my breath, move around, freezing cold boobs, done.

Today was hilarious though as there is music in the background (presumably to distract you) and today it was a proper club anthem from Cascada! I was literally laid on the bed but raving dancing in my head! It was the most surreal moment of radio so far. I don’t think that anyone actually thinks about or controls the songs that get piped through and I’m sure that should be thought about but for today I enjoyed it!!!

Once I’m finished I get the usual ‘have a lovely day’ parting and it makes me laugh and smile in one go. I can’t imagine what other people do when they are finished their radio appointments, but I am now off to do a 7.5 hour day at work and continue my life as if I am just being inconvenienced by a late start. Cancer is now being relegated to a back seat in my life as far as everyone I work with and live with is concerned. So it should.

Problem is, I have a very real lump to contend with and very visible results of cancer treatment that I cannot ignore. Frustrating as it is, I cannot quite shake the bloody cancer card.

Two lots of whiplash later on the return journey to work and I face a ridiculous day of meetings. Six meetings in six hours is crazy and while I know it is because my schedule isn’t helping my availability to deal with this, I also crumble a little bit today. This is not a good day. My pragmatic head is still holding onto all that is dear (and that this damn lump is a cyst) but I am being tested somewhat!

I have this though. I really do. All over it.

A beautiful day comes crashing down…

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25/04/19 contd…..

Having escaped Manchester in rush hour traffic, we made it half way back up the motorway and decided to bail into a service station for an unhealthy tea (and met parentals of her little mate who had also been at the awards – we had the same idea!). We had a tired cub and very tired parents. So once we made it home the cub was bailed rapidly into her bed.

We have had the very best of days and now, randomly, watching TV to unwind, I have found another boob lump in the ‘good’ boob.

Same place as last time and the time before – which have all been cysts. But seriously, is my body and my boobs having a laugh with me. Three radio sessions in and I am on countdown mode to ending this damn journey and then this. Bollacks.

F**k my actual life.

It is a Thursday night and I know that I won’t get seen tomorrow (Friday). I’ll be lucky to get through to the department at the hospital to be honest. So I know that I’m in for a long weekend. My pragmatic head has to kick in here, and I manage to shoot it in strongly tonight. It’s a cyst. It has to be. It’s too much of a coincidence not to be. I’ve just finished chemo for gods sake. It can’t possibly be cancerous. It just can’t. I’ve 17 days left of active treatment and then I am done. I cannot do more surgery, chemo, radio. Not now. So this is just a cyst. Just a cyst. A cyst.

The man cub bails to bed, and I have stayed up as I’m wired and trying to condition my brain to deal with this latest lump as a cyst. I happen upon ‘Sex in the City’ on a random Sky channel, and it is the episode where Sam is preparing for a black tie dinner speech in front of an entire room of cancer patients. I know I laughed the first time I saw this episode aired – I mean what’s not to laugh at. But by god, it was like a tonic that I hadn’t ordered tonight. I was absolutely rolling about laughing. Living it now, with the hot sweats, the bald head, the randomness of sweating – it was so real to me and so well encapsulated in that episode. The dark humour was just what I needed.

I know that many go through this crazy menopause, whether early or as nature intended. But I don’t think it is ever talked about enough. I equated it to a scenario in my head tonight – you know when you’ve been on an air conditioned flight and step out of the plane doors onto tarmac that is 40 degrees hotter than the country you left and the sweat appears from nowhere? Yep – that’s the feeling. But it is unknown when that sweat appears. That is the frustrating bit. There is no control over when those plane doors open. Aaaaaagh.

I also realise tonight that I might actually need to do a revisit of Sam’s portrayal of the cancer journey now in ‘Sex in the City’. I don’t think I ever give it a second thought when I watched it released as was a lot younger and much more naive, but the tonic laughter I have had tonight was good. I needed that distraction.

26/04/19

Day 4 radio commences and my dad picks me up again. My headspace wasn’t great this morning so he dealt with an absolute grumpy mare. He also tested my limits with the following driving experiences:

  • Stalled as left my house – randomly.
  • ‘Is it right here’ – no Dad, it isn’t, it’s the next right, the same as it was two days ago and for the two days prior to that;
  • (on the way back out of the hospital and at the same point as the previous comment) ‘Is it left here’  – again, no Dad, it’s the next left as above!
  • (As someone attempts to cut us up) ‘I don’t know how people pass there test these days’ – no me neither Dad, me neither.
  • Three lots of whiplash at traffic lights that are changing as we approach / changed half a mile back. Through the windscreen each time regardless!

I finally got to work in one piece (just) and put the call into Pauline. I had my big girl pants on. It’s Friday, there is no way I will get seen today. I’ll deal with the weekend. It is just a cyst.

Pauline rang me back later in the afternoon and I instigated the appointment being during general clinic the next Wednesday. At 4pm. It’s going to be a long bugger of a weekend. But the plan is to bury my head in the sand, pretend everything is ok (I’m a practiced pro now) and just get on with it.

Day 4 side effects of radio are starting to kick in now though – a dry cough that feels like I’m coughing in the Sahara (radio affects your lungs which is a lovely side effect), and it’s set my sciatica off so that every time I cough I double up like an 90 year old granny. FML. I am living my best life today.

I have this. Do I? Maybe? Possibly? Oh, dammit – of course I do. I’ve had everything else so I might as well have this while I’m at it.