This time last week, I was thinking "Shit how am I going to get through two weeks of schools holidays with the annoying fuckers I call my family."
Is been four weeks since I started this C journey. I’m in a dilemma, I want this blog to be light hearted but at the same time I do not want to trivialise the cancer treatment journey because it does suck balls. Can we just assume that I have days which are a bit crappy. There are plenty of other writers though that can describe that shit in better detail than me.
I had my second round of chemo last Thursday. Chemo was ok, in a strange way it was kind of relaxing, sitting in a very comfy reclining chair with a cup of tea having drugs put in.
It was around lunch time and I was feeling quite peckish, I had been there a couple of hours and everything was fine. I could see the lady with the sandwich trolley making her way over to me (They feed you but your partner doesn't get anything). I get the nice comfy reclining chair and tea and sandwiches, he gets the hard crappy chair and mostly ignored.
#BudgetBen decides to go down to the cafe to get a bite to eat. He was tempted with the meat pie (because it was cheap) but ended up going semi-healthy and chose the tandoori wrap.
I was soo happy when the lady arrived with a plate of perfectly formed, cute white bread, no crust, triangle sandwiches and a bowl of hearty beef and vegetable soup. Tasty fillings as well - there was chicken and avo, egg and cress, ham and cheese and the smell of the soup was divine. Could my day get any better?
Then the "fuckening" happened.
You know, when your day is going so well that you don't trust it and then something happens... ah ha... there it is, "the Fuckening".
I started munching on one of those cute triangles and I felt this chest pain... I thought I had indigestion ... but oh no... I started having a reaction to the third drug, had heart palpitations, severe chest tightness and my face went the the colour of a sunburnt strawberry. I felt like I was having a huge panic attack.
The funny thing is #BudgetBen comes back at this exact moment from his tandoori wrap to find the curtains drawn around my bed, 4 nurses, a doctor, me on oxygen having my vitals monitored and looking very distressed. He had only been gone 10 mins!
Moral of the story #BudgetBen will never ever be able to leave my side and relax again..lol
Apparently it is quite common to react to your first or second dose and the nurses were on it straight away and knew exactly what to do. They pumped a steroid drug into me, waited for my body to calm down and then retried the drug.
After getting my blood pressure, oxygen and heart rate back to normal the bloody nurse said "Best I don’t eat anything in case I vomit"!
CAN YOU IMAGINE THE PAIN of seeing six perfectly formed white bread triangle sandwiches with egg, chicken and mayo, cheese and ham, and a lovely chunky vegetable soup within hands reach but not allowed to taste them. Fuck that was the most traumatic part of this whole chemo journey.
Ben also made me laugh by saying the lengths I'll go to ruin his relaxation time!
I’m here to #makelifefunagain and guess what even with cancer there are plenty of opportunities to laugh.
So the first thing you can do when you have cancer is play “the Cancer Card”. My friends will already tell you they are fucking sick of me playing this card ... it’s only been four weeks!
Stuck doing canteen at weekend sport - “just cough and say, “ I’m happy to help out but I’m on chemo and my white blood cells are compromised, if I get an infection I could die... do you think there any other volunteers?”. The first week that worked, the third week my friends are saying “FFS Lori, get in that canteen and serve those red frogs bitch”.
That family gathering you are supposed to go to? - Fuck it, you may be feeling fine but you can still play the cancer card “I would love to come but I am not feeling up to going out today.. hope that’s ok?”
Anything you want hubby to do - “Can I have a coffee in bed please… I would get up and make it myself but I have cancer”.
Should go to the gym because you know exercise will help you feel better? - Forget that. Just stay in bed in your favourite dressing gown watching Netflix shows because after all you do have cancer.
In fact the cancer card can be pulled on any occasion for any reason… NO ONE challenges it!
The next thing you can do is leave all concern for your appearance, trust me, the sooner you get used to looking like crap the easier it is for you.
Luckily, I have always been comfortable looking like shit. At first I thought I would have some fun with my hair. I asked my hairdresser "ANTON" to cut it short and dye it blonde then pink. His response was "that will look fucking awful!" My response was "FFS it's all going to fall out anyway, I may as well have some fun!"
This is us having some fun...
Next thing you can do is go and visit all the places you used to work and get lots of hugs and sympathy.
I have been really fortunate to work with some really great people. I went and saw my gorgeous HX team at ZIP Money and had some wine and doughnuts.
I also went and saw Naomi Simson to try and score myself a sympathy Red Balloon experience..lol
Another thing you can do is make your own memes up about cancer and send it to your friends. At first they don’t know what the fuck to say, some even start by saying “Lori I hope all is ok", but once they get used to it, they begin to laugh with you again.
In fact, I do think it is important to recognise the role that your family and friends play. I have an inappropriate sense of humour, they know I do, but it is still hard for them sometimes to laugh with you. I know sometimes they think I use my humour as a shield to protect my insecurities and they are probably right, that said laughter really is the best medicine (well apart from chemo in my case - that is pretty useful too).
I know I'm lucky - I'm only stage 3 and there are many of us out there fighting a bigger battle. In fact, I have been completely blown away by just how many people are touched by this disease.
It is the first time I have been vulnerable and it has been a huge lesson for me. When you allow yourself to be open, honest and scared - the strength of a village comes to help you. My friends suggested the Go fund me page and I still cannot believe the generosity from people who I don't even know that want to help me and Ben out.
This journey is an ongoing one for the time being. Writing this blog and creating inappropriate cancer products has been very cathartic for me. I am looking at joining the awesome team at LoveYour Sister to donate 10% of profits from our cancer range.
Saying farewell to a work bestie doesn't have to be a tear fest, make it fun and full of laughs with a great gift from the Inappropriate Gift Co. Enjoy our Inappropriate Gift Guide the 10 Memorable Farewell Gift Ideas to send your Coworker off with a laugh!