Karmasutra: When life fucks you in all kinds of creative ways.

I’ve realized something curious lately.  I find it relatively painless to say I have a brain tumour but virtually impossible to say I have cancer.  Why is that?

Cancer is such an unpleasant word.

I’m not saying ‘brain tumour’ sounds poetic or alluring. But telling someone you have a brain tumour is a little like declaring you have crabs or chlamydia.

The shock value is mildly entertaining due to the gulps and gasps and the lack of clichés available. 

Whereas with the word cancer there are many vexing metaphors.

 For example:

‘Oh poor you, you have a long bumpy journey ahead of you!’

Or

‘Oh poor you, you need to be a warrior and fight this battle!’

These violence and journey clichés are questionable to me.   

After all, this isn’t Game of Thrones. 

What if you knew your cancer was terminal yet everyone’s telling you  ‘Be a warrior, be a fighter’…   Surely when you’re teetering on the edge of your own existence you’d feel you’ve failed because you know for sure you’re losing the mother-fucking stupid goddamn battle.

On the upside of brain tumours… Most people know fuck all about them so you don’t get so many clichés.

It’s especially advantageous to spell out exactly what tumour you have as many have long Latin sounding names and this adds to the theatrics of the moment.  

Technically mine’s not called Bambi, her real name is Anaplastic Astrocytoma, and she’s a rare one, it’s guesswork even for the experts.  

But one thing I know for sure…   Shoving 2 sticks of unsalted butter and a pickled onion up my ass will not cure me.

Obviously this is just my personal view and I’m sure there are some out there who find my taxonomy objectionable. 

But that’s ok because ‘Ego irrumabo non facio.’ 

(That’s pidgin Latin for ‘I don’t give a fuck’.)

In other news I’m counting the days until I get a month’s reprieve between radio and chemo.  

I’m going to board a jet plane and head home to Blighty for 3 weeks. Against some of my doctors’ recommendations but again… ‘Ego irrumabo non facio’ as my body requires M&S food, country walks, country pubs, London and the Sunday papers. 

Oh and there’s quite a few faces Catwoman is desperate to lick. 

MY HUSBAND CALLS ME CRAZY… BUT HE WAS THE ONE WHO MARRIED ME!

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You know that thing inside you that stops you from saying stuff you probably shouldn’t? Yeah well mine’s fucked.

Yesterday someone said to me ‘One day we’re all going to die’. 

I nodded and agreed but in my head I was saying ‘Of course we are… Shut the fuck up you tedious twat’.

Obvs we’re all going to die ‘ONE DAY’,  but for every day we’re not dying,  we’re LIVING!  Duh.

So I’ve reached week 3 of Proton Beam Therapy.  I haven’t mentioned it much as felt it needed a full review before I passed comment.

(Like one of those people with the felicitous job of reviewing luxury spas and hotels.)

Anyway, I think now is a good time to post said review.  

And it’s 5 stars from me. 

The team is gorgeous, funny, warm, gracious, kind… Every positive adjective available to compliment people whom ‘point a laser beam from a 60ft machine, weighing 220 tonnes, creating light beams traveling at 2/3rds the speed of light through a 143ft cable’ at MY BRAIN.

Although we had a hiccup the other day when Bertha (the machine) decided to crash mid-session.  

I was screwed to the table in my head-hugging Catwoman mask listening to Blondie singing Atomic when Bertha suddenly shut down.  

I waited a minute. Then thought ‘Shit, they’ve all gone to lunch and forgotten me!’ 

Panic set in and suddenly I was The Man in the Iron Mask, only I was also fastened by the head to a goddamn fucking bench.  

The tears streamed and the screams rose but I couldn’t open my mouth…  So I raised a panic-stricken arm and waved frantically like a 5 year old chasing down the ice cream van. 

Thank fuck they saw me on the monitor and rushed to my rescue. 

No one had gone to lunch… Nincompoop!

Bertha needed her butt kicking though, so a hammer holding Oompa Loompa went subterranean and give her a good banging.  She perked up after that and we were cooking with protons again.

I also get a weekly tête-à-tête with my brilliant radio oncologist.  An adorable man who definitely got an A* in every single physics test he ever took. 

