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Dear Mum, you drive me crazy but…

8 Mar

Mothers Day

So I’ve been raking my brains for what to get my mum for Mother’s day. I could go down the token flowers / bubbles / smellies route (yawn) but the flowers will die, the bubbles will be drunk (probably quite quickly knowing mum) and the smellies will be added to the heap that’s currently gathering dust on her bathroom shelf.

Instead I thought I’d try something a bit different, I thought I’d write her letter and share it with the world so that she knows just how much I love her and how truly wonderful I think she is……so here it is…

Dear Mum,

So with Mother’s Day just around the corner I’ve been thinking of how I could possibly start to say thank you for being such a wonderful mum. The truth is I’m not sure I can. For as long as I can remember you’ve been there for me, guiding me along this crazy, fun, stupid and often terrifying road called life. Fulfilling the role of both Mum and Dad for most of my life you’ve shown me how to be a good person, how to keep smiling when everything seems to be falling around my ears, how to be caring and loving, how to stay positive, how to laugh at myself, how to stay strong and the biggest life lesson of all….that there really is no situation that can’t be tackled if you have a glass of wine in your hand!

When I was told I had breast cancer I walked out of the hospital feeling shocked, scared and broken. The first person I called was you. I can’t remember a time in my life when this wasn’t my natural reaction – every grazed knee, every trip to hospital (could you have had a more accident prone daughter?!), the multiple car prangs, the broken hearts, the bad days at work, the friendship wobbles, the ‘I’m moving house (again) will you help me’ call, the fashion dilemmas or recipe questions (your four cheese lasagne is the best in the world, fact!). Whatever the situation, whatever the question, the first person I want to call is you and somehow you always have the answer.

So on that horrible day when I got the news, it was your voice that I needed to hear, it was you I needed to see. And there you were, just a few hours later having run out of work and jumped on the first train from Bumpkin land to the big smoke with nothing but your handbag and a pair of knickers. When I met you at the station and we stood there on the platform hugging and sobbing I knew somehow it would be ok, because you’re my mum, and somehow you always manage to make everything ok. Then you got the wine out and I really knew we’d be fine.

“Supportive” is you through and through. You are a rock to so many people, me and Lulu, the girls, the whole family in fact, not forgetting your friends and colleagues. Everyone knows they can rely on you to be there, to give them a hug, to listen, to laugh, to pour the wine and to just be there. You are patient and kind and always see in the good in people. You’ve never gotten really angry despite the million times you could have ‘Yes sorry mum, I did have a house party when you told me not too, um yes I have pierced my ear, again, yeap I’ve crashed the car, again, oh and I’m really sorry but I’ve lost your camera, oh and the new camera you got to replace the one you lost, I’ve broken it, sorry, and um yes I did loose your wedding ring when I wore it to school once for a play….(What a nightmare daughter I was!)

Don’t get me wrong for all your loveliness, you also drive me completely crazy! Your inability to operate anything remotely technical is ridiculous, especially but not limited to; remote controls, hospital beds (don’t get me started on this one!), my car, my washing machine and the list goes on….You do my head in with your inability to start a sentence without the use of phrases like “At the end of the day”, “Can I just say” and “Yes but, lets be honest….”- like you’re going to lie to me?! And no, for the hundredth time, I don’t know ‘So and so, who used to live next door to such and such, who’s cousin went to school with that girl down the road, who’s dog looked a bit like ours…’ No, afraid not, I have literally no idea who the hell you’re talking about and never will.

You are also highly embarrassing, like all good mums should be. Last Easter being the perfect example. In a moment of pure ’embarrassing mum madness’ you called my office and asked the person on the other end of the phone if they’d mind popping out to Sainsbury’s to buy me an Easter egg, because you’d forgotten to put one in the post for me. You kindly said you’d reimburse them, of course, but if they could see to it that I had one that would be lovely……I was 32 years old, the person on the other end of that phone was the MD of the agency….who subsequently called a mini company meeting to retell the story of my mum asking him to buy me an Easter egg, before finally presenting it to me in front of everyone …..mortified!

But as is typical with you, it was also bloody hilarious and just one of my many, many funny memories of you. Like the way you like to dance in front of the fridge – because you can see your reflection and weirdly like to dance with yourself?! Or your appalling singing voice and your tendency to completely disregard the actual lyrics of a song in favour of your own made up version, who can forget the classic “Hose me down” by James. And I’m not even going to get in to the graphic personal details you love to share about me and my sister to any Tom, Dick or Harry you meet – nothing is sacred, nothing. Strangers please gather round and let me tell you about the time that Jodie did…. (lets just leave that there shall we). We know you’re proud but still, it’s embarrassing! Although on that, I am slowly realising that maybe I’ve inherited the sharing gene, this is hardly a private blog is it….hmmm.

But I wouldn’t swap you for all the world and I know that these last seven months would have been immeasurably harder if you weren’t right there, by my side every step of the way. Holding my hand, wiping away my tears (and your own), giving me encouragement, telling me I was still gorgeous boobs or no boobs, giving me cuddles, taking me away when I couldn’t face the world, cooking for me, cleaning up after me, taking care of me, keeping me laughing, helping me every single step of the way. All the time just being you. Wonderful you.

