Monday, 23 April 2012
Down in the non-dumps
23/4/2012 Something has happened to my system. For most of my adult life I only went to the loo, as we say politely, once a week. This was normal for me and I wouldn’t be worrying about it now if it weren’t for the – the thing that happened, the cancer. When I changed my diet and began consuming large amounts of foliage, plants and olive oil it changed and I became very regular. That felt good; at least I could control whether the cancer came back in my bowels, and as things were going so smoothly I felt reassured. Since Easter that has changed. I feel rather empty, not bloated or heavy, but my insides seems to have decided to seal themselves. I remember sitting on the lav at my mother’s praying for a bowel movement, the way I once prayed for a period to appear to show I wasn’t pregnant. There was an unusual level of stress about it building up and once it starts building you can’t stop it. Last week I was walking in the street praying, “Please let it happen, but not at any inappropriate moment of course.” This weekend nothing. Considering the amount of vegetables and fruit, about ten pieces a day, this could only mean that there was a tumour in there. All these months when I have felt so free and optimistic it was building itself, accruing cells, taking on weight. I began stuffing in crinkled old packets of “Movicol,” left over from the hospital in 2010. I gave back a full box as I didn’t think I’d need them, thinking I could control things. By last night I felt that slide into despair. I did try phoning the oncology dept at Hammersmith as they have someone on call, but no one answered the phone. There was no where to get reassurance anyway. I saw the future – recurrence. What do you say to people, do you say when they say, "You are looking well, how are you? Perhaps nothing at all? I was now a new person, the one who lives with the knowledge that it had come back for a second go. That it is the end, five years of life at most and more chemo to get even that. Why did I ever think I would be one of the lucky ones, one of the saved? Other things flitted through my mind; I was no longer going to worry about money at all. I’ve always had a fear of overdrafts and spending capital, just like my Victorian grandparents and parents. Now I would spend without worrying. Lately I have been on a low carb, low olive oil diet, but that small cookery book which came with the Saturday paper, “Carluccio’s Perfect Italian Cooking,” I would follow it, make every oozing, cheesy, oily recipe. This morning things were better, not much but enough to make me feel hopeful again. So I am now back to the other persona, the survivor, in remission, someone hanging on to the edge of the rock with enough of a foothold left to climb back up if they can only hold on a bit longer.