Friday 11 March 2011

O brother, here art thou!

I’ve been feeling a bit guilty about the welcome message on this blog. That bit on the right there. The bit that bangs on about moving on from The Bullshit and writing about other stuff instead. The bit that you’d be right in thinking I’d rather reneged on.

Nobody’s more disappointed than I am that Bullshit-based stuff has had to take over again of late but, bugger it, that’s just the way it is. And actually, it’s taken over a bit more than I might have let on. You’ve heard about Mum’s surgery and my surgery and all that’s come with it (and apologies, but you’ll hear a bit more yet in my next post), but what I haven’t yet blogged about is something else that happened lately. Something that I haven’t been quite sure how to approach. And so, instead of attempting a ham-fisted commentary of something about which I’m not best placed to write, I’m instead handing over to the person concerned: my brother.

Long-time readers will have heard a lot about Jamie: the strong, daft, pragmatic light relief to The Bullshit’s lunacy. I’ll leave this story to him to tell but, before he does, I just want to make it clear that, despite the utter pisser of what he’s recently discovered, I’m not in the least bit worried about him. Because, believe me, the force is strong in this one.

And so, dear reader, here – following in the footsteps of my guest-posting husband (but with added cringe-pics) – is the finest arseface the world has ever known: my brother Jamie.

So. My sister asked me to join her ranks of guest-bloggers, which means I get to follow Dave (P to you guys). No pressure, then. It’s not like Dave’s post was met with worldwide admiration or owt. But when the text came through from Doofus (Lisa to you guys) asking if I was up for it, it would have been wrong of me to tell her to piss off. Even as much as I love telling her to piss off.

Before I go on to spout shit about the topic that Sis asked if I’d write about, it seems fitting to spout shit about myself first. By way of introduction, then, if you lovely people haven’t guessed it already I’m Lisa’s brother, James. You might know me as Jamie or Arseface or – my personal favourite from Sis’s book – Lisa’s ‘brilliant, brilliant brother’… and I’m not in the business of arguing with that. If you follow me on Twitter (and if you don’t, @JamesMcFarlane is severely lacking behind Sis in the followers stakes – nudge nudge, wink wink!) then you’ll have gathered that I like football (but hate football fans), have an unhealthy obsession with American football and boxing, would live on pizza and curry if I could, and don’t really see eye to eye with that slag of a cat Sgt Pepper. (Way to get the readers on side, arseface – LL.)

Anyway, the reason The Sis asked me to write a post was to talk about what I like to call ‘This BRCA-2 Bollocks’. Granted, it’s not as catchy as ‘The Bullshit’ but it’s the best I can do (I am dyslexic after all; words aren’t supposed to be my strong point). You kids know the history... Lisa gets cancer (baaastard); then finds out she carries the BRCA-2 gene which a) puts her at a high risk of recurrence and b) means the initial diagnosis wasn’t so much of a fluke (baaastard); the shit hits the fan again when Mum discovers she too has the gene (baaastard); Lisa and Mum have a competition to see who can have the most preventative surgery in a six-month period… yada, yada, yada. After all of that, the rest of the family decided that it was best that we all got tested to see if we had the gene too but, me being me, I took forever to get round to it, mainly because it involved a blood test and I am what can only be described as a wimp.

My results day was a few weeks ago so me and Leanne (my awesomely awesome wife) cheerily went along, optimistically sat down in the consultation room… and was told that I too carried the BRCA-2 gene. (I’ll leave it to this link to explain what that means.)

I was genuinely convinced in the build-up to getting the results that I wouldn’t have the gene. Why? I have absolutely no idea. But that was my strong (and royally wrong) gut feeling, hence I was (and still am, I guess) pretty fucked off about it. (Apologies – I like to think I don’t completely share my sister’s potty mouth but I needed to emphasise just how fucked off I was, and the only suitable word in such a situation is indeed ‘fucked’. So there.) What does it mean for me in a practical sense? Well, not as much as it did for Sis and Mum – after all I don’t have boobs (contrary to popular belief) or ovaries to get shipped out of my body in order to help reduce my risk of contracting The Bullshit. I guess for me, then, I can just get on with life a bit more, albeit knowing that I have a higher risk of contracting The Bullshit in later life than your average Joe.

