It was always going to happen. I'm a germ-magnet right now (attractive, huh?) so whatever innocent bugs the 100-odd guests were carrying were bound to gravitate towards me. But sod it; each sniff is well worth it. Hell, if it had meant sacrificing an arm, I'd have still been itching to use every last shred of energy at my kid brother's (and new little sis's) wedding. Not that enjoying it took any effort, of course – the wedding was spectacular; enough to melt the heart of anyone who was lucky enough to witness it. I'll admit that I'd been more than a tad worried about how I'd feel on the day, and not just physically. The venue was the same as mine and P's wedding so I was concerned that being there again would upset me, in the same way that looking at our wedding photos makes us realise how little we knew about our future (and thank God we didn't). And then there was the baby issue: we'd fully expected to be 'plus one' by this point – when J&L announced their engagement we grabbed our diaries to work out which months to try (man, I hate that term) and which months to give it a rest, to avoid the chance of me squeezing one out on the big day. But, in fact, none of those things mattered – or even occurred to me – on Saturday. A few times, I even forgot I'd got cancer – and that's damn high praise. I got to keep my promise of dancing to an indie classic with J, as we'd done at my wedding (Parklife has never sounded so good), and I was delighted when the DJ played Gold Digger – not just because I love the track, but it proved that I'm not the only frustrated rapper in the village.
There were a couple of minor cancer-calamities, of course (this is me, after all) but nothing that couldn't be fixed. Minutes before the ceremony, I had a few wig issues: much as there's the obvious keeping-the-rug-secure benefit to the wig/hat combo, what I hadn't bargained for was the making-your-ears-poke-through-your-hair effect (not a great look), so that had to be rectified surreptitiously as the beautiful bride walked down the aisle, all glittery and gorgeous. (Thank God all eyes were on her, and not the freak in the front row doing her darndest to look glamorous while fiddling with her wig – I fear I gave the glam-game away pretty early on.) Now I think about it, actually, that wig was determined to piss on my chips all day, the sneaky bitch (it's obviously still not forgiven me for our shaky start). Whoever invented digital cameras clearly had wig-wearers in mind – it's thanks to them that I realised just how embarrassingly light-reflecting and shamelessly shiny my wig becomes when confronted with flash photography. Thanks to various people's camera screens, I got wise to this effect pretty soon after the sun went down, so I took my chance to storm upstairs to my room and cover my wily wig with face powder in an attempt to de-shine it a bit (I'm not convinced it worked, mind, but boy was it cathartic). And then there was the biggest mishap of the lot – the night before the wedding (of course it was the night before the wedding) my eyelashes finally gave up and, with terrific comedy timing, the lot of them dropped out in one blink. Actually it wasn't quite the lot of them – they at least had the decency to leave me with four or five stragglers on each eyelid which we managed to glue false lashes onto the following morning. I tried my best not to cry them off throughout the day, and managed admirably through the ceremony, but much less so during J's speech – not that I was the only one blubbing, mind. It was the best, most heartfelt thing I've ever heard; J had some tough things to say, but did it magnificently. I almost felt guilty for giving his best man all that ammunition... almost.
It's a good job I've now got a couple of pre-chemo days to rest up and recover after all the excitement. But it feels weird now that the wedding's over – every step of The Bullshit up to this point has been geared towards me making it there. Not just making it there, but having a bloody good time too (mission accomplished). So that, I suppose, is Phase One completed. (Phase One is my own convenient theory, by the way – I've not been to some happy-clappy, new-age workshop where they give you a gold star for making it to your first cancer milestone.) Anyone who's been reading this blog since June (I salute you) will know that seeing J&L get hitched has been the prize that my eyes have been firmly fixed on for months. And now they've become man and wife, it doesn't just mark a new start for them, but one for me, too. (Though I doubt Phase Two will be anything half as fabulous as their honeymoon.) I'm not sure how many phases there are or how long they last (you can tell I've not really thought this concept through), but after I was diagnosed, countless cancer-experienced people told me that I could expect to write off the next 12 months. I'm hoping to get back to normal life a bit quicker than that, though – the way I see it, I've made it through the group stages, I've just won my quarter final, and now I'm in training for the semis (and I probably deserve a yellow card for persevering with this ridiculous cancer-as-football-match analogy).
I do think it's good to punctuate your treatment with goals, though (red card, second bookable offence), so perhaps it's time to busy myself with some new projects. Step one: book a holiday for the moment I'm able to fly again. Step two: prepare myself for an image change. Operation Elfin, if you will. Now that I can just about make out the disco lights at the end of the chemo-tunnel, I ought to get ready for the return of my hair. And yes, I know it's going to take aaages for it to grow back to a decent, wig-ditching length (commonly known as the Kylie Crop) but, since we've already established that elfin cuts don't work on curvy girls, it's time to shift a few pounds in preparation for my new look (goodbye ginger biscuits, hello watercress). I'm expecting that the steroids might get in the way of my weight-loss plans for a wee while, but there's no harm in giving it a go in the meantime. Not that my bonce has shown any signs of sprouting an acceptable hairdo yet (I still look like a monk), but I reckon it can't be that far off, given that my pubes are now on the comeback and determined to get back to business (whatever the business of pubic hair is, exactly). Speaking of which, there was an insane moment on Friday night when my eyelashes fell out and I wondered – in a frankly absurd split-second panic – whether I should cut off a few pubes and, with the help of some lash-glue, try to pass them off as eyelashes. (What can I say, cancer messes with your mind.) Thankfully I regained a few brain cells pretty quickly and plotted to stick on some falsies instead. And it's a good job I did – after all, it's never a good idea to deflect attention from the bride, particularly with curly ginger eyelashes.