So when I get snappy because you’ve left my car in gear (again), or you can’t figure out how to use my telly (again), or I’m huffing because you’ve told me the same story five times already and I’m at that mother/daughter point when I just need to get away from you because you’re doing my head in……please know, that even in those stroppy moments I completely and utterly adore you.

Happy Mother’s Day, you’re one in a million.

Jodiex

P.S Don’t worry, there will still be bubbles ;0)

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Boys, boobs and a whole lot of honesty

3 Feb

The carrie affect

Recently someone told me that I had to keep writing and that I should keep being as honest as possible.

Whilst I wholeheartedly agreed, nodding repeatedly whilst sipping on my red wine, I was shamefully hiding the fact that sometimes it’s hard to keep it up. Don’t get me wrong there are days when I could talk about it non stop but then there are other days, more quiet, reflective days, when I just want to shut up. Put on my ‘I’m fine’ hat and just ignore stuff. But, as I’ve said before, the main problem with being such a loud mouth with a massive “oh crap, I’m overcoming Breast Cancer” banner and a pet C-Monkey in tow, is that when you want to be quiet….you kind of can’t be.

The other thing that struck me was the word ‘honest’. At the beginning I was brutally honest, there was a rawness to it all. I think this was partly because of the shock at everything that was happening, the Cancer news, the appearance of C-Monkey, the mastectomy and the aftermath of it all. Back then I just couldn’t stop blurting it all out, loudly, to anyone, in graphic detail….I look back at that now and know it was the right thing to do because it massively helped me at the time. It gave me an outlet at 4am in the morning when C-Monkey was doing cartwheels on my pillow and ripping up my bras. But now, well now lets just say I’m a bit more self aware. I know that people are reading this, that there are opinions being made, judgements even. The effect of that has meant that I’ve unwittingly started to self edit. I didn’t mean to, but I am. I’m more cautious about what I write, even to some extent what I say to people. I don’t want to offend anyone. I want my friends and family to continue to be proud of me and not be horrifically shocked or embarrassed by what I say or do – I think they’ve had enough of that with the TV appearance and boob cookies?!  I’m also acutely aware that my Nan will be reading this (hi Nan, love you, promise I’ll try to keep the swearing down!)

I shouldn’t worry what people think of me but yes, I admit it, I actually do. It matters a lot. So maybe my writing, my brutal honestly has eased off somewhat, maybe I have been waiting until I can write positive things rather than just wailing “EVERYTHING IS STILL CRAP AND I AM SO TIRED OF IT!” whenever I want. Seriously though, who wants to hear that? I’d be bored of me. Wailing is not fun. So no there will be none of that. But maybe I should go back to being a bit more honest. Afterall when I first got the news all I did was frantically search for someone like me, someone I could talk to and although there were endless forums I just found them all so deeply depressing. I just couldn’t engage with them.

There didn’t seem to be anyone like me, someone who just wanted to life as normal as possible, didn’t want to wallow but kind of was. Someone who could keep laughing at the crazy ridiculousness of it all, drink a little, cry a bit, talk about boys and jobs and how the hell anything would ever be the same?? I had a million questions from the stupid and inane to the serious and heavy, but just couldn’t find anyone to help me answer them. So I started writing. Being honest.

So here I am giving myself an honest kick up the bum and starting over. Deep breath, and go….Ok, so, my next operation is now mid Feb. It’ll be my fourth within a seven month period. Lots of poeple don’t understand why I’m having another operation, my usual brush off response is that things just need to be sorted, things haven’t quite gone as well as expected but that I’m fine, it’ll be fine, I’m fine blah blah blah…yawn. That’s probably what I’d be writing right now actually.

But the honest truth is, boobs are bloody complicated. There I was happily bouncing about before the whole C-Monkey accident thinking that boobs were nothing more than lovely big lumps of jigginess with bits on top. But no, they are seriously complicated things. This is something I have hugely underestimated.

I mean when I was little it was pretty easy to make boobs. All you needed was a few pairs of socks to stuff down your top, or anything that you could mould into two lumps… play dough worked quite well, as did sand, little boob shaped sand castles complete with shells for the naughty bits. You see, easy. In real life though, not so much.

So then the operation, numero four. The problem is this, essentially leftie is still a bit too small. This feels like a ridiculous admission given that I feel like I have a giant jelly tot stuffed in me, but he is. The skin has stretched even more and he needs to be made a bit bigger. There’s also the problem of him….um how to say this….migrating away somewhat… You see this Leftie seems to a bit shy, he is rapidly making a bid for freedom and is trying to hide under my armpit whilst doing do. In short he’s just sort of nudging me under my arm, which is really uncomfortable, and needs to be firmly put back in the right place. If he isn’t sorted out god knows where he’d end up? Who wants a boob on their back, that is a scenario I’m not willing to even think about.! So he needs to be made a little bit bigger and with the help of a few internal stitches (ouch) hopefully he’ll stay put.

