I knew it was coming. It was inevitable the moment my father passed away last month. The Big Crash. The lower-than-low point. The brick wall. The culmination of two months of sheer and utter hell…
I hoped it might come during my chemo treatment, during those 3 months of social wasteland, when I had my head stuck in a toilet and was making the cute guy in ‘Dying Young’ look healthy. But no. Cancer had one last treat in store for me on the eve of my first chemo session, once I’d dropped the kids off at my mum’s and enjoyed my ‘last supper’ at my favourite sushi bar.
Damn stinking realisation.
1. I have cancer.
2. Those toxic chemicals are coming for me one way or another.
3. My father isn’t coming back.
That’s the real kicker. The worst of the worst. Parents are meant to be there forever, as stipulated by our inner child. But he’s not. Dad’s not here to tease or chivvy me through any of this, not like before. Not when my shit got real, well maybe not cancer-real but bad enough to douse my depression in kerosene.
So it finally hit me last night when I was scrabbling inelegantly into my new White Company ‘loungewear’ (daft term). I caught a glimpse of my half-naked body in the bedroom mirror. Damn that body. It may have given me two beautiful children but in the last few years it’s betrayed me in the worst possible way.
It’s also a body that’s scarred (and scared). Turns out I’m not so brave after all. Not when there’s a ton of nasty IV shite waiting to biff me up.
I’m not proud about it but I’ve indulged a little too heavily in the blame game over the past thirty years. Bad body image? Blame the shitty ex. Too quiet and reserved? Blame the folks for sending me to an academic school that obliterated my personality. Cellulite? Blame childbirth. Roll of fat? Blame my love of Dairy Milk…. And so on and so on.
But as I stood there staring at my body last night, one foot in said loungewear, one foot out, I suddenly realised that the time for blame has passed.
It’s not my fault I have cancer. Neither is it my parents for their faulty genes. Nor is it down to my lacklustre jogs 3 x a week which probably only burnt off ten calories and a celery stick.
Cancer happens. You’re never too young it seems, just like all the ads keep reiterating. And I think that’s the realisation that finally tipped me over the edge. My 50/50 roll of the dice has come up on the early side and there’s not a fucking thing I can do about it. Cue much snivelling until Matt appeared with a bar of Green & Blacks…
And control the side-effects the best I can – i.e. pop pills like they’re candy and buy shares in raw ginger. Oh and hope. Because I’m still one of the lucky ones. Yep, even now. This Chemo is my insurance policy. My feck-off-you-poxy-cancer-and-never-come-back one with an extra side of FU.
Odds are 70-80% btw. I’ll take them apples, thanks very much. Because, like I said, I still have hope. And loungewear. Plus a very nice pair of pale pink cashmere bed socks…
And the memory of my dad fighting my corner like he always did.
Miss you dad. More so now than ever.