Saturday 25 October 2008

Saturday night's alright (for staying in).

I'm starting to realise that a lot of the people I know remain pretty ignorant about what having breast cancer means for me. I've had inklings before, after receiving a handful of puzzling, fancy-coming-out-this-weekend texts, but a few things Lil told me on the phone last night finally confirmed it. I'm not having a go, here. Sheesh, after Thursday's post I fear I'm already on shaky ground. Of course people don't understand. Why should they? After all, some folk can lead near-to-normal lives with The Bullshit. But I'm just not one of them, given the highly aggressive nature of my Rich-Tea-biscuit-sized tumour that was this close to spreading further than my lymph nodes, and is having the shit kicked out of it with the Master Blaster of cancer treatments. I don't do things by halves, me. (Months later, I still can't quite believe that the biscuit managed to wreak undetected havoc for so long beneath my left nipple. If my modest tits can disguise that, what the hell else is hidden in my body that I don't know about? Spare change? An old boot? A family of refugees?)

What Lil innocently mentioned on the phone last night was that she'd recently been to a boozy party (disguised as an industry do) and was taken aback by the number of people who'd asked her whether I'd be going out, too. 'They're on another planet,' she said. 'I wanted to say "don't you get it?" but I didn't bother – I mean, where do you start?' She's right, of course. Where do you start? Because, despite my willingness to write chapter and verse of my cancer story on here, I actually don't talk about the details with very many people outside of this blog. It's a combination of not wanting them to always equate me with cancer, and wondering whether they really want to hear about it in the first place. It's that age-old thing of folk never really being interested in the answer to innocent, throw-away questions like 'are you all right?' or 'how was your weekend?'.

P has precisely the same issues with the people around him. He told me yesterday that he's sick of getting into work on a Monday morning and having to lie about what kind of weekend he's had. He always answers 'great, thanks' when, in fact, P's weekends (and weekdays, for that matter) have been every bit as shit as mine have since The Bullshit chose to trespass on our lovely lives. (With the notable exception of J's wedding, of course. That was worth a hundred weekends.) P's not being mean by lying; quite the opposite. He, like me, knows better than to tell people the real truth about how our weekend was. Nobody wants that kind of answer.

While I'm talking about this very matter-of-factly, it's actually bloody depressing having had so little fun for so damn long. I got quite tearful about it (and a few other things) last night. It's the lack-of-mental-energy factor again. After getting some more rubbish news this week (the kind that finally puts my life into the so-tragic-it's-laughable-and-probably-fit-for-a-film-plot category) I've been doing my best to hold it together, despite there being a part of me that's desperate to freak out. Keeping it together is tiring, and being tired makes me tearful. That and Coronation Street. It's a mad-as-a-cut-snake plot line, but I've found myself empathising with Rosie Webster. (God help me.) The thing is, I kind of know how she feels, being locked away against her will with nothing but pasta salads for comfort. So after watching that, after talking to Lil, and after replying 'April, probably' to an email that asked when I'd next be out on the town, it was kind of inevitable that I'd end up sobbing about the distant memory of my normal life, and not being able to remember what it's like to feel well and healthy. (I'm not exaggerating; I can't.)

So, after breaking down on P, he came up with a plan. (I'm not always breaking down on him, you know, much as it might sometimes read that way. As it goes, we're mostly giggling our way through The Bullshit where we can, and even our bleakest times together are somehow rose-tinted.) When he goes back to work next week, P's determined that he's not going to lie about what kind of weekend he's had. Instead, we're going to do our darndest to live as normal a couple of days as my health will allow. This morning we had breakfast in bed, then spent a valuable few hours cuddling and reading the papers. As I type, P's outside sweeping up leaves (and chasing squirrels, by the sound of it). When he's done, we're going to the shop to buy a baking tin so I can bake us a cake before curling up in front of the telly with a curry. Tomorrow we're going to Tills and Si's for lunch, then going home to drink tea and scout out hotels in Barbados. It's hardly karaoke and cocktails and dancing til dawn, I know. But, to me and P, getting back to this kind of normality is going to make for a pretty perfect weekend. So feel free to ask us about it on Monday morning, eh?


Anonymous said...

I'm in on a Saturday night too. Because I'm sooo excited about seeing you tomorrow. (That and because having the kitten is turning me into a weirdy-shut-in.)

If I was a family of refugees I would definitely want to live on planet L. xx

Megan said...

On some level (even though its a completely different level) i can sympathise with you about having an illness that its hard to convey to people, and they think you should be out on the town every night just like them, as they can't see the massive battle thats going on inside your body, and you can't really explain much while trying not to bring them down. Your blog has inspired me to create my own, writing about the highs and hells i go through now and again. (Oh, by the way, it was me who thought of the L's Louboutin's piggy bank thing, just never signed in. i couldnt think of a better word for piggy bank to be honest) Sixty-five-roses xxx

Anonymous said...

hope you had a good weekend x have you been to barbados before? it's great, make sure you book in for a meal at the cliff x

Anonymous said...

So - how was your weekend? On the Barbados front - wouldn't recommend the Virgin hotel, Almond Beach Village. Full of Brits, same menu of chips chips and more chips on the all inclusive lunch menu and margaritas served in plastic tumblers! Yuck!
Apparently the one Tiger Woods got married in is very plush .......if you win the lottery that is!
Take care,

Freudus said...

Hey, you did the rss thing! And now I'm here, commenting in person and being counted as I do. I'll be interested to see the difference in hits...

Anonymous said...

not got a clue what i am doing waiting room today, (sister-in-law routine platelet blood count) I read your article in glamour oct issue. while i feel sorry for you, without being patronising, i found some of your comments hilarious. have been home a while and found myself wanting to read your blog. I'm thinking, what a great sense of humour through all this shit thrown from a great height! trying to understand what you're going through(mentioned sis-in-law is on chemo) and having family affected, i just wanted to say that i hope you beat this cruel disease, "f**king bullshit" (apt name) as you call it,
i'll keep visiting your blog and wish you all the best. oh and I hope your hunt for a cracking hotel in Barbados is successful. keep up the fight, jo xx

Unknown said...

Ooooo barbados sounds fab!
I hope you make this blog a book L, I will be first inline to buy it.
Thinking of

MBNAD woman said...

On the cliff, with tables looking over Crane Beach. Hold hands with P and enjoy.

My MBNAD woman recommends ....