Welcome to the c word
I rarely show the world what is going on inside it is just not my style. I hide pain and constantly worry about worrying other people and how they will feel about how I am feeling. I keep my problems to myself and sometimes even from my closest friends. Well not this time.
I have been on the c word roller-coaster (I'm calling it the c word to go easy on the faint hearted) for over three weeks now and have decided it is a good idea to write down what's happened, happening and going to happen then whoever wants to keep up to date can without being forced to hear about it through emails from me. Because you will all have days where you just can't or don't want to hear about this. I get that it’s ok.
I hope not but you also might meet people or know people who go through something similar and it might just help them in some way to know they are not alone and when they fall apart it is ok because who wouldn’t. When you read this please forgive grammar and spelling etc I have not slept for three days and sorry too if it is up and down that is pretty much how I am doing most days.
- Tuesday 23rd February 2010
Saturday, 17 April 2010
I wasn't going to tell you out of some strange British propriety and embarrassment, then it struck me how ridiculous we are about poo. We would rather go on Jeremy kyle naked apart from a pair of spanking new Reebok classics than admit, even to our own family, that we actually poo although it is something each and every one of us does, hopefully for you, everyday. So although I have poured out each and every inner thought and fear onto these pages I still held back and had second thoughts admitting the troubles and torture of having diarrhoea in hospital. Then I thought well of course you would be absolutely thrilled to hear a detailed description about stomach cramps, shivers, nausea, dehydration and the pain of consistent diarrhoea all day and night in a, for the first time, silent cancer hospital which had run out of private rooms, and more importantly private toilets. Well let's just draw a line under it and say it totally ended this chapter of the ordeal with a cruel almost taunting poignancy. I had diarrhoea because commonly people post surgery have constipation, yes I know another delightful experience, and they gave me medicine to help make it easier for me which I have to say is the sort of help I can live without in future.
People keep telling me I am strong. I am not feeling so strong. The truth is I broke down on Thursday when they said I couldn't go home and I remained caught in the current near that low ebb ever since. I think I had used up all my strength getting through the first three days knowing that I would be leaving as they promised me on the first day so when they said I could not leave I of course smiled politely until they left the ward and then found I could not fight the tears quietly behind the curtains. I had not slept more than moments and those moments were on my back which is a position I have never found comfortable. I had listened or directly starred for hours in our cramped room into the world of suffering a poor elderly dying woman lived in. She could hardly draw breath, was dosed up high on morphine, was thin and breakable, rarely spoke or moved and worst of all she was somebody's mum, someone's grandma. I would never want to watch anyone I love lying there like that, waiting for death in that bed starved of daylight with strangers eyes on their every waking moment. The whole time I was racked with a strange guilt because I didn't want to look at her I felt bad that I was so naive and selfish but I think that is understandable in hindsight. I am 31 (just) and have not had anything remotely wrong with me let alone been in hospital since I was 5 and got stung by a bumble bee who left it's sting in my swollen knee joint! I only found out I had cancer a few months ago and I am running on empty down a bewildering path with no map, no provisions and no faint clue of the destination I think I can forgive myself for finding the hospital a hard place to be.
So it's over right. Turn the page, start over and put it to the back of my mind right? Right?...The trouble is my mind is flooded with all the conversations that my headphones would not block out without disturbing other people's comfort around me or my hearing permanently. The first lovely lady who left the morning of my second day was my dearest companion but still stained me with fear as she had breast cancer at 41 and now has unrelated breast cancer again 18 years later. Chemo brought on her menopause but she had luckily already had one child. The two women who came in on the 3rd day managed to catalogue between them every type of cancer and side effect within their constant monotone discourse (apart from the occasional break to sing along to hymns on Radio Marsden) which included discussing the blood soaked knickers one of the poor ladies had been left in for days. The lady opposite her had a reaction to the chemo and her throat closed up and face swelled until they injected something to stop the allergic reaction. What a total fucker having cancer and an allergy to chemo, that is beyond cruel. You can't escape from it, the glimpses of people lying in beds down the corridors all different faces but same expression. Death and suffering sometimes one after other.
Both Phil and my brother Ian said to me they never want to ever see me in there again, I agree. I remember exactly how exhausted I felt just visiting Janine years ago in a ward very near to my one and how I would have done anything to get her out of there but sadly for some people that place is a huge part of their life to the point they know every staff member by their first name and there is nothing anyone can do to make the place any better it is unfortunately the nature of the beast. Someone incredible donated the money to build a huge children's wing which they are making visually significant progress with every day. It fills me with a simultaneously contradicting emotional response of restored faith in human nature and total despair.
I am at Phil's home tonight moving from bathroom to sofa still and thinking about my old lady on so much morphine she is not of this world and probably better that way too. Hope the night goes easy on you Linda.
Do me a favour give something, if you can, to these people...please. Then take a deep breath and persevere through it because you really are so very very very fucking lucky.
(Donation links on left hand side)