I make a list of critical questions beforehand so I don’t forget anything. This week’s list:

1. Can I get a prescription for medical marijuana?

2. How much hair will I lose.. like 100 millions strands or 100 thousand or just a few?

3. Can I get a prescription for medical marijuana?

I know I’m immensely lucky to receive the latest technology in radiation therapy. The insurance company denied it 3 times and on each occasion my docs fought back for me. 

Not sure what arguments they used… But if they hadn’t passed their doctor exams they’d have made fabulous defense lawyers.

Finally today I’m sharing a note I received from a dear friend.  Someone who wears so many hats for me, dad, brother, stand-in-husband, dance partner, barfly buddy…  I adore this man and the love I feel all around is what’s getting me through this fucked up 5 minutes in time. 

Dear Sarah

Most of the time I don’t know what to say, so I continue the bizarre nature of my world. 

While my heart is breaking as two of the most wonderful people I have ever met are going through a similar journey. 

You fill my thoughts and I spend each night sending the highest energy to you. 

The power of the universe can and will win. When you are through this we will start an Ashram somewhere? India? Arizona? Mexico? We have the power together. 

The energy around you is amazing and growing. We are all using the blog to help channel it. 

Post more, loads of F words…  it makes it so very funny.

If love had a value, you my dear girl are richer than Hatshepsut.

All my love ‘Dad’ xxxx

dad, brother, stand-in-husband, dance partner, barfly buddy…  

I speak 4 languages: English, Profanity, Sarcasm and Shit.

I’m in a gang.  I’ve never been in a gang before. Well actually that’s not entirely true.  

When I was 9 my friends and I bullied a kid who was being mean to us…  We flicked horse shit on sticks at him until he retreated…  I feel bad about that now… Kind of.

There’s four of us in this gang and we all have something in common. We’re badass brain tumour survivors.

Names have been changed to protect the identities of these goddesses. So hence forth we are referred to as:  Aphrodite, Venus, Inanna and Aurora.

If you don’t know the meaning of these names you were obvs snogging/smoking in the bike sheds during mythology lessons at school. (I was anyway).

Our gang’s named The Love Honeys… Appropriate as we’re fucking cancer and Lovehoney is an online sex shop.

To know there are other people out there who feel exactly the same way as you is mind glowingly reassuring.

They help you realise that you haven’t actually lost the goddamn plot…  Your brain’s just been temporarily fucked because a mother-fucking-platinum-plated cunt has invaded your private headspace.

And in other news…

The Cheshire Kitty Cat has been here taking care of me. And what a fabulous little ball of energy she is.

She cooks, she cleans, she takes the dog on 5-mile runs along the beach… And all before I’ve even got out of bed.

She chauffeurs me around…  Even though this is her first time ever driving on the wrong side.

She’s befriended the neighbours by popping in with bottles of English gin and then staying for a few hours to help them polish it off.

She’s chummy with my radiology team to the point where they’ve offered to give her a tour of the 60 ft monster living 4 floors below ground at the proton centre.

She even mixes me cocktails before supper every evening. Last night was a questionable combo of laxative and sparkling wine. The results were rip-roaringly spine chilling.

Kitty keeps telling me that ‘Friends are like fish, they smell after three days.’ She’s been here a week…  I keep whiffing her fanny but it smells fine to me.

Sadly she must leave me tonight and like all my other beautiful besties who’ve been taking care of me I will miss her terribly.

Sad to say that my ‘house of ill repute’ might have to close its doors for a few weeks now due to the dreaded potential side effects of radio.

But as long as it doesn’t make me grow another head… Or a penis… I will fight it like a girl!

what’s he looking at…

I really hope my life doesn’t flash before my eyes when I die. There’s some fucked up shit I really wouldn’t want to see again.

A brief conversation I had the other day:  Brain Tumour Person I recently met: ‘Do you ever feel like you’re living on borrowed time?’ Me:Aren’t we all living on borrowed time whether we have a brain tumour or not?’

I’ve become a brain tumour crackerjack overnight. Go on ask me a question, any question?

I’ve already completed my Mastermind application and feeling quietly confident. Although hesitant about the general knowledge round. It’s very sexist, always too many sport questions.

The other subject I’ve been considering lately is death.

I know it sounds melancholy, but it’s a fact of life.

