Wednesday 31 March 2010

Geek like me.

‘I have NEVER seen you like that,’ huffed P as we pulled away from the hospital following our last appointment with Smiley Surgeon.
‘You haaaave,’ I chirped confidently. (A rather misplaced confidence, given the masterclass in goondom I’d just performed in my surgeon’s office.)
‘Why do you go all high-pitched?’ he quizzed, now mimicking my tone. ‘You’re all “Hi! I’m Lisa Lynch! I’m friendly and cheerful! Please love me!” And all in that weird voice you do.’
‘Fuck off,’ I spat, in an altogether lower octave.
‘Seriously though, babe, you’re a proper goof.’
‘I can’t help it!’ I squealed. ‘Honestly! I sit in that waiting room giving myself little pep-talks before every appointment. “Don’t do it this time, Lis. Play it cool, Lis. Act normal, Lis.” But when I get in there it all turns to shit. I literally have no control over it. It’s chemical.’
P continued to skit me. ‘And all that stuff about The Curly Professor. “Ooh, and he told me to pass on his regards, and to tell you that you’ve done a really excellent job!” I mean, come on, woman.’
‘But he did say that!’ I protested.
‘I know he did. But it’s the way you say it. You’re such a massive fucking suck-up.’
‘Oh, just… sod off,’ I sulked, as P near pissed himself laughing.

At the risk of making excuses for myself when I ought to be waving a giant white flag, I do think that there was a bloody good reason for my added goondom this time. A couple of bloody good reasons, in fact.

For one, Smiley Surgeon didn’t just agree with The Curly Professor’s prophylactic-mastectomy-and-oophorectomy advice, but went one – nay, two – better by suggesting that they could both be done this autumn (this autumn!) and – crucially – at the same time (the same time!). And after hearing that, of course, I damn near crawled across his desk and hugged the glasses clean off his face.

My second goon-excuse, though, is that this was the appointment during which I was to give Smiley Surgeon – as I’d promised the last time I saw him – an early copy of my book. (Which, by the way, is out in two weeks and available to pre-order from all good online retailers. *double thumbs up*) And so, despite the gravity of the stuff we were talking about in our consultation, the high-pitched voice in my head persisted in reminding me about the gift I had to give him all the way through our session.

‘You mustn’t forget the book!’ the voice chided as Smiley Surgeon examined my bothersome boobs.
‘But don’t make a massive deal of it!’ it pestered as he declared that he’d be able to preserve my right nipple. (Preserve my nipple! Actually, make that goon-excuse #3.)
‘And don’t mention that he’s in it!’ it nagged as he made me aware of the small yet positive impact that preventative surgery could have on my life expectancy.
‘Just slide it across the desk and be outta here!’ it teased as he promised to refer me to a gynaecological surgeon to discuss the details of my oophorectomy.

And then it was my turn.
‘So does that answer all your questions?’ Smiley Surgeon asked after talking me through everything I needed to know.
‘I think so, yep,’ I said, doing what I could to talk above my inner voice. ‘So I guess I’ll have my MRI done and then come back to you for the mammogram in June, and then if all the scans are clear I s’pose we can crack on.’ (I actually said ‘crack on’. Like we were talking about a haircut, and not the removal of my ladybits.)
‘Indeed,’ he said.
‘Cool,’ I said.
‘So if that’s it, then…’ Smiley Surgeon concluded, pushing himself up from the arms of his chair.
‘Actually, um... there is one more thing,’ I stuttered, getting squeakier with every syllable. ‘Remember how I told you about my book?’
‘Oh yes! Have you got it?’ he asked, enthusiastically.
‘Well, this is your copy,’ I said, sliding it across the desk as the voice had advised.
‘Brilliant!’ he exclaimed, turning it over to look at the back cover. ‘Brilliant! And a quote from The Telegraph! That’s very prestigious!’
‘Oh heck, don’t get your hopes up,’ I goofed, as he continued to read the blurb.

It was at this point that I suddenly remembered the horribly soppy message I’d written inside the cover. Fuck – the message! ‘An acknowledgement in a book doesn’t quite cut it…’ Oh fuckshitbollocks. ‘Thank you for giving me a breast I’ve come to love every bit as much as the one I lost…’ And, oh no – double fuckshitbollocks – the massive kiss! And the heart! In pink pen! What the fuck had I done? I'll tell you what I'd done. I’d just handed the man responsible for my cancer-prevention a book in which I swear like a trooper, talk at length about my bowel movements, and reveal that I’m a little bit in love with the doctors who’ve treated me. A book in which he doesn’t even know he’s a major character. A major character with a pet name, ferfuckssake.

