Monthly Archives: August 2015

Never bloody mind Patience Is A Virtue – I Just want to be A Patient.

Och, I am usually quite laid back most of the time I think, but now I am waiting to become A Patient, being patient is not really on.  Just now, at this moment of typing, I could scream with frustration at not knowing when I’m to be admitted for my hysterectomy. It’s ten days since my diagnosis of uterine cancer and a week since the multi-disciplinary team were supposed to be meeting to decide what to do with me/it. So much for the word ‘Urgent’ being ringed on the form I signed giving permission for the surgery!

I want this bloody cancer OOT!  Gone, away, skiddaling, pissing off – whatever you like – just out of my body.  Only then will I know what else is to happen. Am I to have further surgery ? radiotherapy? chemotherapy?  I just need to know so that I can start planning ffs!
And of course that ‘scream’ I mentioned can only be in my head because I cannae actually scream – as in make a loud noise – because I don’t have a bloody screamable voice do I ! Och, my obnoxious Englishwoman alter ego is becoming uppermost.
I know I should just stay calm, relax, what will be will be, just be patient, wait and all will be revealed and I have been doing that for ten bloody days… Huh!
Patience Is A Virtue – I Just want to be A Patient.

P.S: (written the following day)…

Och, it turns out I was talking through my backside! No pun remotely intended! Apparently the “ten days to a fortnight” timescale I had in my head was just to be notified of admission and that the doctor had told me it would be mid to late Sept for the surgery itself. Walter had recalled that but I hadn’t. After a lot of phoning, and mega frustration, that position has been confirmed though I confess I was wearing my ‘obnoxious Englishwoman hat’ when I was speaking to the nurse .”Mid to end September? By what stretch of the imagination is that classed as ‘urgent’? ” .  She offered me support from Maggies Centre or herself meanwhile to which I responded with “I don’t need support thank you very much, I need surgery! “.  Poor woman – it’s not her fault I don’t remember what I’m told.  It’s my own fault – I should have realised that would just be the letter of notification, not the actual appointment if I’d had my brain in gear.

I really got angry, but as it happens that was without real cause.  If it showed nothing else, it displayed the fact that I am far more stressed by all this than I would care to admit. That no matter how stoic I like to think I am,  hingin’ aboot takes its toll.  I’m calm again now.    Wonder for how long…..

“How are you?” “Fine Thanks”

” Hello, how are you?” say the cheery bank teller, checkout lady, bus driver and many drama bods. “Fine thanks” say I .   Well , let’s face it, one can’t very well answer “just diagnosed with Grade 3 cancer” can one, especially when the questioner is just being polite.  In any case, I AM fine.   I am actually probably physically fitter now than I have been for a good few years – the irony is not lost on me.   I am fine, honest, I’m not just ‘being brave’.

Since Monday’s diagnosis, when my wee world imploded on me, I’ve been totally fine for a few minutes every hour when I was being distracted by a Fringe show or something, but it was not long before my brain flicked back to this greedy thing inside my womb.  I can’t claim to have been worrying about it per se but my brain was going over all sorts of things,  drafting random ramblings in my head, almost as if I were blogging. (!)  It was as if there was a little engine chugging away trying to get my brain in gear.  As with a dream, despite being clear at the time, few thoughts were able to be recalled afterwards, though I know some were predicated on the fact I have good genes so expected to live another twenty-odd years, after recovering from pneumonia and getting the all-clear after breast cancer.

However, something happened yesterday – Friday.  I wasn’t aware of any reason in particular, but I suddenly felt quieter inside, as though that little whirring engine noise had switched off.  It’s as though my brain has finally processed what’s happening so is now just getting ready for whatever lies ahead.  Maybe this is all par for the course, and my state of mind-cum-emotions will fluctuate often – I don’t know.  All remains to be seen.

I’m aware of the ‘blogger mode’ thingy-wotsit in my brain is still chundling away,  but its effect is different, I don’t feel ‘boverred’ by it as I was earlier in the week.  In particular, I feel far calmer about my decision to step down temporarily from some of my drama responsibilities in order to give myself a less-stressed few months.  Luckily this is the ideal time to hand over – after the Fringe and before the organisation of the following year’s one-act festival starts – so whomever stands in for me will not be thrown in at the deep end right away.

A very supportive friend referred to cancer patients as having a war to face which consists of many smaller battles. One has to make sure one’s army is in the best possible condition for the skirmishes ahead, there being no point asking them to fight if they are undernourished and/or tired. This wee scenario of the fighting force preparing to do battle with cancer for me really appealed  because it chimed exactly with the theme of the recent film ‘Inside Out’ which had quite an effect on me. (I’m a simple wee soul really) . There’s a place for Fear and Anger but I’ll just keep them both busy with trivialities like world politics so that they don’t have time to bother me much.  I dare say Disgust will get a larger role, especially if I do have chemo which makes me sick ( I cannot stand vomit – urrrgh!).  I accept that Sadness has her role to play, but Joy will continue to be in charge at my control panel, strengthened when I go feeding my soul w11039845_10204965326752811_3696481917482359627_oith Scotland’s wonderful nature and refuelled from the support of my partner and friends.

So, I might have cancer but I’m fine really, just fine, how are you?

Just When it Seemed Safe to Go Back In The Water……

Just When it Seemed Safe to Go Back In The Water……

It might seem naff but that’s the phrase that occurred to me today as I left the consulting room in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary after being told that I have uterine cancer. It didn’t really fit but it is what sprang to mind, and I hope to chronicle what else does as I start the journey through this blasted thing again.

I had been given the ‘all-clear’ after my breast cancer in 2007 but apparently the Tamoxifen used to help prevent recurrence of the BC can stimulate other growths. (I knew there was a slight risk at the time and thought it was worth taking.)

When I had a very heavy bleed a few weeks ago, 18 years after the menopause, alarm bells rang but I was determined to stay positive.  An ultrasound indicated my womb-lining was three times thicker than expected, a sample was taken and then I was given a CT scan last week.

The second random thought this afternoon was “I can have chips after all”.  Relatively recently I had started getting an extra thick waistline, despite having more exercise than previous months but, with being ‘a lady of a certain age’, I thought I was just getting fat, so started reducing carbohydrates .  Apparently the increased waistline was also probably connected with the cancer as well – hence said chip-related thought .

Luckily September and October are the two quietest months as far as drama activity is concerned so that’s one good thing.  I shouldn’t have to miss too much.   A second positive is that as long as the growths have stayed within the womb it should get sorted easily, but it is such a bollock-ache  (meant figuratively but maybe almost literally too. )

I suppose there is fear involved, although that certainly wasn’t the first feeling I got. My main emotions are frustration and annoyance coupled with a determination that this will not get me down.  I had lumpectomy and radiotherapy last time so I am hoping I can avoid anything more drastic this time round as well.

So there you go… I feel fine, but there is somat dark and nasty baring its teeth inside me.   Just when you think it’s safe to go back in the water ……….