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 don’t know what I’m doing but I’m doing it my way.

I made an important life changing decision today but I’ll get to that in a little while.

We had another appointment to meet the radiology team.  This time, the lovely people I’ll be seeing 5 days a week for 6 weeks.

First I had to pee in a minuscule cup. As always my aim was off, I got it on my hands, shoes, the loo, the floor and all over the cup.  The shocking thing though was the colour of it.. Fluorescent Orangina, without the fizz, swishing around. 

Clearly, I hadn’t consumed enough water since the contrast MRI yesterday where they pumped me full of fluid to see if Bambi was still lurking.

The reason they performed the pee test was to see if I was pregnant.. Even though I’d informed them I haven’t had a period in forever they still felt it prudent to check. 

We waited with baited breath and I mentioned to M that this could be the first menopausal immaculate conception baby ever, or better still..   Twins. 

It took an unusually long time for the results, which convinced me it WAS twins.

Naturally I started thinking names. If it’s girls.. Bunny and Hunny.. And boys.. Danger and Ranger.

Eventually results came back and surprise surprise no little menopause babies for us. We’ll just have to get more pets to fill the empty nest. Maybe I can play the cancer card to get the 3 donkeys I always wanted. Boli, Dom and Krug. 

So even though I still don’t know if I’m having Photon or Proton therapy the wheels have been set into spinning motion and the biggest deal is the radiotherapy mask which is essential when attempting to eradicate evil brain cells at the same time as trying to keep the good guys.

The procedure was explained..  it would feel like a spa treatment.  

I wasn’t falling for this and decided to pop a couple of Valium just to be on the safe side.  So by the time the process started I was feeling spa-like relaxed and they could’ve told me I was in the Mandarin Oriental Miami and I might’ve believed them. The moulding and sculpting took place and was followed by a swift CT scan.

Me getting moulded (or ‘molded’ if you’re American)

So the huge life changing decision we had to make came next.

What type of mask would I like?   

I was offered a bland selection but nothing appealed.  I asked the nice radio man if I could have a superhero mask and he looked at me in a blank kind of shocked way and said ‘Well we do this for children sometimes, but I’ve never been asked to do it for an adult before.’   ‘Yes, but is it possible?’  Was my response  ‘Okay, well I can show you a few kids ones I’ve done.’  He answered.  

He then revealed a selection of impressive photos – a pink unicorn, the Incredible Hulk and Wonder Woman.

It was a tough choice as I’d been secretly dreaming of Spider-Man. But then I thought, maybe I’d like something more feminine and enquired what his opinion was re. making me the face of a blow-up sex doll.  

M stamped his foot at this and said NO WAY’

Then we moved back to superheroes and I suggested a sultry looking Catwoman. We liaised over some provocative images of Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry then found a sexy Catwoman compromise and all agreed that would do the trick.. Minus the latex suit of course.

The blank canvas

So there you have it.  Biggest decision made today and I’m going to face this terra-fucking-frying treatment as goddamn Catwoman!  

MEOW!