Some people live their life the same way every day. They get up, they put up with a load of shit, they go back to bed.

That’s not me… I live in the moment and I’m not putting up with anyone’s shit… Not anymore anyway.

Never a forward planner… I’ve been winging it most of my life…  Career, parenting, marriage, eye shadow application, virtually everything. 

Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.  Just ask any of my husbands.

I live like this because I don’t see the point in planning too far ahead…  Anything could happen tomorrow.  And I think I’ve verified that point recently.

Everyone considers death at some point and I bet anyone reading this has asked themselves at least one of these three questions:

Who would play me in the movie of my life?

Which one out of all my friends is going to pop off first?

How will I die?

Do I look fat in this?

Sorry, the last one was a back-up just in case no-one has actually contemplated any of the first three.

When I was diagnosed and told what the worst possible outcome might be, I started to view death with a sceptical scrutiny.

Obviously I’d miss my loved ones terribly.  But that aside, when you die you die and if there’s diddly squat on the other side you’re not going to know about it…  And if there is… Well I hope it’s going to be a fun fluffy floaty around kind of place.

And I’m not sure if I do believe in reincarnation… I certainly didn’t when I was a hamster.  But then I look into Reggie’s eyes I swear I see Burt Reynolds in there.

My friend Bella (The Cheshire Cat) has just informed me that she doesn’t believe in life after death.  So I told her if there is, I will send her a Chanel handbag in the post as a sign.

One thing I do know for sure… When people have died I haven’t remembered them for the car they drove, the handbag they carried, the facelift they had…  I remember them for how they made ME feel during their time here.

However, that absolutely doesn’t mean I’m offering to give up my handbag collection.

And here’s a little tip I recently picked up… If you don’t want to die alone…

Don’t be a cunt.

some fucked up shit

‘Vaffanculo Bambi!’ My Italian friend taught me this word in 1977.

So the Gods spoke to me!  Well actually they didn’t..  It was a call from the insurance company.

I got the green light to start radiotherapy and I’m scared.  But Up and Atom!  Ahaha. 

So I made a snap decision as to which fuckety fuck fork path to take.

I then hopped a 5-bar-gate and skipped straight through the field that ran down the middle of both paths. 

I might be trespassing but this field seems like the most direct route out of here.

Radiotherapy combined with less aggressive alternatives, ketogenic diet and a handful of supplements for now.

And we’ll cross the chemo bridge of mass destruction in a few weeks time.

I’ve had to weigh up the pros and cons of course.

Radio Pros.. Should kill off Bambi’s baggage and cause appetite loss (goodbye middle age spread). 

Keto Pros..  Goodbye middle age spread.  

Radio Cons.. Possible permanent hair loss.  But one less thing to fuck with in the mornings.

Keto Cons..  Lots of faffing around.

The BIGGEST pro right now though.. I’ve been approved for Proton Beam Therapy. 

Some of you might think  ‘What the fuck’s that?’   That’s what I’d have thought a few weeks ago.

If I’m describing it in car terms (and this is my theory based on extensive googling) Proton is like the Bugatti Super Sport, whereas the other option, Photon, is more like your every day tried and tested, generally reliable family sedan. 

Even though I’ll be wearing my Catwoman mask I feel anxious thinking about the laser beam penetrating my brain. 

I’m also not particularly keen to lose my hair to be honest.  But luckily it’s not turtleneck season so I won’t look like a giant tallywacker.

But what are my hairless head options?

Daenerys Targaryen wig, Hermes silk scarves, beanies, hoodies, paper bags – only ones from Sloane/Bond Street of course. 

Human hair wigs give me the creeps. It would feel like wearing someone else’s knickers.

And will I look more radiant as each radiation day passes? 

I doubt it.. I’m probably going to look like a burnt slice of toast.  That will get the buzzards circling.

Agh why are there no really good side effects to medical treatments or medicine bottles.. Why don’t any of them say WARNING: May cause extreme sexiness.

So the best I can do right now is surround myself with love and fuck cancer!

Luckily the Cheshire Kitty Cat is arriving first-class on a jet plane next week and she’ll be here to purr at me for the first week of radio. 

The Chesire Kitty Cat and Me – 2 years ago today

‘There is a place, like no place on Earth. A land full of wonder, mystery and danger! Some say, to survive it, you need to be as mad as a hatter. Which, luckily, I am.’ Alice in Wonderland.

