My name is Lisa and I am a lazy cancer patient, there I said it! I can finally breathe, I feel like a tonne weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
I am that person who receives an email, looks at the subject line and when it says "Corn the New answer to Cancer", I trash it! I'm sorry!!!! I know you've taken the time out of your busy day to think about me and that's so beautifully kind of you, but it's just not me.
I'm not that girl who will drink her own urine that's been heated to 38.5 degrees, mixed with turmeric and blended with gold dust, I am a lazy cancer patient. I have NEVER tried anything that isn't a prescribed treatment by a medical professional other than one thing, that for the sake of this blog we will call "oregano".
I was in the worst position I had been in throughout my entire disease, I had been overdosed by Paramedic's and rendered unconscious, upon return to the world of the living, my left foot had stopped working due to my two golf ball sized tumours in my bladder pressing on a nerve, my bladder had stopped working, I had two consecutive tumour bleeds, blood transfusions, radiotherapy, I was in immense pain, nauseous and I was desperate. My Dad was especially deeply affected by my pain, he couldn't bear seeing me curled up in the foetal position, tears rolling down my face, moaning and groaning uncontrollably. When I relocated to Queensland, my Dad presented me with the "oregano" option. I took the "prescribed" dose which is less prescribed and more "anecdotal", take one smidgen of the oregano, drop it under your tongue, then mix the other oregano with some juice and drink. The problem with this is, a 90 kilogram man would be having the same dosage as myself, I was only 38 kilograms at the time. Moments after the first consumption of my oregano I was losing it. My head was spinning, I was nauseous, I was so paranoid that I demanded that someone be in the room with me at all times because I felt like throwing myself of the balcony, I ate like a horse and I just remember thinking to myself that I will never be "normal" again, this "oregano" had caused me permanent mental health issues, I was going crazy! Thankfully the oregano eventually left my system, after a good 10 hours mind you! I am totally supportive of using oregano as a pain relief option and a possible cure to cancer, I just need it to be regulated so that I'm never going to experience an oregano overdose again, that shit is pungent, just a pinch too much and that bolognese sauce you've been labouring over for the last 4 hours isn't even good enough for the stray suburb dog to have a sneaky lick, it could quite possibly poison the poor thing.
Kale is the new wonder drug, turmeric is the new wonder drug, juicing is the new wonder drug, cut out sugar, gluten, lactose, fructose, basically anything that resembles something edible-cut it out RIGHT NOW! Do yoga in the morning facing due north whilst humming Hanson's MmmBop and wearing no underwear, brush your teeth anti-clockwise while standing on one foot burping the National anthem and for Gods sake double knot your shoe laces, ain't nobody got time for rogue shoe laces when your walking 10 kilometres backwards every Waning gibbous moon, because all of these things will in fact kill cancer.
Again I completely respect those that try alternative treatments, in fact I envy your self-control, I'm of the school where I think to myself "well things really couldn't get much worse, so stuff it, I'll drink that champagne and eat that bag of corn chips". I simply don't have the will power, the energy or the commitment to be trying every new "fad".
If I was to try every suggestion that my beautiful friends have so lovingly investigated for me, I would NEVER have the time to scratch my ass, I'd to be too busy smearing Manuka honey on it!
Us cancer patients can also be compared to a pregnant woman, you know how it becomes free reign to walk up to a complete stranger, rub their pregnant belly, then proceed to tell your story of your pregnancy and query the beautiful pregnant Goddess about their labour plan, well, being a cancer patient is pretty much like that. Tap on the shoulder in the Ladies toilet queue at the Hugh Jackman concert, Complete stranger; "umm excuse me, but I couldn't help but notice that you have a pain driver, do you have cancer or something?". Me; "yes, I do", CS; "Oh that's terrible, what kind is it?", ME; "it's bla bla bla terminal gastric sarcoma", CS;"Wow, have you tried the raw food diet?My friend had stage 2 breast cancer, she opted out of chemo and started the diet, within 6 months there was no sign of cancer, here let me give you the number of my raw diet vegan sponsor and they'll happily give you a diet plan that will attack and kill your cancer cells, oh and are you religious? I'm part of a travelling prayer group, we come to people's houses and cleanse them and their house of all illness". Thank-God the engaged sign clicks over to vacant on a cubicle, that woman was taking the longest shit in the history of shits, I envy her and her shitting prowess. I sit on the toilet, oh yeah, you read it right, gone are the shaky knees of the ominous public toilet squat, I now SIT on the toilet, no toilet paper laid on the seat, no disinfecting it with my hand sanitiser, I take a seat and enjoy the splendour that is a comfortable pee. Do you know how freeing and empowering sitting on a public toilet is? It's amazing, no more hovering vicariously over the toilet seat that is always inevitably too high for my vertically challenged self trying to direct my pee in the right direction, because women are not designed to stand up while peeing, when we squat we have to do so with military like precision otherwise you'll be faced with a "RPPSI" Rogue Pissy Pants Soaking Incident and believe me, no one wants that! So now that I have terminal cancer I am a Public Toilet Rebel, I take a seat, anywhere anytime, except those aluminium public toilets at the beach, a girl has her limits. I stand up, flush and as I'm about to walk out of the toilet, a card with the Vegan sponsor's details are slid under the door.