But it doesn’t end there. This will actually be the first time I’ve had both done at the same time. Yeap even Righty isn’t quite right, yet. Despite the lift and the little implant that’s been put in, Righty is still….well, flagging somewhat. My own boob is quite literally, letting me down. (Sigh). So he’ll be lifted a bit more and reshaped a bit too. The hope is that eventually, with a little bit more attention here and there, they will both match and I really will have the best boobs possible.

I say possible because they still won’t be my boobs, not completely. That’s still a hard pill to swallow. As much as I quite like the new perkiness and the way they’ve suddenly made me look a bit slimmer (oh yeah, random but true!) they still won’t be my old boobs. I can’t even say they’ll be better because they probably won’t. In truth, the real honest painful truth, is they wont. They will have scars and even after those fade they will still be a bit different. The reality is that I will always have one real and one fake. Actually I’ll have one fake and one who’s identity is a bit confused…half and half if you like. To the casual observer they won’t look any different, if anything they’ll look pretty perky and amazing, but I’ll know the truth. I’ll know what it took to get them.

On the plus side, one other life thing that’s been suffering from all this has had a nice surprise. Boys. Now boys and boobs have had a love affair for as long as the world has existed. Boys are seemingly mesmerised by these two dangling things, the mere sight of them can bring joy into their life and make the world a better place.

This always proved to be quite handy for us girls. The hypnotic power of our greatest assets could get us out of most situations and in to lots of others too, if you know what I mean. And I loved mine. As I’ve said before I think they were my best feature. Anyway, one of the things that goes through your head when you hear you have Cancer is how your love life will be affected. Well, it went through my mind anyway. As a thirty something single girl, this was a major concern. I mean, for a start I could rule out the next 6-9months at least! Love life officially cancelled. No Mr Right or any Mr Wrongs. Just me, alone, single and bored. Only C-Monkey to cuddle up to and he hates to cuddle, and he snores, badly.

But after that, well then what? What happens when life starts over? How would I tell someone I wanted to be with that I may have to do a bit of a Carrie Bradshaw for a while? How do you even start that conversation? For those of you who know SATC you’ll know that Miss Bradshaw was a fan of the bra in the bedroom approach. Miranda, Sam and Charlotte regularly got their boobs out in many a sex scene, but not Carrie, she was a bra in bed kind of a girl all the way. So I decided a while ago that should the situation ever arise again (?!) I would adopt the Carrie way.

But in order to even give that a go I’d have to get my confidence back, get out there, find a boy to like me, then face telling him….then do the Carrie thing. I appreciate this all sounds very superficial and stupid, but when you haven’t had ‘fun’ in a really long time (thanks C-Monkey) and you really do want to meet your Mr Right eventually, it does occupy an awful lot of your thinking space.

Recently I got to put the Carrie in to action. I’m not quite ready to be that honest, just yet (hi again Nan!). Suffice to say that the guy in question told me that not being able to have something, just makes you want it all the more. So maybe Carrie was on to something, sometimes it’s ok to hide the goods away. It seems boys actually quite like it.

So if I could go back in time and relate some of this to the freaked out, frightened and totally confused me, the one frantically searching the internet at 4am in the morning searching for answers and just becoming a sobbing mess… I’d say this – No it won’t be the same, they won’t be the same, but that doesn’t mean it will be awful. It’s all down to you. You will find the strength to hold on to who you are, and that’s what really matters. Keep writing, keep being honest, oh and keep a nice bra handy too ;0)

Honesty and boobs, who knew it could be so complicated!

The boat that rocked….with a C-Monkey and a Water Goat

25 Aug

Change. It’s a funny old thing. I’m not very good at change. In fact, I hate it. I’m the kind of girl that likes things to stay just as they are….forever.

I’ve managed to ignore this fear of change for quite some time. In fact I’ve even given it my own PR spin. So you see, it’s not that I’m afraid of change, no, no, I’m just very, very loyal. Yes loyal, not afraid of change…just loyal. I am loyal to a fault. A big fault. The kind of fault that ends up being yours for not changing…..for example, I will stay with a boy I met at school for 9years (yes 9 years!) even though I knew he was a lying cheating idiot with a soft spot for younger girls (loyal = a walking doormat), I will stay at a job for 8years (again yes 8years!) because even though I loved it, looking back there were times I knew I should have moved on and explored new things (loyal = not really believing in myself), I’ll stay in the same ‘renting with randoms’ situation for years even though I feel my insides curl up and die each time I see that wee in the toilet that someone refuses to flush away (loyal = serious sanitation issues).

I cling so desperately to this masked idea of loyalty that I often miss out on really living life, on throwing myself out there, being brave and having a few “oh fuck it!” moments. It’s just wasn’t me. I mean why would you want to? Why take the risk, why rock the boat, bad things happen when you rock the boat, someone could fall in, get swept away or eaten by a shark. Hey, it happens! So my advice, just stay in the boat, be very, very still and don’t move. Ever. Ok.

