TALKING TO MY TUMOUR
I always thought that this demonization of cancer was silly. I see it as part of my body that is ill. I don’t feel that it has ill intent toward me personally. A part of me that has hit a fault line & though, when I was diagnosed in 2014 they said that it was inoperable & that I had seven months to live if I had no treatment, I didn’t believe them I began to talking to my tumour, who I named Tubby. I reasoned with him that if I died he would too, a sensible approach I felt.
I have never gone along with the idea that cancer is an evil that has taken over from Black Death. I feel that our modern lifestyle, our pollution – whether self-initiated as my lung cancer is or inflicted by outside influences has much to answer for. I also believe that as cancer is the milk cow of the pharmaceutical companies they are in no hurry to come up with a cure. I am sure that the doctors working in the cancer area are sincere but give the ‘Big pharma’ conspiracy theory credence too.
Mainly though, I believe that our bodies our capable of change, I believe that they respond to our attitude & that going into despond & panic is a mistake. When the doctor told me that I had incurable cancer I responded like that ancient hippy I am with ‘A bummer eh?’ partly a bit of bravado, but I decided that this was my attitude & no need to book the MOT for my old Polo for longer than six months then; & alongside this the belief that I can live with this. I was already booked to go to France for a few days & I booked a train journey to Budapest with a friend. Be positive was my watchword. The cancer remained stable & once actually shrank & I was delighted with Tubby, we rejoiced in our success.
Of course there were & are moments of horror at the thought of giving up on life, I might be eighty years old & had a rather jolly life until recently but I do love life & would like a few more years of it. I have wasted a good deal of time, though no time is really wasted if it is lived. Until recently I spent weekends in London which was fun. Now I am limited to home & walks round the block with my embarrassing walker, worse than my grisly walking stick. I have grown weak & feeble & try to do my exercises that conflict with a long term hip problem. Probably an age thing, but I am in age denial mode – perchance I should accept my infirmities as a fact & live with them. Instead I write. Which gives me joy & makes people laugh. I also watch a lot!
The area I live in changes all the time & brings new people to observe & wonder at. The area is very much alive with some of the most good looking children & women anywhere. I peer like the nosey old creature that I am. There are fascinating new customs too, some revolting so I can utilise my disgust stringently then see the refreshing stuff anew I grew up in a leafy suburb & never forgot the dullness, the competitive gardens & the boredom.
So? What is the state of play now? I am due for an oncology check-up this month & as is usual a certain trepidation enters Tubby’s & my life, a kind of low down tremble. Though we have decided that death will be a new adventure, we hope! We shall not go gently though, I think we need a fanfare to see us out!
Now, I have quite suddenly sprouted a new lump on my neck to liven up my life. Is it? Isn’t it? Should I go into panic mode? Then I get a call from a funeral director do I want to talk about a funeral plan! I swear at the woman with her cooing voice ‘Do I F as like’ & collapse into laughter the ironies of life eh? Then a new friend came round to walk with me & cheered me up & as I gobbled the cakes she brought I thought I must get more – result I decided to go it alone, I have this Zimmer with wheels which I find hideously embarrassing, I am vain, still worried about street cred at 80! In denial of age stereotypes & determined not to change. All nonsense but it has worked for me. This walk was a treat, nonstop smiles & 2 offers of cups of tea, the shop were delighted to see me, we talked about Zit, my dog, who waited for several hours outside the shop when I forgot him. This small walk has made me realise I have freedom & next I intend to drive again.
I am happy for the most part & have begun to write again seriously which is lovely; I have had excellent support from my doctor, a brilliant nurse & a dozen or so carers who come to ‘help’ me shower. They are a nixed crew but all fascinating in their variety. I feel very lucky & if & when my luck runs out? It has been interesting & has brought me new insights. I expect to write more of these blogs & would be very glad of any comments.
My way may not be yours, we find our own ways & being ancient is an advantage in this case & GOD KNOWS this is rare. At least I have had a good innings