Needless to say I didn't start the raw food diet and thankfully by some divine intervention, whether it be supporters prayer, chanting, meditations or my diet, radiation or other treatments, whatever I'm doing I must be doing something right, because 3 years later I'm still here, albeit full of abdominal/pelvic tumours and living a new norm of constant drug feeds and micro-sleeps, but I'm still here to type this blog and bitch about new age hipster coffee enemas that are the next big thing when it comes to cancer treatment.
I am always grateful for wonderful people taking the time out of their day to suggest that I make sure I eat broccoli daily because of its amazing antioxidant power or that I should be drinking green tea from a Porcelain Cup, but please don't be insulted if I or your friend that you're lovingly encouraging to become vegan don't take your advice and choose our own path, we just have to do this "our" way. I couldn't count the times that a friend, stranger or loved one has suggested some form of miracle treatment and I then feel guilty for not proceeding with it, we love you and we appreciate you, but please understand that we have enough on our plate already without adding steamed Aloe Vera to it because of its healing enzymes!
In the mean time fabulous rockstars, eat, drink and be merry and don't forget the optimal healing temperature of your urine drink is 38.5 degrees, you've gotta be precise with that shit, I mean piss, you know what I mean ❤️🤘🏼
The trip of a life time, warm turquoise waters of The Indian Ocean lined with red cliffs and pure white sands. The view alone from the aeroplane would have been enough for me to have felt that my dream was being fulfilled, but luckily for my parents and I the plane landed in Broome. We were welcomed by the warm evening air and the warm heart of a fabulous rockstar who had left a wheelchair from her pharmacy in our apartment along with a basket filled with all the necessities one would need when arriving late to a sleepy beachside town.
The photos are beautiful, as are the memories, no one looking from the outside in would ever be able to tell the fear and the pain that lies behind our holiday grins. I'm not saying that we didn't enjoy the trip, far from it, we enjoyed every minute - from floating in the warm waters of Cable Beach to walking through a caravan park in Roebuck Bay to Town Beach and saying to my Dad "Did you hear that sound coming from the grass?" It sounded like something big was slithering beneath and I certainly wasn't going to be rummaging through the weeds to find out what it was. We walked over the beautiful red rocks and collected shells for my Mum's next soon to be started but never completed craftwork for Ava. Anyone who knows my Mum can attest to this statement, you just have to have a look at the sewing machine and table gathering dust in the garage, the half-finished scarf in the cabinet or the adult colouring in book she got and has maybe two or three completed pictures. My beautifully creative Mum has the best of intentions and fabulous ideas, it's just finding the time to actually make that entire summer wardrobe she was going to knock up on the sewing machine, even though she has never sewed a day in her life, also if she ever asks to cut your hair and tells you she worked in a hairdressers when she was younger, politely decline her good willed offer, as I don't believe sweeping up hair and a few goes at the sink washing someone's hair does not a hairdresser make, she once told a hairdresser that I got snip happy to my own fringe after she had in fact cut my fringe herself and when I piped up denying that the follicle fiasco was my fault and was actually Mum's, she just gave the hairdresser that 'you know what kids are like look''. Anyway Dad and I got to Town Beach and upon our return we noticed a sign in front of where we had previously walked and heard the slithering "Do not enter, reptile breeding habitat", oops, well we had to get back to the car, so with thongs or flip flops, whatever you like to call them on our feet we braved the walk back, yeah you read it right, we braved a horny snake pit the other day, now I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure a snake getting lucky wouldn't appreciate being interrupted mid root in the grassroots, but we made it through to the other side unscathed.
