So by now some of you may have seen the video B posted of me. It was not a good day but I guess that’s the point. They aren’t good days. They’re the best we can make them days. So whilst I’m so grateful for all the beautiful comments about how wonderful I look, how well I look, they worry me. I don’t want to in anyway trivialise the awfulness, the fear, the yuckiness, the desperateness, the late night bathroom floor moments, the self pitying, the pain, the soreness. It’s hard to share those moments, but it’s easy to share the smiles. It’s not always easy to smile mind you and I think you all see it for what it is, but I just need to make sure you do. A choice. A touch of lipstick, a creamy foundation, some mascara on my fast departing lashes, is my armour to fight the day. I share because I want to give strength to those who are struggling, to show how sometimes a smile, tough though it may be to smile, helps lift the spirit and does give you energy to move forward. That chemo whilst it makes you feel shit, is not something to fear. If even just one person who chose not to do chemo because of fear, fear of being bald, fear of the debilitating side effects, fear driven by others fear, fear driven by others self serving ideologies or conspiracy theories or self healing crap and then leaves it too late sees me and feels hopeful, then fuck it’s been worth it. Healthy living, healthy eating, exercising, reducing stress, being mindful, making the right choices, keeping your system alkaline, living a moderate healthy life are all fucking givens for living. I did it all. I lived it. Yet I got cancer. So, what? Am I a bad person? Do I have many lessons to learn? Fuck yes, we all do. But the one I have learnt is do not fear. It’s what kills you.
A friend asked what I did last time I was bald, did I use soap on my head? Shampoo? I couldn’t remember. Well now I know. I shampoo. And condition. How funny. Clearly not necessary but yet it is. Life is as it was. Yeah fucking right. This all happened a tad too quickly. I keep catching glimpses of this vaguely familiar bald chick in the mirror. What the fuck? Anyway, second chemo down. I can’t say the day was as much of a hoot as last time. Mostly because our inappropriate trauma nurse Aaron wasn’t there, so we missed the David Lynch esque experience. But also because my damn veins are shutting down. And I simply refuse to have a portacath surgically inserted. Anyway the persistent and delightful nurses succeeded at attempt number six. I’ll even forgive them the ‘are you still sure you don’t want a portacath inserted’ comment after it all. Because they were delightful. And only concerned for me. And to be honest I was feeling particularly upbeat as I finally got the results of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene test back, and I have no genetic mutation. This is clearly brilliant news for my immediate family and especially my beautiful daughters. I can’t pass a gene fault on because I don’t have one. Yehaaa. But before you go down the path of why then, who the fuck knows. About seventy five percent of cancers are not due to known gene mutations, so in this instance I’m one of many. And for my family, pleased to be. Weird as that sounds. No decisions re immediate prophylactic surgeries needed. But vigilance still required. And that is cause for celebration.
I had a little tantrum yesterday. As in, I don’t wanna do this again. I can and I will and I am, but I really really don’t wanna. It’s those fucking bald spots that did it. And I know I am so much more than my hair, and I know I am blessed to not be terminal, and I’m doing this to ensure I am not terminal anytime soon, but allow me this rant. Rocking the no hair look, and I mean no hair, no eyebrows, no eyelashes, no pubes, yay me, should be a once in a lifetime achievement. Dammit. I know you can all see through the smile, it’s kind of hard to hide the vulnerabilty in my eyes or the tears that well up when I least expect it. And I am brave and I will do what I need to do, so please believe that what I say and what you see is true, but bloody hell, I don’t wanna. It’s cool to be unique, to be different and yes to be the one percent. Apparently that is what I am. A one percenter. The likelihood of cancer recurring after a mastectomy and chemo is one percent. Seriously. Serves me right for always wanting to stand out.
So. Think I’m feeling the trepidation of knowing what’s coming. Welcoming it in a weird way because it’s still my best shot. But this thursday I willingly poison myself again. Time to shave me thinks.
