Saturday, April 07, 2007
Our green and pleasant land
I'm in Hereford, at the boy's house. He drove us down to my parents house yesterday, near the Forest of Dean on the Gloucestershire/Herefordshire border and England is all shiny and new, greens and yellows battling in the spring sunshine as if to persuade me that it's not so bad, a summer in England will be quite pleasant after all.
I've spent the afternoon lying outside in the sun (skin cancer risk? just you even try it!) and feel like I've got a more healthy glow than my recent sick-bed tear-ridden pallor. We've even started planning what summer festivals we can now go to that Uganda is definitely off.
The week after initial diagnosis has passed, and it's now a week after the op. Time has moved on and my self-pity has exhausted itself.
On Tuesday I rang my sister, just to give her an update. When I dialled her number I was fine. In the next few seconds while it rang thoughts flashed into my head. What if this ruins me and Rich? Puts too much pressure on the relationship? What if I have to face the chemo alone? Unable to stop the wave of self pity the emotion rose up and came out in an animal like cry just as my sister answered. I scared her silly and had to spend the rest of the call reassuring her that most of the time I was fine, and it was just that split second where I had suddenly given in to dark nightmares about stuff that isn't even confirmed yet.
I've always had a penchant for melodrama. When I was little I used to imagine that my parents had died and I had been left to fend for myself in the woods. But even this last week has been enough for me and I now find myself picking up my dignity and just getting on with it.
Reassuring my hold on my job was a huge part of it. Much as it frustrates me on occasion, it is a job I know how to do, and do well. I can look forward to it distracting me when I need some distraction, and to it not being so hard that I can't cope when I need to focus on more important things.
Realising we had to say no to Uganda was the hardest. And the knock-on effect was that because every tom, dick and harry out there knew we were about to leave the country, plus most of them were due to come to a party at my flat in a week's time, we had to tell everyone we knew. Immediately.
While I naturally share rather than conceal information with friends, strangers and colleagues, even this was tricky for me. In the end, I told as many as I could by phone and then had to email everyone on the party invite list to drop the bombshell and cancel the party in the same breath. Which meant a flurry of communication and messages - all of which lovely, but exhausting. Which made me feel like a bitch when I found myself moaning to a close friend about how tired I was of "all the endless calls". I should count myself lucky and stop being so bloody selfish.
And now I sit here typing, my armpit still sore from the biopsy and my boob feeling pretty alright. The scar on the underside of my tit is healing nicely and feels almost normal. But the armpit wound feels rock hard and still has some swelling around it. The blue of my nipple has faded as the bruising has come up, so it's now a sort of sickly yellowy green.
Very Spring indeed.
As for my head? As I said, the self-pity has been exhausting and is finally exhausted as I wait in this space before the appointment on Tuesday when I find out what treatment I'll be getting.
I never thought I'd be in a situation where I'd be crossing my fingers for the chemo option, but mentally I am prepared for that. The alternatives are herceptin (which I am crossing my fingers and toes for - no side effects - hurrah!) or hormone treatment. Or just radiotherapy but that's only a 1 in 10 chance so we're not even going to let ourselves believe in the chances of that.
Hormone treatment would throw me into an early, and five year long menopause. They should be able to protect my ovaries during the process apparently, but when they turn them back on I'll be nearly 39. At which point they'd be perfectly entitled to give up the ghost, fertility-wise. Frankly, I'd rather take my chances with chemo. I'd rather take 4 mths of feeling like shit and losing my hair over 5 years of menopause before my time.
Bring it on.
at 9:23 pm