Crazy snake orgy's aside, we spent hours lazing on the beach, reading magazines and books, things that you never get the time to do when you're home. We visited Chinatown which is basically Broome's town centre, went and had a look at the charming outdoor cinema, strolled through Johnny Chi Lane, visited the Taste of Broome which showcases the local musical talent, film making talent and the satay skewers that are a Broome breakfast staple, it's actually called the Broome breakfast.....satay chicken for breakfast, count me in and don't skimp on the rice!
Oh the Sunsets, OMFG THE SUNSETS!!!!! Sitting sipping on a glass of champagne at the Sunset Bar and Grill right opposite Cable Beach, watching the sun descending into the horizon and slowly dipping its feet in the azure waters of the Indian Ocean and when you don't think it could get much better than this, once the sun has completely disappeared into the ocean, the burning oranges and raging reds envelop the sky with grey clouds floating above, the next thing to overpower the senses, is the line of camels that are escorted along the beach, in fact if I'm really honest and not being all poetic about it, the smell of the camels hits you in the face way before the camels come into sight, but still an amazing sight all the same, smell not so great though, let's just say it lingers a little.
As I sit here reminiscing about our dream come true, the reality is I'm in so much pain, my liver tumour has just not let up since Sunday evening. I'm glad the bastard gave us three full days of just average pain, but shit am I paying for it now. I cannot take a full breath in, the last time I looked at the clock last night was actually 5.30 this morning and waking every 20 minutes or so to this indescribable pain radiating from my lower right abdomen to my lower back. Nothing I can do, no position I lie in, no pain meds I take, no increase in the dreaded dexamethasone, the drug that I've called the Devils drug before, nothing I seem to have done in the last few days has even nibbled at my pain levels and they just keep hanging around, not bad enough that I'd take up a bed in A&E and not weak enough to be able to just ignore it. It's a frigging horrible pain, not unbearable, but not quite bearable. What do you do when you're in this position?
I have radiation on Thursday, so I just keep thinking, please hold off, if you're a slow bleed or if you're necrosis or another tumour has popped, please just be bad pain that I can put up with until Thursday. I'm heartbroken and frightened. I know you fabulous rockstars have a decent idea of what our daily struggle is like, but as honest as I am about it, I don't tell you every time I have an ache or a pain, because if I did, I would be forever writing about it and who really wants to read about that shit all the time? No-one, so I really only write about it when I feel it's relevant and tonight it's relevant.
I know I've made it 3 years, pretty much 3 years longer than any specialist thought I would have to live upon initial diagnosis of my metastatic gastric/pelvic sarcoma cancer, but we haven't made it this far drinking wine and staring at sunsets, those days are fabulous, but the days in between those are not always so fabulous.the Chemo's, the immunotherapies, the radiation, the surgeries, the countless emergency department visits and hospital stays.
Some days I hobble around the house like a woman with arthritic knees, I regurgitate everything I eat or drink, I'm so nauseated that I crouch in the foetal position, my body spasms and cramps into a twisted pretzel, I haven't driven my own car in months because I fall asleep from the pain meds every few minutes, I can't play with my niece on the floor or pick her up when her head and the wall have had a fight and the wall has come out on top, falling asleep on the toilet after waiting 20 minutes at a time trying to squeeze a pee out of a bladder that has a couple of golf ball sized tumours acting as road blocks from freeing my imprisoned piss, only to be gifted in the end with a stop and start dribble, the many tumour bleeds I've had that are all possibly fatal, but the worst pain of all is the "unknown" the one that hangs around for days and just won't let up. I can barely sit, barely walk, barely breath and every simple movement is planned in my head beforehand with military precision, the simple act of getting up out of your seat becomes an expedition, which sometimes feels like it requires food provisions it takes so long to get up and the mental anguish, let's write a whole other blog on that one another day!
Today is one of those days, with every hit of pain I push the lump in my throat further down, occasionally feeling an escapee tear rolling down my cheek. I'm afraid of that unknown factor, what if I fall asleep tonight and I bleed out? What if I collapse in pain and can't get to hospital in time to treat it? What if I accidentally overdose from giving myself too many pain meds? Even though I'm sitting here in what most would class as 10 out of 10 pain, I'm still convincing my pain that it doesn't need an ambulance, we don't need to rush to the hospital. I'll just sit here and write about it instead, hanging on a hope and a prayer that the pain will dissipate over night and I can reminisce about my dream trip to Broome again without tumour pain muddying my turquoise blue waters of my mind.