But after years of doing everything I could to keep things steady, I realised my life was at a bit of a standstill. That actually I wasn’t very happy. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t miserable, it’s not like I was lying on the floor at 2am drinking vodka singing George Michael songs (that’s just a typical Friday night, no? And who doesn’t love George!) – What I mean is, that after a while I realised my life hadn’t just slowed down, it had come to a stop.

At 32 I was waiting. Waiting for my life to start. For something brilliant to happen, anything really; maybe a nice house, a little dog called George (yes I know, I love George but again who doesn’t!) a lovely man (he doesn’t have to be called George…), some babies (preferably mine), or maybe just winning the lottery and becoming an international jet setting bumpkin – you know, the usual really. Something… anything, that would give me that big shove and get my life going again.

And then C-Monkey arrived. You could say he quite literally snuck up behind me and shoved me so fucking hard I still have the bruises. I mean talk about be careful what you wish for, because that ‘anything’ might just come up and bite you on the ass….or in my case, Leftie.

Once he’d arrived C-Monkey did everything he could to remind me that my life as I knew it, was going to change…forever. There was no getting away from it, no matter how much I tried and there was nothing I could do to stop it. It was like I literally woke up one morning with the word ‘Change’ written in very big capital letters on my forehead, underneath it also read ‘you’re an idiot’ – he used that special invisible ink stuff, but I knew it was there.

It wasn’t a quiet gradual change either, oh hell no, that would have been too easy. No C-Monkey didn’t do quietly; in fact he had his very own marching band, complete with cancer theme song, which was sung loudly, day and night, night and day, over and over, and over! C-Monkey’s ‘Campaign of Change’ marched all over every aspect of my life. Nothing was safe. First he conquered my body (and not in a good way), then he moved on to my family, my friends, my job, my flat-share, relationships … everything.

The biggest battle however was the one that took place in my head. At first I ran away and hid behind the “I’m fine” banner but it was made of paper and he promptly ripped through it. Then came the “Why is this happening to me” / “Fuck off” / “I need more wine” banners which didn’t do much to slow him down either. Finally, exhausted I gave in.

C-Monkey had won. Cancer had changed everything.  There was no loyalty coating for this situation, it was going to change my whole life and that was that.

So my once steady boat, securely tided up in the harbour is now crashing through open water, no sign of land, just miles and miles of ever changing seas. C-Monkey loves it. He’s like a wild pirate laughing like a lunatic with every wave that crashes over us.

At first I freaked out. Who wouldn’t?! I mean – a) I hate boats, b) I am convinced I will at some point be eaten by a shark (long story involving me and a fish pond as a little girl but let me assure you it’s a very real possibility) c) I do not like or never will like open water…or waves or being in a boat, I know I said that already but I mean it.

But here’s the weird thing. Once I crawled out from my hiding place, I started to get a little braver. My sea legs kicked in and now, well, I quite like it. Yeah I do. And no I’m not high on drugs, I mean yes there are still drugs but not so much that I’m dreaming about carnival boobs again. And obviously the cancer thing still sucks giant, wobbly, whale ass and loosing Lefty sucked even more, but now that I’m here and finally realising that I have absolutely no control, I’m kind of enjoying it. I’ve let go. I’m embracing the change.

I’ve taken the PR sheen off of the loyalty cloak and finally seen it for what it is, the “I’m a mug” anorak. No one looks good in an anorak, not even on a boat. So now that it’s off I’ve started to see things clearly. I’m realising that maybe some those things that Cancer changed, actually needed to be changed.

So decisions have been made. First up the flat situation, living with other people during all this (the diagnosis, the operation, the emotional fall out) hasn’t always been easy, mostly because I was just all over the place. So I’ve rented a flat, by myself. Now the only wee I have to see the in toilet is my own, it’s a revelation. Peace and quiet, my own space, more kitchen cupboards than I could have dreamt of, a whole fridge to myself and privacy! Oh the privacy, it’s amazing. Finally I can cry whenever I want, I can sing loudly, shout, dance about naked – have my own mini naked disco for one, it’s brilliant. It’s all mine and I love it!

And that’s not all; I’m starting my new job in a few weeks, and can’t wait. It’s another big change that may have felt daunting before but now I’m just excited. Its fresh start, with new people, new challenges and maybe even a new pencil case or handbag. Well a new handbag is a must for any new job, and shoes, yes shoes are also very, very important. You can’t start a new job without new shoes, they will mock you, there will be pointing, and staring, no one will take you for lunch or talk to you, you’ll be the new girl with bad shoes!!! NO. This will never happen. I may have one wonky boob but I will never have bad shoes.

I know it won’t all be plane sailing and that C-monkey has more changes to come but hopefully I’ll be able to face them head on. Something I’m already doing. Recently I found out that the operation for the proper new and improved go-go gadget Lefty (with possible glow in the dark attachments and buoyancy aid) has been put back …..again.

Apparently more pumping action is required then it needs to ‘rest’ and ‘settle’ which makes me feel like I’m baking some sort of boob cake?! Normally I would have become a weeping mess at the news, but I’m not going to let this recent change rock my boat, it’s actually ok, it’s a good thing. It means I can start my new job for a bit, then have something to look forward to getting stuck back in to when it’s all done – the job I mean, not the boob cake, that’s just weird. And I have my new place to come back to after the next operation, a real home, somewhere that’s all mine.