‘Abort mission! Abort mission!’ screamed the voice in my head. ‘Pick up your bag! Leave the building! Get the fuck out! NOW!’ Panicked adrenaline forced me out of my seat and into my jacket in a single flinch.

Smiley Surgeon continued to hold up my book’s cover at his eye level, and proudly turned it around to show the trainee surgeon who’d been observing our appointment. I’d barely even noticed she was there.
‘This is amazing, Lisa,’ he said, taking his smiley moniker to new levels.
I shrugged and blushed simultaneously, as P made a gesture that suggested we ought to be leaving.
‘It’s great that you’ve turned all of this into something so positive,’ Smiley Surgeon went on. Which, of course, made me blush even more.
‘Pahh,’ I burbled, maniacally waving a hand in front of my face in the hope of passing off my reddening cheeks as a hot flush.
‘My, you are determined,’ he said, bringing our meeting to a close as I sheepishly skulked out of the room.
‘Yup,’ said the voice in my head. ‘You’re determined, all right. Determined to make yourself look like the right tit he’s going to remove.’


Ant said...

Now I think you should have said' "you're in it!" before running from the building. Seriously though, he will be honored to be in your book, trust me. He'll show it to his family and everything. I bet he's been saving lives for years and never got the recognition he deserved. Or people didn't think to tell him. You've done a brilliant thing for that bloke. Best thank you pressie ever. Love you xxxxx

Anonymous said...

I'm really looking forward to reading your book!!

Bet he'll be chuffed to little mintballs when he reads it! x

Alex Stoker said...

Yes. He'll love it, pink kiss and all. My old man, less smiley, but also a surgeon once had a book dedicated to him. He loved it. Smiley knifeman will too.

annoesjka said...

Don't be so hard on yourself! Smiley Surgeon will be chuffed.
Just handed in my translation of your book by the way. What can I say... it enriched my life sounds corny, but I'm really impressed with your stamina.

Anonymous said...

Just ordered the book! Ooooo, cant wait. I think you're hilarious. I would have done far worse - probably told him his nickname and then try to explain it away....
So well written as ever

Helen said...

I cannot wait for my copy of the book to arrive!

And I think I might be a little bit in love with Smiley Surgeon! <3 - not pink, but you get the idea

Lisa Lynch said...

Annoesjka, you translated my book! Omigod, that may be the coolest thing I've ever heard.

Hope my sweary colloquialisms weren't too much of an arsepain. (See?)

And thank you!


annoesjka said...

You're very, very welcome!
And yes, your language was a challenge. But apparently I was quite good at it. :-)
Keep on writing, and I look forward to your book launch from over here across the Channel.
All the best for you and P.

Paula said...

Absolute brill! I am slightly in love with my wonderful consultants too - but would admit that to anyone else other than you ... oh and your 000's of followers!! Doh!

Fingers crossed for that book launch - how exciting!!

P xox

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine at work told me about your article in the Mail at the weekend.

I am the mother of a (soon to be) 4 year old boy who was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive brain tumour shortly after his second birthday. He became ill the day that my daughter was born.

After initially being told that there was no treatment and after three months of palliative care, he seemed to be doing well. We took the decision to commence an experimental and intensive chemotherapy regime with a stem cell rescue.

Today, my amazing little boy is tumour free and the next of his 4 monthly scans is at the end of the month. I try and live without thinking about the MRIs as the results could literally turn my world upside down again. I am sure you understand that.

I too have coped by blogging and have recorded his journey since he first started treatment in Autumn 2008. I first started because I wanted to share with family and friends how he was progressing, but it soon became more than that.

I would love to have some advice from you as it is my dream to one day turn my son's blog into a book for other parents faced with the battle we live with. When he was diagnosed, we had no such reference.

If you are happy to get in touch with me, please could you post a comment on my blog (which I will not publish) either with your contact details or confirming that you are happy to receive my contact details (via your blog - and not publish them).

I have been reading your blog and admire the way in which you have handled such a life changing event. I don't know about you but I now view my life as pre and post cancer and see that I was living in ignorant bliss before the house of cards came crashing down.

My blog is

With kind regards,