I'm sure I will get lots of blog mileage out of this holiday, as memories resurface from time to time, like the fact that a fabulous Queen took time out of a very busy book distribution to visit me at an airport departure gate or my beautiful friend/family Sharon, Fran and Jeff did the same, Sharon did it twice for Gods sake, missing out on part of her own son's athletic carnival, just to walk around airport stores and watch me get my sickness shot in the ass in the airport toilets! Pain or no pain, the last few days have been beyond perfection and will forever remain at the forefront of our minds as one of the most kick ass experiences of our lives, all thanks to the generosity of an amazing charity called Dreams2live4.
Here I am sun kissed, relaxed and in pain, but just like we all think we look better with a tan, it's the same with pain, pain feels better when you've got a tan.
Stay fabulous rockstars and thanks to all those Broome rockstars that reached out while we were there, it was great getting to meet some of you in person ❤️🤘🏼
Another blog, fabulous rockstars, I hope you enjoy it and it makes sense, it was written in the middle of the night in between hits of pain meds, so if there are any magical unicorns galloping throughout this blog I apologise ❤️🤘🏼
Who here has ever suffered from 'OPE'? If you have, you've basically broken the tenth commandment, 'OPE' Other People Envy. It's something that we've all done at some point in our lives, in fact many of you probably do it on a daily basis.
OPE ranges from the everyday little OPE, such as, "Oh, I wish I had her sparkly stapler", to the middle of the road OPE, "Damn I want that bitches ass, look at it, you could balance a champagne glass on that thing and pour champagne into it over your head, yeah Kim Kardashian I'm talking about you", although more recently I've had Khloe ass envy, bitch is looking fine! Then you have your ultimate OPE, you know the one, the one where you're walking down the street of a posh suburb where you've parked your car a 20 minute walk from the beach, because there is no parking near it (if you live in the outskirts of Sydney, you know what I mean, try parking at Watson's Bay on a warm Saturday.......near fucking impossible) and as you're sweating your ass off to get to said beach, you see a fully decked out Land Rover pull up to an electric gate at a multi level beach front mansion, park, out jumps a beautiful mum, with her brand new tits and thighs that have never been introduced to each other.......no, not that way, I'm talking about how slim they are, they're so slim they've never experienced the gloriousness that is summer thigh chafing, skinny bitch with her Chanel handbag and what looks like 24k gold sunglasses, followed by her chiseled jawed husband and they then proceed to get a child out of each side of the car simultaneously and of course they're gorgeous little twin girls, with matching baby Dior dresses and headbands, you then look down at what used to be your flat stomach, that now resembles a stack of uneven tyres, your wedding ring finger that has never seen a wedding ring and then you realise you still have to walk another 15 minutes in this fucking 30 degree heat to get to the beach, yep life's looking pretty damn good from this side of the electric fence!
Well I of course have had OPE, but something I started having when I got cancer was 'HPE', Healthy People Envy". I experienced it much more in the early days of my disease and as I've reached certain milestones, like running out of my supply of eye cream that I bought when it was discontinued over 2 years ago and thinking "why am I buying all of this bloody eye cream? I'll never be around long enough to use it", well I just opened the last box the other day, tick that off my milestone list ✔️, isn't it amazing the stupid shit we think. Another thing I used to do all the time was look at expiry dates on things and think, I'll never be around for that bottle of soy sauce to go off or look at the date on a new Medicare card or credit card and think, "fuck, you shouldn't have wasted the plastic to print the card or the paper to print the letter, my other card still has 3 months on it, I'm never going to be around until February 2017, fair play, I haven't made it to February 2017........yet, but I don't look at things like that as much, if ever really anymore.