It’s funny how change can affect you. Someone recently told me I was a water goat, at first I thought I was being insulted and was about to tell him he looked like a sweaty toad, but apparently it’s my Chinese sign or something. It means I’m better out in open water, riding the big waves, taking on the changes and sailing through. It turns out I’m terrible in shallow safe water and will forever fret about the small stuff. Who knew!

So here we are, a C-Monkey and Water Goat, out at sea…. in a beautiful boob shaped boat. Where we’ll end up is anyone’s guess but we seem to be doing ok.

And the gold medal goes to…Wonky!

2 Aug

Lonely.

Worried.

Broken.

Sad.

Weak.

Scared.

Guilty.

I’m pretty sure these aren’t the motivational words rattling around our Olympians heads right now, thank goodness, we’d be a pretty miserable sight if they were. These are the words written on my notepad. I stare at them, tears rolling down my cheek. Then I drawn a box around the top word, making it bolder and bolder until the word itself is almost hidden by the thick lines of blue ink.

I shouldn’t feel any of these things, but I do. I am surrounded by family and friends who love me dearly and yet they are helpless. They are left to watch from the sidelines while I battle these horrid feelings, alone.

I don’t want to but there isn’t a choice. This is happening to me. Not them. It’s a selfish, all consuming thing that swallows me up and pulls me away. It doesn’t matter how many physical people there are around me, there’s no shaking the loneliness that C-Monkey has brought with him. He wraps it around me like a blanket I can’t shake off. (I’m not even a blanket person, I’ve always found them a bit…musty. They always remind me of old people and wet dogs…)

I know it would only take a word, a mere glance in their direction and they’d all be here, in a shot, running in fact, to stick the kettle on, give me a hug and chat for hours on end. I know how lucky I am to have them and that they’re all there, just waiting for the word, the sign that it’s ok to approach….

But there are days when I just can’t do it.

It’s such an alien feeling not wanting to talk. I like to talk. A lot actually. All the time in fact. I once flew to Australia by myself which involved two pretty epic flights alone, not talking. To anyone. For hours and hours and hours. It was torture. By the time I landed in Singapore I was fit to burst. The poor lady in the duty free shop got it all in one go, she only asked how I was. By the time I’d taken a breath she’d pretty much heard my life story, including why I was going to Australia (to mend a broken heart), who I was visiting (my oldest best friend Faye, born two days before me, our mums are best friends, my middle name is Faye by the way…) and the story line from the five, yes five, films I’d watched on the plane.

I’m like an old lady at a bus stop, just waiting for some unsuspecting youth to walk past so I can regale them with tales from my youth, even though there’s probably only 10 years between us….

If talking were an Olympic sport I’m pretty sure I’d be world class. Move over Wiggins, here I come, making my bid for Gold in the freestyle talking nonsense relay – complete with signature hand gestures, accents and facial expressions. The Italians, who, lets face it, would be the only real competition, wouldn’t even come close!

Even up on the podium I’d be chatting away “Oh isn’t this lovely, I really don’t know what to say. I’m speechless. Completely speechless. Wow…..This medal is actually quite heavy, I mean seriously. Feel it, go on, it’s really heavy isn’t it. Is yours heavy, can I try it on?  The silver one is nice, it really suits you. I mean obviously I love the Gold, but Silver is still such an achievement too, you should be really proud. Where are you from again? Oh, I’ve never been, I’d love to though. It’s meant to be beautiful. I think my sister may have been once or maybe it was my friend…yes it was definitely my friend because my sister doesn’t like flying, she’s ok on boats though. I hate boats, I always think about what’s underneath all that water. All those big fish, sharks mostly, just waiting….you know, to eat you up, chomp chomp chomp! (small chomping hand gesture) I think I’m still scarred from Jaws. I love that film, it’s probably one of my all time favourites, Spielberg is a genius. I did also fall in to a fish pond when I was little, so that might explain why fish kind of freak me out. I like to eat them though. Have you ever had  fish & chips, you’ll love it. Make sure you get loads of salt & vinegar on top, but not so much that the batter goes soggy, that’s a bit gross. I like your flag…. oh here come the anthems. Yours is really good, very lively. Can I sing along?”

You see, I love to talk, just chatting away happily, it’s nice. You’re never really lonely if you’re able to have a good natter with people. Ask questions, be friendly. But now. Well for the first time ever I really don’t want to talk. At all. I don’t know how to get the words out properly. I mean how the hell can I, it’s all so much. My head is literally rammed full with every thought, emotion and feeling possible. I’m exhausted by it all. It weighs me down but I can’t seem to let it out. I just want to be quiet.

Also if you start to talk, well then you have to deal with the consequences. Other people’s emotions, reactions, thoughts, suggestions, advice. Nope, can’t do it. Don’t want to make them sad or hear how it’s all going to be ok. I know it will. I really do. It is already so much better than it was before and I should think of the positives, I’m so lucky, it could have been so much worse….and then here it comes…..GUILT! Big wet guilt ball, right in the face. Nice.

