Thursday 2 October 2008

Heaven knows...

Well I've been a right miserable git this week. Frustrated, angry, feeling sorry for myself, moaning at every opportunity. I've become the Morrissey of breast cancer. (I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour... but then The Bullshit came along and fucked it all up. Or so the lyric goes.) EVERYTHING is pissing me off at the moment: my tongue (green and furry), the squirrels in our garden (sneaky, mess-making bastards), quilted loo roll (never quilted enough for an arse that's seeing this much action), even people's well-wishes. (I am an idiot for saying that the aftermath of this chemo was any better than the last – true to form, along it came to bite me on the ass and now I want to strangle anyone who says they're so pleased that things are looking up. They're fucking not, okay? But, y'know, thanks for asking.)

People keep telling me that having cancer entitles me to a whinge whenever I want one so – more fool them – I've taken advantage of their obliged kindness and cranked up the moanometer to a level that'd make you want to check yourself in for chemo rather than listen to any more of my constant complaining. Last night I ruined what should have been a perfectly lovely dinner with my folks by grumbling all the way through the meal, then crying over dessert. I'm actually starting to piss myself off. And, much as I'd take a vicious swipe at anyone who tried it, I think what I secretly want is for someone to finally have enough of it, kick me up the arse and say, 'Oh for fuck's sake, stop your whining, will you?' Don't go trying it, mind. These kind of things are best tested on P. (I knew very early on that he was the man for me when it became clear that he wasn't afraid to tell me to shut the hell up whenever I tried to pick a pre-menstrual fight. That and the fact that he punctuated his text messages. What can I say? I'm a sucker for good grammar.)

My incessant moaning is undoubtedly thanks to the painful, debilitating side-effects of this new chemo, and all the enforced sitting around it involves. (Oh you've been in the house too long, she said. And I, naturally... stayed there a bit longer and whinged about it to anyone in a half-mile radius.) It's no fun, all this having to lie still with nothing else to do but watch crap TV and think about the reason you're lying still and watching crap TV in the first place. I'm just so bloody bored of it all. Bored of cancer. Bored of whingeing. The novelty has well and truly worn off. 

The thing is, despite The Bullshit having been around for months now (sheesh, is it only months?), I still  c-a-n-n-o-t  b-e-l-i-e-v-e  I've got cancer. You'd think all the boob-and-hair-loss fun would have made damn sure the reality had sunk in by now, but apparently not. It's just such a fucking ridiculous idea: me with breast cancer. Yeah right! I want to laugh, it's that ludicrous. I'm still half expecting to find out that this is all some kind of huge, Truman Show-style experiment that Channel 4 are secretly filming. And no amount of me actually saying the word 'cancer' is making the truth any more believable. And it really should, considering the fact that I say it all the sodding time. Aside from anything else, it's the Top Trumps of excuses. 

'No, I've not been to the gym in ages – well, I can't really, I've got cancer.'
'Stick the kettle on, eh?' 'No, you do it, I've got cancer.'
'Sorry your birthday card didn't arrive on time; I've been really busy with cancer stuff.'
'Christ, I'm putting on weight. Damn cancer.'

(My favourite excuse by far, though, is still this: 'You coming to the pub on Friday?' 'Nah sorry, I can't. I'm washing my hair.')

But regardless of all that, it still comes as a shock to hear other people say 'cancer' with reference to me. (Not that anyone's gone 'hey, cancer!' yet, but you know what I mean.) The other night, in another of my pathetic, long-faced, sympathy-seeking moments, P pulled a blanket over me as I lay on the sofa, and I looked up at him with those pity-me eyes that even I'm annoyed by and whinged, 'P, I'm pooooorly.' (Those extra ooos don't even come close to describing how whiny I sounded, by the way. Screeching toddlers have got nothing on me.) 'Well yes, of course you're poorly,' said P, with the patience of a saint on death row. 'That's because you've got cancer.' I almost slapped him. 'What the fuck are you on about?' I thought, before remembering that yes, actually, I do have cancer. (And apparently it's making me stupider by the day.)