When I was initially diagnosed I remember walking around looking at lovely little older ladies in their eighties and thinking, what did you do differently to what I've done? Why was I given this shithouse of a disease and you're still going? Perhaps it's because I use words like shithouse instead of awful, perhaps if I hadn't been swearing all of these years I wouldn't have gotten cancer? I would look at families laughing and living life as if there were no tomorrow and think why do you guys get the romantic fiction life and I get the horror story? I mean what type of person looks at what are probably very genuine decent people and basically subconsciously wishes to trade places with them and give this disease to one of them instead, PLEASE just take it away! I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be alone with these thoughts and even writing them I feel sad that I've ever thought this way and I fear that you may judge me for my horribleness, but sadly, it's the truth and although I would never wish this disease on anyone, not even my worst enemy, I certainly would have traded my sick-bed for their king bed, any day.
You can so easily let the disease take over your life, take over your every thought, we become irrational and unless you've actually personally been through it, I don't think there is a way to describe the desperation you can feel at the thought of dying before "your" time. If we have these thoughts, it's not because we are bad people, but because at that point we were hopeless, we lost hope, we didn't know what else to think or what else to do.
I know for me I started wishing and bargaining with and for everything, I wish I was healthy, I wish I was 90 and already lived a full life, you start bargaining with a God that you've not spoken with for years or in some cases ever. Yes I've always prayed to God at night before I go to sleep, but it becomes a generic prayer, you know what I mean, you repeat the exact same thing every night and it's more of a habit than anything. Next thing you find out you're dying and you start praying to God, swearing that you'll never swear again, you'd give up all of your worldly possessions, just please cure me of this cancer, Amen! Buddha becomes your second best mate-next to God and you start reading the Koran, I mean the more Gods or idols that know my name the better my odds........right?
As I've progressed, these thoughts have become few and far between, but I just want you the fabulous cancerous rockstar to know, that you shouldn't feel guilt for having the occasional irrational thought whilst going through this disease, just don't let them take over you, that's when it becomes a problem, the odd "I wish I was Sonya from the Gym" thought isn't going to hurt anybody. For those fabulous support rockstars, family, friends and loved ones, please don't feel insulted if we pull away from you sometimes because we just can't bear to face you and your wonderful healthy husband and kids, it sounds horrible, but like any "normal" person, sometimes we just can't be around it, just like a woman who has had difficulty having a baby, sometimes they don't want to go to your beautiful child's birthday party, not because they don't want to, but because emotionally they just can't.
Sometimes we let our walls down, take off our armour, show our vulnerability and be the "real" us. As much as we know we inspire you and you think we are brave, at the end of the day we are just like you, we are human and who hasn't broken the 10th commandment before? If you haven't I need your address to send you a trophy, because that's one hell of an achievement, shit did I just commit blasphemy?
Stay fabulous rockstars ❤️🤘🏼
Here we go again, we're at that part of my disease roller coaster, where my stomach area is starting to feel more crowded than a gay bar would if Madonna did a special appearance. I have a tumour in the centre of my upper abdomen near my stomach that causes me to regurgitate my food. I have basically been regurgitating everything that I eat or drink lately and it's painful to wear a bra as it puts pressure on one of my tumours in particular. Once again my ass is harder to break into than the Tower of London, I'm taking more laxatives than an entire community would take in an old age home and I'm still sitting on the toilet praying to the shit Gods for just one pebble, just one plop! I don't think I'm asking for much.....am I? For once it would just be nice to take a crap like a normal human being, without having to insert enough dynamite up my ass to blow up the Isle of Wight.
My palliative doctor advised that we should contact my radiation oncologist to see if he'd be willing to do more radiation on that spot. As we were driving to the consultation today, I knew things had grown, as every bump or sharp turn hurt and caused massive discomfort. My mum was trying to drive so carefully that she could have been confused for Morgan Freeman when he was driving Miss Daisy.
So I hobbled into the hospital, a little slower than usual, took my seat in the waiting room of "Fear", I understand that most people in the waiting room are there for treatment and they are completely curable, but for me walking into the oncology day procedure ward, is like walking into a room full of your old exes and your mortal enemies. It's extremely nerve racking and uncomfortable, I get butterflies in my stomach before I even walk through the doors and I squirm nervously trying to avoid seeing people who are bald and going in for their treatment. It's just too raw, I can't handle the thought of what these people are about to go through. The memories of Chemo will be imbedded in my mind until the day I die, taking up residence like they have squatters rights.
My friend Aleana was staying the night at my place the night before, so she was present at the appointment and I told her to come in with Mum and I to the consultation, which she was unsure about, but I assured her my radiation oncologist would be totally fine with it and he was.