The weekly pumps are still continuing. I thought I was on track, inflating nicely and filling out in all the right places. Less wonky water balloon, more small, if slightly odd looking, grapefruit. But it turns out I might have jumped the gun. Apparently I’m not pumped enough. It might only be a small delay, a few weeks, a month at best. So nothing to stress about.

Nothing to stress about at all. But I can feel my stack of cards shaking.  I can see the knock on effects of the delay. The set back to my plan to get back to me as quickly as possible. It’s rippling through everything I’m desperately trying to keep steady, to hold on to. My life, work, money all that “stuff” that shouldn’t matter but it does. The smallest shift and it feels like everything could come tumbling down.

OK, OK, that’s enough now. Step away from the panic button. Breath in and out. No more caffeine for me. I will not panic or loose control over this, it’s a minor set back. In the grand scheme of things all it doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. I am very, very lucky. I just need to remember that. (Dodges another guilt ball attack)

C-Monkey needs to let it go too. He’s like a dog with an old chewed up ball, he won’t spit the damm thing out, maybe he’ll choke on it. Here’s hoping.

I guess he’s a bit like me, he won’t spit it out when he needs to, just keeps chewing it over and over into a thousand little pieces, all over the carpet. Well I’m not cleaning up his mess, I only hoovered yesterday.

Ok so maybe I’m not ready to spit it all out just yet either, or give that gold medal in talking a go, but there’s nothing to say I can’t cheat a bit and write it down instead. After all, talking to myself is still talking, right?

And who knows, maybe I’ll win a gold medal in something else, like eating cheese….now that would be good!

The final countdown…

28 Jun

On Monday morning I got a call to say my Op had been postponed until Friday. At first I was a bit bummed out. I’d kind of been psyching myself up for D-day, or should that be C-Day?! But after a moments reflection and a little glance down at Lefty a big smile spread across my face. Me & Lefty were living on borrowed time. This was good news.

It’s like when the Governor runs in to save the guy on death row about to get the lethal injection – “Noooooo George, wait! Lefty ain’t going down today….no sir”

Anyway, so there we were, me & Lefty. On borrowed time. Exciting. Maybe we could flee the country and just carry on for ever, Lefty and I, adventures all over the world…..but no, that’s not really very practical and I’m pretty sure wherever we went that dam C-Monkey would show his face. Suncream and sombrero in hand, waving merrily at us…..he really is such an annoying little C…..

So, three days. That’s all we had. Just three more days of my body, just the way it is. That was quite a sobering thought.  So we set about making a plan, a master plan to fill those three days with fun, laughter, a tiny bit of sadness (ok, ok maybe a lot of sadness, because stupid C-Monkey seems to insist on in at every turn!), some nice girly stuff and then, then we’d have ourselves a big old send off for Lefty with the official – Bye, Bye Boobie party!

But more on that later.

So in a nutshell here’s what we did:

1. Dinner / drinks / coffee and chats with numerous amazing, gorgeous and loving friends, colleagues and family – who continue to prop me up and make sure I’m not in a crumpled heap on the floor crying over my favourite bra. They love Lefty just as much as me and their words, hugs, tears, chats, giggles and love are keeping me strong.

2. Some pampering – Obviously this was essential, who’s to say this whole C thing isn’t some kind of really elaborate (if slightly mean) plan for me to meet Mr ZomesertBoy! Of course he doesn’t has to be from Zomerset and I’d rather he was a man than a boy but that’s by the by. Maybe he’ll be a dashing doctor, or nurse (Cute), or maybe he’ll be the person who tattoos my new nipple on – oooh errr. Anyway my hair is now as glossy and shiny as a little pony and my nails look pretty so I’m good to go.

3. Admin, or rather Cancer admin. No one ever warns you about this but there is a whole lot of admin that comes with Cancer. Seriously it’s like a second job, my to-do list is massive. It goes something like this – Number 1. Say thank you to everyone for all their lovely messages. Of course this is absolutely crucial, but it’s sort of like the ‘thank you’ cards you always means to send out after your birthday or Christmas or something. But I’m doing them, if you haven’t got yours yet it’s coming, it’s coming I promise – and thank you!! Number 2. Return the phone calls / text messages – There is a constant stream of calls with nurses or the health care people about general C-Monkey stuff. Of course again I know this is critical stuff and needs to be done. it’s just I’ve only got three days with Lefty, we want to be out running across London Sans Bra, bouncing freely in the wind, showing the world how glorious he is – not stuck on the phone….

4. Panicking. Ok so time to admit I’m bloody terrified. Three days to appreciate Lefty also means three more days to slightly loose my mind over what it’s going to be like, you know, when they take him. The lack of sleep is still also a bit of a pain. Pretty sure I have lost a few of my marbles now, C-Monkey has them, he likes to play with them. I’m hoping he chokes on one. So I try to take my mind off the lack of sleep with other stuff, like this rambling nonsense and planning the Bye Bye Boobie Party.