I’m so not a hero. Whilst I’m blown away by all the beautiful comments due to my oversharing I really am not. A hero I mean. I’m just really trying my damndest to get through this thing intact. Well intact ish. And to be authentic. I don’t believe in the always be positive crap. I mean obviously be positive. But always be positive? What a crock of shit. Sometimes be sad and own that moment. Sometimes be angry and own that moment. Sometimes be vulnerable and own that moment. And yes fuck it, share it with those who love you. Be authentic. No one is happy and positive all of the fucking time. That is just weird and masks you from real emotion. It doesn’t allow people to let you see them in all their ugliness and glory. But let them be moments you allow, acknowledge and let go. Because being happy and positive is so much a better choice. So I choose to love this beautiful messy life we are all blessed to share. I’m a bit of a quote girl and fuck me I think I’m becoming a tattoo girl too. On my list of things to do today is phone my oncologist to find out if my white blood count is high enough so I can get a tattoo. I mean really, who is so deep in la la land. Anyway. A quote my girls have heard ad nauseum, you can’t control what happens to you, only how you choose to respond, is how I choose to live my life. The big word for me in this is choose. We have a choice. That is what sets us apart. And makes us us. Why would you choose to give up? To be fearful. To not be positive. I don’t. So the hair thing is really a choice to live my truth. Saying fuck you to this thing. But yet acknowledging it. My hair will fall out. So this is not a new hairdo but a big huge it is what it is. See the quote thing again? Anyway it’s choosing to be light at a not light time. Choosing not to go into hiding. I wake up and see this strange odd woman looking back at me and I smile. And I feel like a warrior. And why would you not. Not decide to smile. A smile hides a heap of shit but damn it can make you feel good. It’s just a choice. And if that makes me heroic, dammit I’ll own it.
So where am I now. Day 13 of first chemo. They count it in days. Because at roughly certain days you should expect a new kind of hell. So on day 13 I’m supposed to feel slightly less nauseous, more fatigue, the debilitating muscle pains should abate, and my white blood count should improve. All good in the land of hell actually. And just as I feel like me again it’s time for the next round. And that’s next week already. Day 21. When my hair should fall out. Loving the should. Maybe I’ll stay blonde. What a hoot.
I have a fetish for a man’s forearm. A strong forearm with slightly curly blonde hairs I can twist my fingers in. It always does it for me. Makes me feel safe, loved, held, invincible, fragile. And it belongs to one man. B is my everything. I could not be or do any of the crap I have to if it weren’t for him. Just holding me. Letting me be me. Being kind, being tough, being caring, being blunt. I am a fucked up case of normal and not normal, with moments of calm and moments of utter insanity. I think we all probably are, some of us just hide it better than others. I have the best gift of all. Someone I hide nothing from. Someone who really does know the dark and the light that is me. Someone who seems to see the light. And quite like the dark. I’m feeling especially maudlin today you see, because today is B’s birthday. And its a crap time for us. And I just felt i wanted to scream from the rooftops how much I adore him. And how much I know I am adored. But I know the girls would be mortified. So I wrote it down instead. You are the only reason I can do this. I see in your eyes the belief in me that makes me know I can. I don’t know why or how we found each other or what made us make it work, but I am grateful every day I breathe that I have you. Not only because of our two beautiful daughters but because I honestly know that any part of my world without you in it, would just not be. You make me be. You make us us. We are us. We are the only thing I know to be truly real. Happy birthday my angel. I love you. And those beautiful forearms.
It’s been a tough five days since chemo. I have desperately tried to remove myself from the nausea that follows me whether I stand, sit, lie or sleep. I hate the way I taste and smell, I hate the way everything tastes and smells. My body aches, I have sores in my mouth, my head feels trapped in a cave with moss in my pores. I feel so tired, it hurts sometimes to talk. But I can feel the easing. I am woman. Hear me roar.