We sat down and he proceeded to look at the scans on the computer, pointing out each tumour and measuring them in front of us, discussing how solid they were and which ones had grown or remained the same and my feelings were confirmed, the tumour located in the area I'm feeling the pain has indeed grown and next came the big question..........so can we radiate and if we can, do you think it will work?
Drum roll please...........YES!!!!! We can try more radiation on that spot, but he doesn't believe it will stop the regurgitation and it's really just a gamble that it will make any difference to my discomfort, but if you don't try you can't succeed, the same as if don't try you can't fail, so while I can still have it, I'll have it. There will come a time that I can no longer do radiation, the body actually remembers where it's had radiation before and the organs around that area become more sensitive to being damaged, the body can also get used to it and become radiation resistant or it can also cause more serious or painful side effects, such as stomach ulcers.
When we left the appointment I went to the front desk to pay for my consult and my friend Aleana and Mum stepped away out of my sight. When I returned Aleana had been crying, you see for Mum and I we've almost become numb to these sort of consultations, unless we hear that's it, no more treatment is available or treatment will no longer improve your situation, which we have heard on previous occasions, we probably won't react in any other way than calmly listening to the Doctor and trying to process the information, but for Aleana this was the first time she had seen this, she had never seen the extent of my disease in actual life size pictures, she had never heard all of the big words and she couldn't quite figure how I could walk out of that meeting smiling and not crying. For me that was a great consultation, he said yes and unless he says no, I'm not going to cry, even though I've been completely shitting myself the last few days with the pain I've been in.
Aleana was also present in the resus room at the Emergency Department with Dad and I in March, as Mum was in Ireland, when the doctor said he didn't know if I was going to make it through the night, my Dad had no one to lean on. My sister in law was at a conference, my brother had my niece who had some sort of virus and Dad really doesn't have "friends", that seems strange, but he works on his own and they've moved from country to country so much, he's never really had the opportunity or energy to make new friends. Aleana happened to call just as we were told the "bad" news and she asked if I needed her there, YES!!!!! My Dad had just ran out of the room in tears, he needed someone else there and Aleana just happened to be near, she had her daughter Kyla with her, an amazing, beautiful, caring young girl, she was so composed while I lay there "dying" in front of her, I was in a pretty bad way, but Aleana held it together for Dad and she was a much needed rock that night, for that I am eternally grateful.
So here we are on the radiation roller coaster once again, I swear there should be some sort of rewards program, on your 10th radiation treatment you get a free car, yeah a car, I think we deserve it.
So for now I sign off still scared, still in pain and still shitting myself (metaphorically of course), I will never be ready for death, I'm just not brave enough, I wish I was, but I'm not, I'm a big old scaredy cat.
I of course will keep you all updated and remember even if you're feeling like crap today, don't forget you are all fabulous rockstars and make sure you stay that way ❤️🤘🏼
Happy Anniversay!!!!! Yes today I choose to celebrate rather than commiserate. Today is my 3 year cancerversary, yes that's right, 3 years ago today I collapsed in pain after feeling discomfort and pain for a couple of weeks leading up to the collapse. I remember it vividly, I was staying in a hotel with my then partner and he had gone to a chemist across the road to get me some hay fever medicine.
I fell to the floor, pain shooting up my abdomen into my throat, taking my breath away, thinking fuck this is it, something bad is going on here, something I can't talk my way out of, I'm in trouble.
I couldn't avoid it anymore, I had to be honest with myself, I had to face what I had been actively avoiding, I had to go to the doctor to confirm what I was already suspecting. I'm not going to bore you with the ins and outs of a ducks asshole , i've been through all of this before in a previous blog, long story short, the cancer was back and it brought lots of friends with it this time.
I have been through so many things since being diagnosed terminal, told I would have weeks or months to live, operations after operations, chemo's, radiation, immunotherapies, numerous emergency department visit's, a couple of ICU stays,
near fatal tumour bleeds, rendered unconscious from too much morphine being administered by the ambulance officers, bladder has stopped working, left foot stopped working, living with 24 hour pain and it goes on and on.
So many tears have been shed over this disease, so many hearts have been broken, friends and family have rushed to the hospital in fear that they may not make it there before I pass, many an hour has been wasted by those I love, pacing cold hospital hallways or sharing bedside vigils, the Priest has sat at my bedside and performed the last rites.