I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t expecting me to have the gene. Big Dave (Dad to you guys) admitted to me after my results (when we were on a father-and-son away-day to watch Derby County at glorious Scunthorpe) that he thought that I’d be the lucky one, and I see his point. The law of averages should have meant that this BRCA-2 bollocks would pass me by. And so I think the reason I was so fucked off was that, if I didn’t have the gene, we could all draw a line under the whole cancer bollocks and get on with life. We can still get on with it now, of course, but we’ll just have to get on with it with a little cloud hanging over us; just as a nasty reminder that cancer is still an utter baaastard.

Me and my awesomely awesome wife are hoping to knock out some kids pretty soon and, if we’re lucky enough to be successful, there is obviously a 50/50 chance that any of our nippers could get the gene too – and so the cycle continues... Is that going to stop us wanting a family of our own? Absobloodylutely not. Cancer can take over your life at the time that it directly affects you and your family (and, yes, beyond), but I’m buggered if I’m going to let the dickhead (and let’s be honest, if cancer were a person it would be a proper dickhead) take over my life and the decisions I make at a moment when anyone in my life hasn’t actually got it. I’m not trying to sound all macho (anyone who has met me would cry laughing at that thought) and say that my family’s recent Bullshit shenanigans – or my recent BRCA-2 bollocks – hasn’t affected me. OF COURSE it has, and at times it still will. I’d also be lying if I didn’t say that my recent BRCA-2 result has left me thinking that I’ll be spending my life looking over my shoulder, waiting for the dickhead to catch me up and open up a can of whoop-ass on me. But, like I said, I’m buggered if I’m going to let it take over mine and my family’s life, and the lives of any baby arsefaces that me and the awesomely awesome wife may have.

Let’s be honest, though. As fucked off as I may be, my BRCA-2 findings pale into insignificance compared to the family’s recent Bullshit. Is it worse than anything that Doofus has been through since first being diagnosed? Is it bollocks. Is it worse than seeing your Mum go through two bouts of major surgery in a short space of time to reduce her risk of getting cancer? Is it bollocks. I’ve not been told I have cancer. I’ve just been told that there’s a chance I might get it in the future. Any one of us might get it, of course – it’s just that my might is a bit more likely. On the flip side, I might not get it at all – so why spend my life worrying that I will?

Lately, I’ve had some issues with feeling guilty about various predicaments in which I have found myself in recent months. And this is another one of those moments. I’m annoyed about something that isn’t even a patch on what happened to Sis – or Mum, for that matter. I’ve also felt guilty for being upset about losing my job last July (just for the record, I finally started a new one last week... and a better one too!) because, again, it’s nothing compared to what my sis has been through. Lisa knows about all of this and insists I shouldn’t feel guilty but I’m afraid it’s tough shit. Bad news will never stop me having a bit of a moan but, when I do, I tend to get more annoyed with myself.

If everything that has happened recently with Sis has taught me anything, it’s that things could always be worse. Me losing my job and finding out I carry the BRCA-2 gene... it could have been worse. Even Lisa getting cancer and everything that went with it... it could have been worse. That’s just the way it is now – and it’s also a reason why I get so fucked off (maybe I do have my sister’s potty mouth) with people’s wanky (ok, I definitely do) Facebook statuses. You know the stuff… X ‘has had the worst day ever OMG OMG’. Y ‘is so poorly with this cold – why is it always me?’ (That said, man-flu can always be forgiven.) But you get my drift. It’s the same culprits every time, and it takes every ounce of strength I have not to bombard their comments section with lectures about how shit life can really be.

I’m not for one minute saying I’ve had a shit life. Quite the opposite. My life has been awesome – with the exception of a few obvious situations – but I’m not going to let those situations cloud the fact that, ultimately, my life is frickin’ brilliant for a whole host of family-and-friend-related reasons. I don’t begrudge people for having a moan (just not on Facebook where the world will ultimately determine that you’re an attention-seeking tosser with nowt better to say or do), just as long as whatever it is they’re overdramatically moaning about is something worth the whinge.