In hindsight I probably could have done more with Lefty, maybe taken it to see some sights, shown him off in some seriously sexy bras or tried my first ever nipple tassel, maybe I could have slept with as many men as possible to show it off one more time (note to self, this isn’t really possible when you’re a crying, mascara stained mess, blabbing on about ‘old Lefty’ – not really a turn on, no, not so much), maybe I could have had my breasts cast in bronze, oh now that would have been awesome! But no, we just did normal stuff and now the day is nearly here.

But the Bye Bye Boobie Party is happening tonight and that’s something to be excited by. The night before the op was always going to be horrible, fucking horrible actually, but now I get to spend it with my lovely friends and family laughing, eating, drinking (yes I can, I checked, I can go crazy until midnight, then I turn into a cancer pumpkin – boo!), talking about boobs and generally trying to keep me “perky” until morning. Sorry couldn’t resist that one.

Then after the party, that’s it. Time will have officially run out and Lefty will be gone. At 6.30am on Friday 29th June I go in to hospital for three days and everything after that will always be different.

Terrified doesn’t come close.

Shit bags.

Dropping the C Bomb – the day my life changed

21 Jun

In the space of just one week my whole life has changed. Sadly my Zomerset Adventures have taken a much tougher course, one I really wasn’t expecting. Writing it all down has really helped to start to get my head around it, if that’s even possible.

It all happened one very normal day, just over a week ago, when someone dropped the C bomb.

Cancer.

Ok so lets rewind to that day and take this epic tale (you may need a cup of tea and some snacks as it’s a long one!) from the beginning. I’d gone to see my doctor about….ok so also a little warning here that things may get a little graphic so if you’re gonna freak out or be squeamish – stop reading and go pin something fluffy to a board or something!

Still with me? Ok so, I was at my doctors to show her a very little dry patch, which had appeared on my boob, the nipple to be precise. It had been there, not really doing anything, for a few months so it was time to get it sorted. I assumed it was eczema or maybe a reaction to something, but my doc didn’t like the look of it so referred me up to Parkside. That was it, no other weird symptoms, no big lumps. No pain. No big weird green fungus with a little sign that read “Danger – keep back – Grrrrrr”. It was just a small dry patch, mad really.

Anyway two days later I was sat with Professor M, my specialist, at Parkside. He’d just spent quite a bit of time prodding and poking my boob and didn’t have a happy look on his face. He had “concerns” and suspected it might be something more nasty than just a dry patch, so wanted me to go in to hospital the next day for some more tests.

I tried to remain calm but walked out of there shaking like a leaf. This was potentially really serious shit. So I did what all mature 32year grown ups do, I called my mum and burst into tears. Now a word on mum, she is by far the best mum in the world. Sorry but it’s a fact. A point proven by her reaction to my news – at 10am she left work, by 10.28am she was on a train to London with nothing but some knickers and her makeup bag!  By 2pm we were sat in my garden drinking wine – again, proof that she is the best mum in the world. If we’re gonna face a crisis lets at least do it with a nice glass of wine in our hands!!

So 9am rolled around and I was at the Princess Grace hospital in Baker Street, with absolutely no idea what to expect. In a nutshell it was a pretty horrific day.

Now being a spritely 30-something I’ve never had a mammogram before so when they clamped my poor boobs into this giant machine and proceeded to squeeze them into flat little pancakes using what can only be described as a winch like torture device, I was pretty shaken up. The fact that they had to do this two more times,  two different ways, didn’t help either. Seriously, girls, you have know idea how fucking painful that machine is – just try really, really squishing your boobs flat between your hands, you can’t do it!! Because they are large squishy boobs, they aren’t meant to be flattened down into pancakes, it’s painful and just wrong?!!

After the pancake boob machine I then moved on to the ultrasound room. This essentially involved my boob being covered in jelly and explored back and forth  with some kind of joystick thing (calm down boys!). The TV screen didn’t give anything away, not that I knew what might look weird, I guess I was expecting some kind of “ta da” moment. Perhaps a big C shaped dot smiling back at us.

But as far as I could tell it was just a very fuzzy picture with loads of black and white, well fuzzy stuff. Luckily the radiologist understood the fuzzy pictures and seemed to know what he was doing. Either that or he was just having a great time playing with the joystick and my jellied boob?!

After all that…. (oh yes it goes on – please feel free to get refreshments, have a loo break, as I said it’s a pretty epic tale!)…I was told that they’d seen some calcium spots on the mammogram and that the ultrasound just “didn’t look right” – so they wanted to do the biopsy. I don’t mind admitting, I’d gone from mildly frightened to bloody terrified in just a few short hours. But I was determined to hold it together, be a tough cookie and just get through it. DO NOT CRY, was pretty much my mantra all day, that and “oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuckety fuck fuck!”