This roller coaster ride has not been my own, those I love and care about have been dragged almost kicking and screaming into this relentless battle with this bastard of a disease, not knowing from day to day if I'm going to have that final bleed, that one that the doctors and nurses have told me I will most likely have and not even know it.
Imagine your body turning against you, your own body trying to kill you. I've often looked at myself in he mirror, studying my scars and thought how could this happen? I'm not meant to be getting cat scans at my age, I'm meant to be getting ultrasounds to tell me the sex of my baby, not scans telling me that my tumours have grown or remained the same. I'm not meant to be picking out hymns for my funeral, I'm meant to be picking the song for my first dance at my wedding, I'm not meant to be parking in disabled parking spots and hobbling like an 80 year old with a dodgy hip. So many I'm not's, so many it's not fairs, but sadly this is my story and it's more of a horror story than a fairytale.
We make the most of every day, I stare at my niece and can feel the love she has for me, I love the moments when she just walks up to me and hugs me telling me she loves me and these moments happen often, unprompted little moments of pure honest love, the type of love that compares to no other.
My parents are meant to be my parents, we're meant to meet up on a Sunday for a family dinner, I'm not meant to be living with them and they're certainly not meant to be my carers, no parent should have to see their child in excruciating pain or witness their child's eyes roll back into their head and not know whether they're dead or alive, no father should have to carry his daughter into an emergency department, not knowing if she is bleeding to death. No mother should have to go through her daughters belongings to see what she would like to receive in her will or inject her daughter with painful sickness meds to the point that she sees her daughters ass more than she's seen her own.
My brother is meant to be a groomsman at my wedding, not a pall bearer at my funeral, his wife is meant to be a bridesmaid and not be reading a prayer at her sister in laws funeral.
All of those doctors who've seen my reports before they've seen me and already determined that I'm as good as dead and spoken to me like I already had an express ticket to the big pearly gates in the sky, to you I say "never judge a book by its cover" and "thank-you for not giving up, even though you probably should have".
Bald as a badger, skinny as a rake, fat as a heifer, bloated and swollen as a zit about to pop, pale and pasty, scabbed and scarred, bruised and battered, rashes and burns, deep vein thrombosis, nerve damage and memory loss, name a side effect and I've had it, name a treatment I've done it, find me a cure and ill take it.
3 years today and I am celebrating not commiserating. I'm celebrating the fact that this disease has been trying to knock me off this whole time, I'm staring death in the face and every time I've gotten back up and punched it in the throat. This isn't going to be one of those posts that ends with"and I wouldn't have it any other way", anyone whose gone through this shit and says that they wouldn't have it any other way is kidding themselves and bullshitting you. I would rather have it any other way.
I am proud of myself for starting this blog, years after I should have and I am grateful for you fabulous rockstars who have embraced my story and me as if they were your own. I love the messages of support and guidance I receive, I especially love the ones that tell me they are thankful that I put these thoughts out there, when so many others wouldn't and for that they feel they are not alone in their journey, whether they have cancer or not. I love our terminally fabulous family, you lift my spirits when they are at their lowest and give me strength when I need it the most. Just as I am thankful for my family and friends, I am thankful for you my terminally fabulous rockstars and don't forget to stay fabulous ❤️🤘🏼
Chemo is not cancer
Ask 100 people to describe what they think some cancer symptoms are and I'll guarantee you at least one will say baldness, ask 100 people to describe what they think a cancer patient looks like and I'll guarantee you at least 75 people will say bald, ask 100 people what they would fear if they got cancer and besides the obvious death, I'll guarantee any women and some men in that survey will say baldness. Baldness is not a symptom or a side effect of cancer, baldness is a side effect of "some" chemotherapies.
I don't blame people for thinking like this, heck I thought theses things before I was diagnosed, but so many of us out there aren't educated enough about this widely known, widely discussed, widely feared disease, yet many of you run marathons to raise money for its cure, buy a pen on daffodil day and you often don't know what it's all about.
If you look at these 2 pictures below, which person would you say is dying from cancer?
Now I believe if you don't or didn't know my story, most of you would say the one on the left and why wouldn't you? I mean everything about the photo on the left screams cancer and death, pretty bald, drawn on eyebrows and no eyelashes, but I was officially cancer free in the photo on the left, my hair was growing back and I was getting my mojo back! The photo on the right however is completely deceiving, I had only been out of palliative care in hospital a couple of weeks and as we all know I am indeed terminal, but in all honesty if you were walking down the street and didn't know me from a bar of soap, you wouldn't take a second glance at me and if you did, you certainly wouldn't think I had terminal cancer.
