Thursday, 10 July 2008

Let me get this off my chest.

'It's probably just a cyst.'
'I'm sure it will be completely benign.'
'If it turns out the cancer is invasive.
'In case you require chemotherapy.'
'In the unlikely event that the CT scan shows cancer in other organs...'

Yadda yadda yadda. Will someone give me a straight answer, for fuck's sake? 

At the hospital this afternoon (drainage session two) I backed Smiley Surgeon and Always-Right Cancer Nurse into a corner, and have come away with the news that (a) my stage two breast cancer is at grade three (now Google that and see if you come back as scared as I just did) and (b) that I have about a 70% survival rate. 70%. (I've spent my life getting 70%, as it goes.)

Forgive tonight's bleak outlook, but all I can see at the moment is the 30% chance of, well, not survival. And before you start, don't go telling me that 70% is a very good chance, that time is on my side, that breast cancer is really curable these days, that I'm a fighter... I'm well aware of all those things, thank you very much. And I also know that if you were in my patent pumps, you'd be looking at the smaller percentage too.

People keep telling me that I needn't keep 'being brave' and that I 'don't have to feel positive all the time' (get 'brave' and 'positive' on my Most Hated list IMMEDIATELY). They say that whenever I want to let it all out/get really angry/have a good cry, I can talk to them. And it's good of them to say so.

But let me say this for the record. I am not consciously being anything – brave, positive, strong, whatever. I will never want to have a good cry/rant/whinge. Those things happen spontaneously: when trying on pyjamas in M&S, watering the garden, stirring my tea, blowing out a candle before I go to bed. At the moment, every reaction is spontaneous (hence a poor kid getting both barrels in Dixons recently).

In fact this is the first fucking time in my whole life when I've stopped giving a shit about how I'm being, the way I'm acting or how I'm coming across to other people. Again: I am not trying to be anything, I'm just getting on with it.

None of these words, today or any other day, are for your benefit. I'm not 'being brave' to make you feel better. (Let me say it again: I. Am. Not. Being. Brave.) This blog isn't a vehicle to make you think that I'm breezing through breast cancer. I am not. And I'm not trying to give you the impression that I'm okay, actually, because I'm cracking the odd joke, and thus you needn't be concerned about how I'm coping. There is no 'how' here. I'm just coping. There's no good or bad way to do it. You'd cope too.

That's just something I had to say.


Millennium Housewife said...

This is a brilliant and fantastically written blog. I heard about you through a friend and am about to spend a few hours reading x

Anonymous said...

Hit the nail on the head! I definitely couldn't have put it better myself!