I fell down a rabbit hole, banged my head pretty hard and found myself in a whole new world. 

But I’m not Alice and this definitely isn’t Wonderland. 

I’m me and the person I was 4 months ago is not who I am today.  Although do I still look for the humour in everything? Abso-fucking-lutely!

One of M’s lovely friend’s asked him  ‘How the fuck can your wife have brain cancer and still be funny?’ 

Well isn’t everything funny if you can laugh at it?

I’m surrounded by lotions and potions and murky green cocktails which all say ‘Drink me goddamit!’

My reality has changed forever and there will be no going back to yesterday or how I was before Bambi arrived on the scene. 

I’m still me but I’m a slightly different version of me.  I haven’t gone crazy, my perspective on things has just changed.  

And I’m sensitive, seriously, to everything:

Sound, light, alcohol (fucks sake), information, judgment, slap and tickle, negativity, CAFFEINE big time, sugar, blar blar blar.. 

And I’ve come to a fork in the road because even though I’ve been led to believe that 6 weeks of radiotherapy, followed by 12 months of chemotherapy are my best chance there is another option.. 

I could take the holistic route. I could stay away from sugar (because it feeds cancer), turn my back on cakes and bread (because wheat and grains have an inflammatory influence on the human body).  

I could take a billion supplements, oxygen therapy, consume every derivative of cannabis and eat those fried sea cucumbers.  I could also wrap my head in tin foil. 

Some people might think I’m bonkers because they see clearly which road I should be taking. 

But when you’re stuck in the woods you can’t always see a clear way out.  

I have to make that decision yesterday because it’s now or never. 

Am I going to be a scaredy kitty Catwoman, as lost as Alice or as mad as the Hatter!  

But as the Mad Hatter said himself  ‘The best people usually are.’

Ultimately recovery doesn’t just happen it takes a plan and a support system surrounded by love. I’m so blessed to have the latter, but now I just need to find my way out of the woods and formulate the former. 

And so the next chapter can begin.. Of which I’m more terrified than the last. But chin up, tits out and onwards. 

People: ‘Watch your language!’ Me: ‘Oh fuck, sorry.’

My kitchen transformed overnight into a Michelin star Indian restaurant thanks to my beautiful friend who arrived on a jet-plane with a suitcase loaded with spices and supplements. No wonder she got the ‘rubber glove’ treatment at Customs.

Feeling she hadn’t brought enough ingredients with her we made a trip to Wholefoods where the excitement of shopping for all these delicious ingredients but not having to navigate cooking them caused me to have a seizure at the checkout.

I think my friend thought I did it deliberately to get out of paying, but hey if you’ve got a cancer card you need to play it.

We then headed home, with her driving my car under my instruction as to which side of the road she should be on.

For a brief second we were both distracted, then I realised she was on the wrong side.

FUCK’ I screamed ‘You’re on the wrong FUCKING side’

She speedily manoeuvred over and managed to avoid hitting any small children or dogs.

We made it home in one piece where I promptly went on to have another seizure. One more and it would be a hat trick.

The next morning she put her pinny on and spent the day cooking up a storm and making a selection of the most delicious mouth-watering curries and saags.

If you looked in my freezer now you’d think we’re preparing for Armageddon.

The next evening we felt like going clubbing but instead settled for Barnes and Noble. At one point I lost my friend and started to cry. I even had the cashier call her name on the loud speaker! Confirmation of how fragile my little brain is right now.

My friend’s calmness has brought such a relaxed feeling to our home. After the yummiest curry that evening we settled down to watch Game of Thrones where after the first 10 mins I felt a seizure coming on.

Not wanting to ruin the moment I managed to keep it to myself without making the slightest fuss.. Not my usual style at all.

Mostly her serenity has transformed my barking mad labradoodle. He’s had a personality change and is now almost Crufts worthy (well apart from yesterday when he escaped and she had to chase him down the drive with a rotesserie chicken under her arm).

And even M is so relaxed he’s almost horizontal. But that might be something to do with the amount of curry he’s consumed.

She can’t possibly ever leave me now. I’m sure her diamond geezer back home won’t mind..

Reggie and his Bestie comparing eyelashes