If this sounds preachy, I’m sorry – I’ve simply written it wrong (blame the dyslexia). It’s just that, since the situation with Sis, I’ve adopted a philosophy that things could always be worse. (And never has that sentence been more relevant than today.) Maybe it’s my coping strategy for dealing with The Bullshit that pissed around with my Sis, I dunno. Even with the awful stuff that’s happened to Lisa, some poor sod has had it – or has got it – much worse. So, yeah, I’m fucked off about having the BRCA-2 gene but, at the end of the day, it’s just tough shit. Life can be pretty crappy, but it can always be worse.

I expect I’ll continue to moan every day of my life, but I won’t be carelessly sharing it with the world on Facebook for people to conclude that I’m an unthinking tosser. Because – again – everything that happens, no matter what it is… it could always be worse. You never realise it straight away but, ultimately, I think it’s true.

Which brings me to the end of my post. But, before I go, I’d just like to point out that Dave Grohl was my hero way before he was Lisa’s. He was on my ‘list’ (yes, laminated – and yes, pre-approved by my wife) long before he was on hers!

Oh, and one final point. My sister is awesome.



Lisa Lynch said...

You rule.

Sis x

Anonymous said...

Fuck off.

Sgt Pepper x

Fiona said...

What a wonderful post Jamie. What pain in the wotsits news. As your sister says - you rule. (and never mind what Sgt Pepper says - not a dyslexic cat then...) Fi x

Anonymous said...

Immensely good. Rock on Dave.

Just two pieces of feedback. 1. Don't make me cry again or there'll be no more San Diego merchandise 2. Diss the cat again and there'll be words.

Big bro

notquiteginger said...

Shit news, great attitude, bloody fantastic post. You've got yourself another twitter follower. Best of luck in the future! Wendy

Laura Sparling said...

Superb post, Jamie. Shitter about the news but your things-could-be-worse philosophy is a good one.

You lot are pretty dang marvellous!

Laura x

Lynne said...

Awesome post.
Shitty news.
Great philosophy.
Potty mouths - YAY!!
Lynne :0)

Fletcher of the Day said...

Well written post. You can really see how much you genuinely care for your sister, which is a lovely thing.

Bummer about the news and that you have such a bad catitude, but you are redeemed, I suppose, by the fact that you are a Chargers fan.

Great attitude about life. If there's one thing I've learned with my personal experience with my husband's cancer it's, as you said, perspective. Things could always be much worse.

Awesome sauce!


AnnaGoAnna said...

Finding it hard to add to the comments or indeed to compete with the banter contained therein... except perhaps to say "I was already following you on Twitter"... yes you're sister is awesome... bugga the dyslexia (or however it's spelt!)... fukity-fuk-fuk about the news... loving your attitude... and finally have fun creating the little ankle-biters-to-be!!

Anonymous said...

Awesomely awesome post!
Fuckity crappy crap about the news, but with your philosophy on life you'll be just grand.

As for the swearing your sis still wins!!


Antonia said...

Brilliant post Jamie. As ever the MacFarlane spirit shows itself. Just like your sister, you're a bit 'finger'. You can ask her how that saying came about. Really well-written and well-played in a very shit situation. xxx

Sana said...

I really really really reeeeeally enjoyed reading this post, your brother has just given me a new insight into life. I admit, I guess I'm one of those 'moaners' he's talking about, I do say my life is shit all the time but I guess it really can be worse. Thanks for this post! x

Dee Montague said...

I follow James, Lisa and P on Twitter. That makes me great.
This post is fucking awesome.
I regularly slate people on facebook, but usually by hiding behind my blog.
They are often known as fucktards.
I adore this blog.
I love your humour...all of you. My Mum says 'it's spot on'.
That is all.
Thanks for sharing with us.
Huge love.
Dee x

Freda said...

Thanks Jamie and all the best for the future. BTW are you going to start blogging in your own right?