So last night I had pain in the sight that my pain medication driver is inserted, so my Dad, not unlike my mum has become a part-time nurse/doctor and he has learnt how to insert the line into my stomach. I turn my medication driver off whilst he inserts the new line and then usually turn the machine back on.........well last night I forgot to turn it back on and I had to wake up a couple of times to have break through medicine because of pain, not even realising the whole time my machine was still off. Morning came and I woke up in a lot of unusual pain........ding on goes the light bulb in my head, you dickhead you forgot to turn the driver back on.
Here comes the kicker, so I am not feeling fabulous, very tired and in more pain than usual, but I have my good friend Mel and her Mum coming over to see me and go out for lunch. I feel like I've just sat through a 24 hour interview with Donald Trump, so I have a headache of epic proportions, I feel like I've just played a marathon match with Andy Murray and like I've just read War and Peace from start to finish, so I could sleep for Australia. I have to make the call, do I still do lunch feeling like death warmed up or do I make the "actual" call and cancel and feel like an absolute shit friend for cancelling at the last minute. Faaaark I hate this, alright a few deep breaths and hiiiiiiiit call, bla bla bla bla bla, hang up, feel like the worst friend ever, proceed to text her about said guilt and worst friend ever status, text a couple of I hate myself messages back and forth and then spend the rest of the day in pain, tired and feeling guilty.
Cancelling is something I try not to do, unless I am in hospital and there is no possible way that I can go out. I will try and push myself to go out, especially considering Mel was up from Sydney and I don't get to see her as often as I'd like too, but there comes a point in your illness where you have to put yourself first and everything else second, but it's a lot harder than you would think.
People say it's alright your friend will understand, they get it, but even if they do understand, that doesn't mean they don't get hurt by it. Of course they do, it's still rejection and rejection is not pleasant no matter what the reason.
So please for all the friends and family of people who are ill, whether it be cancer or some other type of chronic illness like chronic fatigue syndrome or rheumatoid arthritis, if they cancel at the last minute, pleeeeeease understand they have most likely agonised over the decision to do so for hours, picking the phone up, putting it back down, looking in the mirror giving themselves cancellation pep talks,
re-running how the conversation will go in their head. I just had a micro sleep as I type, so I would have been no good to anyone in this state.
Cancer cancellation anxiety, CCA as I like to call it. People in our position find it hard to make plans for anything, we can book that trip down to Melbourne in 3 weeks time, but there is no guarantee we'll be well enough to go, we are unable to make plans like other people can. There comes a point in our illness where we have to realise we aren't the same person we were prior to diagnosis, we can't always keep plans, we can't drink like we used to, exercise like we used to, root like we used to (sorry family), we have to come to terms with that and it's bloody hard, so my advice for friends of a "sick" person is please allow for these cancellation's without question or suggestion. If your friend has rung you saying they're just not up to it, if they thought they were up to something else they'd suggest it, so please don't do the "well how about I just come around with a boxset and bottle of Wine and chocolates, let me be your nurse, you don't have to get dressed, bla bla bla, if we wanted to do that, we'd suggest it, all that does is put us in a position where we feel we have to say yes and then feel like shit the whole time you're here, while we count the hours away until season 3 of Mad Men's over. We get it and we appreciate it, you think you're doing the right thing, the honourable thing, but sometimes we just have to say no because our bodies and our minds just aren't up to it, we love you for wanting to be with us, but it's not always doable.
To those of you who are in the unenviable position of being the ill person having to cancel, I think we all have to give ourselves a good kick up the ass and just get over it, you're not frigging Super Woman/Man, you are a human being who happens to have a terminal or chronic illness that has restraints and its limits. If your friends can't understand that, well maybe it's time you get new friends or something a little less drastic and perhaps have a chat with them, to keep them up to speed with where you are in your health status. Friends aren't mind readers, you can't just expect them to know that you've deteriorated, especially, like so many of us do, if you keep your deterioration from them.
So to the person cancelling Man the F up and to the person being cancelled on Man the F up. The End!
Stay fabulous rockstars ❤️🤘🏼
Ps. I love you and I'm sorry Mel, Marg and Alex ❤️❤️❤️
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.