I have been looking for books and things about dealing with cancer as a traumatic experience, and I’ve found more things talking about cancer being caused by stress than about it being a cause of stress. No wonder I used to try to figure out whether I officially had PTSD – some sort of validation on emotional issues would be nice.
Right now I am continually amazed at how far I have come. For example, I am currently drinking Diet Coke. From a can, without waiting for it to go flat or anything. Do you know how annoying it was not to be able to drink Coke for weeks? I was worried I might not be able to enjoy it ever again. God, I love Coke.
I would like to write something positive about what a great year 2018 has been and how I have so many resolutions for 2019. But I had cancer twice last year so obviously it was horrendous, not great, and I’d quite like to see exactly how that is going to fuck me up psychologically before I commit to performing great acts in 2019. Plus, there’s the chemo thing to wait and see for.
Hello! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I thought an update was in order as I’ve been off the grid for a bit, so here we go.
I had my Whipple surgery on 7th November. It was eight hours long. It would have been six hours but they had to spend the first two just dealing with adhesions from previous surgery. Then I was in the HDU (high-dependency unit, a bit like ICU) for three days – I don’t remember much about that time. And then I was on a regular ward for eight more days.
Have another life update blog post, because that seems to be all I’m good for at the moment. Having said that, I have written one or two poems, but while I previously posted a lot of them on my blog and didn’t leave many for submitting, I now seem to be swinging completely the other way. I promise I will post some new poetry on here soon.
Anyway, I’m updating today because I had an appointment with the surgeon who will be doing my whipple procedure. I’m one month post-hysterectomy, and I’ve been passed over from gynae, who have said no further action is required from their side of things. My stomach is still a bit sore especially if I’ve been particularly active, but I’m going to try driving tomorrow, and I’ve come a long way.
Hello world! (because apparently all my tweets and posts now have to sound like the start of a Visual Basic programming lesson.) I had my hysterectomy on Wednesday 12th September and came home on the Saturday, so I’ve been back for just over a week. I’m feeling really good today. The beginning of this week, the first few days of being at home, were horrendous. It hasn’t even been pain related to the wound, but sickness, wind and lack of appetite due to all the moving around of the bowel (or pouch, in my case) that they have to do. So the first few days were really hard and dark, and it felt to me like I wasn’t going to get better and everything was horrible. But things improve quicker than you realise they are, and last night I slept through the night in my bed without getting up to go to the toilet just to relieve myself of horrible wind pain. My appetite is coming back, I’m eating more, and here I am sat in my usual chair tapping away on my laptop.
Throwing on Disenchanted by My Chemical Romance and getting all these words out here super quick just for the sake of keeping this thing and you people, whoever and however many you may be, updated.
I’m having a hysterectomy (and ovaries removed) on 12th September. We can’t collect and freeze eggs first because that process might cause the lining of the womb to grow. So I won’t be having any biological children. I’m sure I’ll deal with that later.
I have two poems out at Cabildo Quarterly today! “can you come to bed?” about not wanting to be alone while going through a difficult time, and “The Difficulties of Existing Gracefully”, which is the result of a little doodle and a free write I did.
we take the afternoon off work to visit the nuclear
medicine department of the hospital
and in the evening I try to access some feeling and I ask
if I cry, will that help flush the radiation out of my body?
or will it just give the bags under my eyes a buttercup glow
as if my pupils had become suns
It was just a CT scan, just a tiny amount of radiation
and you are just melodramatic
you are just a girl, not spiderman
and nothing is happening
but that’s what burns
that still, nothing is quite happening here
no going nuclear, simply stoic
I compromise and just a couple of drops slip through
that is all I can offer
that is all life offers of anything
just a little at a time
just a little glow
A version of this poem was published in Autumn Sky Poetry Daily in April 2021.
I am eating lunch
I am not fighting cancer.
I am eating my lunch.
And then I am going for
a walk in the overcast
bright of the day.
And then I will go back
to the office and write
some articles. I might
have a snack and
listen to some music.
There is no fighting here.
Just noticed today is the 8th anniversary of my big operation. I’d be eight years cancer free today… if I hadn’t found out two months ago that it’s come back. That stings a bit. Here’s a new poem.