Not everyone is comfortable saying 'cancer', mind. Even the nurses in chemo try not to say it out loud, instead calling it 'it' or purposely missing it out of sentences altogether. ('Yeah, it's different with each day in here. All the women here today have got breast. Mondays is ovarian. And on Thursdays everyone's prostate.') The other day I caught Mum mouthing the word 'cancer' mid-sentence, in that over-enunciated, speaking-through-glass way that some people still revert to when saying 'lesbian' or 'black'. Which makes me think that cancer must be a different kind of c-word. Hearing people say 'cancer' is equally as surprising to me as hearing them say the other c-word. Excuse the censoring there. It's not that I'm completely against using those four letters but, y'know, my folks read this and it's hard enough for them at the moment having to listen to their daughter's expletive-ridden ranting, without me upping the ante in the swearing stakes. Cunt might just push them over the edge. Oh.


Anonymous said...

Squirrels are little bastards. I suggest getting an air rifle and shooting the fuckers!

Love you. x

Anonymous said...

If I ever meet a man who punctuates his text messages I'll be his at the first apostrophe.
I can't believe you've got cancer at such a young age either, it sucks beyond belief.
I found that not everyone was comfortable saying 'suicide'when my Mum topped herself...c'est la vie.I'm amazed how your blog sparkles and shines.

Caroline xx

PS:Strictly Come Dancing - who do you think will win the glitterball?

Anonymous said...

I don't really want to say that reading your blog is great because by that I'm really implying that without the cancer you wouldn't be great...let me rather say that I'm grateful for you putting all your thoughts down as I see myself in your every blog. In December 05 I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the ripe old age of 26.

I am from South Africa and headed off to London on a 2yr working holiday visa...early one morning I discover a lump and wham...I'm 20 f*^%$&£" 6 and have breast cancer in my right breast! With no family history of any cancer, no hormone involvement or injuries of any kind I was convinced that Karma was bitting me in the ass...HARD! So much for my travels, nights out and boys! Talk about being in the right place at the right time! I did well during treatment, shrunk that tumour right down, had it and 17 lymph nodes removed...all clear!

Now 2 years and every 3 monthly check ups later I'm doing well...there are absolutely no could be worse!

You hang in there I promise you it doesn't feel like it now but you'll be done before you know it and lets hope you'll be blogging about life post "The Bullshit"

Anonymous said...

You are amazing. I am staying at my mum's house and I just woke her up by laughing while reading this post.

This blog is something else. I keep thinking about things you've written and snorting out loud to myself on the street. And I quote it on an almost daily basis.

Sorry to hear you've been feeling crap(per).

xsuperfan m

Marc B said...

Is punctuating text messages that unusual? Wow, I'm cooler than I thought!

Anonymous said...

Cunting cancer

Pernilla said...

Feeling low and depressed is a part of the sideeffects of the chemo and maybe the hardest to handle..? For me it was.
I also found it very hard to get..that I've got cancer. I didn't want that lable, not on ME...
But after chemo I've processed it. I think that it's something that needs time to sink in.
It´s six months since I've got cancer. I'm done with the radiotherapy in a few days. Got a year with Herceptin (Swedish word) and five years antihormons left.
Things are getting so much better. Soon!

All the best


Lisa Lynch said...

D'ya know what? You lot are better than a spell in therapy. Turns out I didn't need someone to tell me to shut up, I needed to realise that (a) I'm not the only person in the world with something to whinge about, (b) things are, of course, going to get better (things could be a lot worse actually; not everyone's got brilliant buggers like you lot cheering them on), and (c) I'm not the only one obsessed with Strictly Come Dancing. (I saw Austin's training on telly yesterday and his next dance is jivealicious.) x

Lucy said...

Respect to Busby above who gave it the double c!

Shouldn't laugh L, but the thought of your poor mum hearing you say the 4 letter c word nearly finished me off... the thought of your dad smirking a cheeky grin at it has however made my day!

Keep up the great work xxx

Anonymous said...

The four W's, sweetheart:

Whinge, whine, wallow and write.

Or maybe,that should be three Ws. Tough.

It's your life and you're handling it the best way you can, the only way. It doesn't come with a pre-determined set of rules to handle sticky situations like this. Whatever gets you through the next fuckign minute is what you should be doing.

Anonymous said...

gosh, I've been away, and nearly missed the chance to say 'cunt'. It's my favourite noun.


Phew, that was close.
Love you L
TH x