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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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

‘You only go around once, but if you play your cards right, once is enough.’ Frank Sinatra

I was just thinking the other day that there has to be some benefit to having a goddamn mother-fucking brain tumour.

Then it suddenly dawned on me. If you play your cards right you get to join an elite circle.

And so I’m now a member of two exclusive clubs. And they each come with a gold card. One’s called the Cancer Card and the other’s called the Brain Tumour Card.

When you carry these cards you acquire many benefits. They can get you out of almost anything and come with no pre-set spending limit.. It’s just like having a black Amex.

Toting these cards can excuse you from virtually any social obligation you don’t fancy attending. Lunches, dinners, parties, weddings, walking the dog.

All you need to do is flash your card and you get an instant ‘out of jail’. It works for almost anything.

‘Oh I’m so sorry I forgot your birthday/anniversary/christmas card but I’ve got a goddamn fucking brain tumour and I can hardly even recollect my own name or walk in a straight line.’

It’s also great for getting what you want. So when M’s watching sport or some monotonous long-winded-shit history program on the television and I come into the room and say ‘Can we watch something else?’ His response is ’But I’m watching this!’  Then I retaliate with ‘But I’ve got brain cancer!’ Works like a dream every time.

Or when another package lands on the porch from The Outnet or Lulu Lemon I get ‘Don’t you have enough stuff?  Do you really need more?’ I can answer this with ‘Why would you say that? Are you suggesting I might die soon?’

So to anyone who’s eligible for these ‘members only’ cards, enjoy it’s easy access, instant approval and great benefits!

No credit history?
No job?
No photo ID?
No problem!

Don’t leave home without it!

Footnote: There are many ways to play your cards.. I have particularly fond memories of a game of strip poker in Bermuda circa 1994. My guru and me were shrewd enough to each put on 12 pairs of knickers before the game began.

‘A naked woman in heels is a beautiful thing. A naked man in shoes looks like a fool.’ Christian Louboutin

Lately my life’s become a set of fucked up life changing events separated by intermittent snacks and naps. 

Hence a little snack I had yesterday ended up going a bit Pete Tong.

After devouring a bountiful amount of fine Swiss chocolate I retired upstairs for a nap.  

It’s true that I’ve always been a person who wants to do a lot of stuff most of the time..  

But lately I find myself trapped in the body of a person who wants to do mostly fuck all most of the time.   

So I was surprised when en-route to my bed I randomly had the fancy to re-organise my shoe closet.

Perched on the floor whilst dispensing unwanted footwear to charity bag..  That old familiar déjà vu feeling wafted over me..  

Memories of dancing shoes, workout shoes, party shoes, fuck-me shoes.. there’s stacks of memories in shoes.  

And then it happened.. I experienced a pre-surgery-parallel-universe-out-of-this-goddamned-world seizure.  

Proof that I’m a hardcore hypochondriac..   And never do anything half ass. I also didn’t have any canine rectal valium at hand.

An urgent call was made to my gorgeous angel friend (aka my surgeon’s PA). 

She expedited hospital action where a nice man with a shiny beard rolled me into the CT for a swift scan. 

Next up.. Blood works and ouch.. Turns out it was Nurse Nancy’s first day and I was her first ever patient but luckily she had some deliciously distracting tattoos.

Home to await results. 

CT confirmed brain’s looking dope* post Bambi and my blood’s made of sterling stuff.   

*I’m reaching out to younger audience hence use of this new word preferred by teenagers to express excellence.

So there’s a little hiccup in the remedying of my ailment ..  My cocktails require spicing up.. And I need to abstain from all caffeine and find a new vice!  

Luckily one of my favourite vices is flying in on a jet plane in a few days time. 

‘I could go at any time’ Arnie Grape

Have you ever just sat there and thought.. Damn I’ve been through a lot of shit.

Someone actually asked me today ‘How are you managing to stay so positive?’ 

My answer.. 

‘Well obvs what motivates me the most is the fact that being positive really pisses off the negative mother-fucking haters out there!’

People have also been so very sweet and told me that I’m superhero brave.

As much as I’d love to be juxtaposed to a sexy hot Wonder Woman..  I’m not really brave at all.   In situations like this you just have to ask yourself.. 

Do I need this? 

Does it spark joy? 

Does it fuck!

Other people have had very good intentions too and offered me illuminating examples of encouragement.. 

Such as how I should use canine rectal valium to control seizures  (the offer of insertion was also provided) or that I should be snacking on pickled long-haired guinea pigs and sea cucumbers to prevent Bambi from boomeranging. 

But seriously, I really will try my best not to judge anyone over a health condition they know absolutely fuck all about. 

Curiously, a low bullshit threshold seems to be an unexpected brilliant side effect of brain cancer!

In other news I finally got out of my pjs today, into different ones.

That counts as getting dressed right?

I don’t sugar coat shit.. I’m not Willy Wonka.

Buckle up baby we’re in for a rough ride to the OR today but let’s stop en-route, load up on narcotics and get comfortably numb so we don’t shit ourselves or run for the hills at the last minute.  

I’m gowned up in my absurd backless ensemble + banana yellow socks et al. Attempted to put on Tuesday knickers only to be advised these aren’t hospital issue and had to replace with sexless paper pants. M acquired a black marker and scrawled ‘C U Next Tues Bambi’ across the back.

Soon I found myself in a labyrinth of state of the art neurosurgical heaven.  I was feeling happy and relaxed after the racy little cocktail I’d just necked and was so busy staring at the starry ceiling completely forgot that my skull was about to be delved into by what seemed like a team of 85 medical professionals and a fancy pink unicorn elegantly cantering around the perimeter of the room.

Five hours later I woke with a monumental sanitary napkin wrapped around my head and my knickers had been replaced by a bright pink catheter attached to a clear plastic handbag thingy which was busy collecting pale yellow fluid from my bladder.  I’m a trend setter sweetie.

I was wheeled into recovery and attended to by a very handsome TV-soap-star-worthy doctor who continuously stroked my arm and asked if I knew what my name was.  ‘Yes I know what my name is, but what’s yours honey?’ I found myself repeating. 

Next time I woke I was in a private room on the ICU.  Yay no sharing.  I met many people in scrubs and was informed that Bambi had doubled in size in a week .. fucking fat yellow cow!  But she was out in her entirety and currently being scrutinised under a microscope in the path lab. We’d have some answers by Friday with any luck.

I was asked many questions to determine how much of my short term memory I might have lost.. What’s your name? Sarah. How old are you? 47. Where are we? Disneyland. What’s your husband’s name: Brad. Seems spot on to me!

Meanwhile my phenomenally artistic and beautiful ICU nurses Heather and Nicole have magic markers and made me ‘days of the week’ knickers out of hospital issue pants.. what totally cool chicks they are.  I’m now all set for Thursday and Friday at least.