For the biopsy I had to go back into the boob pancake torture machine. You can imagine my joy at that news.  This time it wouldn’t be over in 5 minuets, instead I’d be stuck, literally stuck in by my squashed boob, for 30 agonising minuets. If that weren’t enough pain to contend with, they’d then stick a bloody great needle into my boob to extract some samples. I’ll spare you any more details suffice as to say it was one of the most painful, whole body shaking with fear, things I’ve ever had to endure. But endure it I did. I remember laughing most of the way through like some kind of crazy, pain hungry lunatic who actually enjoys having their bits squeezed and stabbed?! Um no, not really, definitely not. I think I just went a bit mad with the shock of it all. Laughing hysterically and talking jibberish a million miles an hour while someone stabs your boob with a big needle maybe isn’t the normal reaction, but that’s what happened.

The weird thing is they describe in graphic detail everything they’re about to do, so you get this running commentary of escalating horror described to you. “First we’ll put your breast into the vice machine to achieve flat pancake status, then we’ll leave it in there for about oooohhh 5 minutes or so,  just to check it’s as flat as possible and really, really painful. Then we’ll move on to stage two which will involve needles, bloody big needles which we’ll stick in to your boob, wiggle about a bit, while the pancake machine make loads of scary noises, then we’ll drag it back out. But it doesn’t stop there, oh no, just you wait! Just when you think we’re done, we’ll do it all over again!! …….Oh and then we’ll stamp on your big toe, poke you in the eye, give you a Chinese burn and  carve your nose off with a blunt spoon….what fun…..!!!!

By this point I was a shaking mess. Serious head to toe shakes like some kind of pneumatic drilling machine. I couldn’t stop, even my teeth were chattering. I think my body was freaking out – which was fair enough. Back in the waiting room I was given some hot chocolate, which I promptly spilt everywhere such was the shaking frenzy, and some more biscuits to stop me from passing out. It was at this point I realised that we must be in a pretty good hospital – as next to us was a very famous TV personality – I shant give away her identity and tell the world she was in a boob hospital waiting for her annual mammogram – but I will say she is very famous, very lovely and used to have a very well known Big Brother, hint hint……..

So there we go. The tests were done and so we just had to wait. And wait we did, until the afternoon of Tuesday 19th June – a day I will remember forever. If you haven’t guessed the ending by now, this was the day they confirmed I have breast cancer.

Yeap. Breast cancer. Me. Wow. Weirdly I was pretty calm when they explained everything, I guess I sort of knew from the tests that it was coming but still nothing really prepares you for that moment, that moment when someone says “You have cancer”. FUCK. It’s a total and utter head fuck. Pure and simple.

The hilarious thing is that the cancer I have is quite rare and a lot of people wrongly assume only old people get it, which makes you feel about one hundred and five when they tell you this. Oh by the way you have cancer, you have cancer for old people….yeap, you are just old, with cancer….nice.

It’s officially called Pagets disease and yes a lot of old women get it. But so do younger women and it’s regularly missed by GP’s who wrongly assume it can’t be anything more serious than eczema – so girls, please don’t ever ignore your boobs, if anything and I mean ANYTHING changes get to that doctor and insist on a second opinion – it’s so important.

An hour after they’d broken the news I was down in the MRI room waiting to be scanned to see if the cancer had spread to the other breast or anywhere else. For those of you who’ve never had an MRI before it’s basically like getting inside a giant polo mint, being in a seriously uncomfortable position for about 30 minuets whilst a whole orchestra of seriously loud noises, beeps, vibrations and bangs kick off all around you. And you can’t move. At all.

Now I’ve had an MRI before so thought I knew what to expect. But because they were scanning my breasts I got introduced to what I quickly renamed as “the milking machine”. It looked like an MRI in every possible way, giant polo tube – check, big loud noises – check. But there, on the metal plate were two quite big holes. Yeap you guessed it, I was to lie on my front and stick my boobs into those holes, just letting them dangle down, like some oversized dairy cow – for 30 minutes.  Just after being told I had cancer.I found myself in the milking machine trying with every fiber of my being not to completely and utterly freak out.

I got through it by counting. Counting, a lot actually. Large bouncy, animated numbers jumped about in my head whilst the small yapping toy dog (you know the ones you see in hamleys)  “bark, bark, bark” moved around my body. Nope I hadn’t lost it completely, as part of the mind distraction I started to try and identify the noises, so we had the toy dog and his yapping, the big bass drum – which made me think I was in a rave, the vibrations – which I tried to imagine were relaxing in some way (absolutely not btw!) and the loud continuous humming which sounded like a flock of bees attacking a tambourine?!

Before I’d completely lost my marbles it was done. And I was allowed out. Out of the polo milking tube, out of the hospital and finally allowed to let out all of my emotions. And out they came. I cried my eyes out. Sobbed. For hours.

I had cancer. Proper bloody cancer. And tomorrow I’d find out if it had spread anywhere else. Jesus. How the hell do you get over the shock of that?? The truth is, you don’t. I don’t think I ever will.

Thankfully we got the results back and I’m pleased, sorry that should be – fucking over joyed, to say it hasn’t spread and it’s not invasive, which is amazing, amazing news. This time I cried with relief!

So all they have to do now is get rid of it. And that’s the next battle. The operation. The operation to take my cancer out – along with most of my breast. How the hell do you prepare for that?

Pour me a large glass of wine and we’ll take it from there…..

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