I said earlier in this blog that hair loss is a side effect of "some" chemotherapies and I highlighted some, because I believe there is this large misconception out there in the general public that firstly if you get cancer, you have chemo......not true, not all cancer patients require chemotherapy, many may just require surgical removal of the cancer, many may require radiation, some may now use immunotherapies and God knows what else doctors have up their sleeves now to treat cancer, but chemotherapy is not a compulsory nor is it always a suitable treatment option for cancer patients.
Firstly to talk about chemo you must know the basic idea of what chemo does, it targets cells in the body and either kills or injures rapidly dividing cells, because chemotherapy is not cancer cell specific it damages healthy cells as well and this is why side effects occur.
Chemotherapy is not a cure for all types of cancer, many believe we're pretty much on top of this cancer shit, don't you get cancer, have chemo, wait 5 years and then you're all ok again, isn't that how it works? No this is not the case, chemotherapy can be the only treatment for some cancers, but for others it is sent in as either pre show entertainment (have chemo to reduce tumour size before surgery) or the cleaners at the end of the big game (chemo can mop up rogue or left over cells after tumour removal).
Chemotherapy is not always injected via a cannula into the blood stream, there are different forms of chemo, you can have a tablet or wafer, it can be injected into different areas of the body, they even have bloody cream chemotherapy, yep you rub that shit in like you do your moisturiser, bet some of you didn't know that!
Not all chemotherapies have the same side effects, some have very mild side effects to no side effects at all, then you have your middle of the road Chemo's, these ones I would liken to your annoying little brother or sister occasionally pissing you off, they're there and they're mildly irritating, but you can't get rid of them, so you just have to put up with them, that's middle of the road chemo, mild nausea, a rash here or there, tiredness, those sort of things, again annoying, but not life threatening. Then you have your absolute wankers of the chemo world, yep these bad boys are the ones who take up two carpark spaces in the already full carpark at Christmas time, these are the judgemental school mums that give you that "you're not a good mother look" when you drop your kid off to school five minutes late with a bag of chips in one hand for recess and a five dollar note for lunch in the other. Yep these Chemo's are the lowest of the low, they steal your looks, they make you fat or make you skeletal, they make you bald up there, down there and all that's in between, no eyelashes or eyebrows is way worse than no hair on your head, believe me, once you lose those, it's bye bye human being, hello alien, make you vomit like a drunk on Sunday morning, well every morning for that matter, make you shit like you've had a vindaloo for breakfast, lunch and dinner or make you not shit and gift you with haemorrhoids instead, give you cystic acne, deep vein thrombosis or even death! Yes, chemo can in fact lead to your death, either as an actual side effect or as an effect from having a low immune system and perhaps dying from pneumonia or something and the list just goes on!
So you see, Chemotherapy is a complicated creature with lots of different personalities and Cancer is also a complicated creature with many different personalities and traits, but they are not one in the same. Chemo is not always cancers first choice when it's picking it's team, sometimes poor chemo is left sitting on the sideline watching the game as an observer, poor chemo is a bench warmer, it doesn't even make the reserves.
It's the old adage, don't judge a book by its cover and this applies to so many of you out there. A shout out to all those chronic disease sufferers out there, the ones that are in pain every hour of the day, but because it's inside its not real, the ones who are suffering from mental health issues, whether it be postnatal depression, ptsd and so on, the invisible killers, the ones who suffer from addiction or an eating disorder, it doesn't just apply to us cancer sufferers who get less sympathy because we look like a healthy human being, there are other people out there just like you, just like me and they're holding their hand out offering you help, we are not alone. This blog alone can bring people together, more support and less judgement. Stay fabulous rockstars and if you are going through chemo at the moment or any other form of treatment, I salute you and I'm sure our fabulous rockstars salute you too ❤️🤘🏼
My name is Lisa Magill and I have been navigating the minefield that is cancer since just months after turning 30, people have been saying to me for years that I should put my thoughts into writing and as time has progressed I thought I had left it too late, well here we are nearly 4 years in and for some unknown reason I've decided to start to write today.