I finally got around to reading some of your messages, I've still got many more to respond to, thank-you all for your ongoing love and support for a stranger from a little suburb on the outskirts of Brisbane. One common message I receive lately, is that my blogs have become more depressing or sad of late and I suppose you're right, but that's the truth of this disease. You've entered into the world of a 'terminally ill' person, not a stage one, 99% cure rate cancer blog, it's an incurable cancer blog. Terminal, essentially meaning I am dying, may not be today, tomorrow or the day after that, but one day it will take me (unless that miracle happens), believe me it's still as hard for me to say it, as it may be for you to read it. It really is a rollercoaster, the downs just take a little bit longer to ride out and as much as I wish I could be positive Pollyanna all the time, it's impossible to be that.
I promise you a truthful and honest insight into my life and I suppose sometimes I've not been as honest with you as I should have been, especially earlier in my blog. I was new to it and I didn't want to be all death, death, death. There are times that I've blogged and it's all jokes and funny analogies, but they've been more for your benefit than mine. As my blog grew I received more and more messages from cancer patients and carers etc. and they were grateful for the truthful parts, the parts that so many of us think about, the dirty laundry truth, but don't want people to know, we feel so guilty for many of our thoughts, like wishing it wasn't us with terminal cancer and that it was someone else or questioning our faith, if we say those thoughts out loud people may turn against us or be insulted, but that's what I'm here for, to be your voice of reason and truth, no matter how hard it may be to swallow.
I have numerous reasons for writing my blog, one is to connect with others and connect others in our position so we don't feel so alone, another is that it's alright to be scared about cancer and dying, you don't have to get to a point that you feel at ease with this disease, not everybody dies accepting of their fate and another was I was sick of the lack of honesty out there about terminal disease, "I do Pilates every day and only eat raw and my cancer is dying", "this disease makes you enjoy life more" blah blah blah, yes you may change your diet and ring your Mum more, but I don't want to feel guilty because I have terminal cancer and still drink the occasional Coke or eat way more cheese than that food pyramid thing says I should and as for exercising and meditation, yes that's good for you, but I can barely reach my ass nowadays to wipe it, never mind attempting a closed leg rocker or bicycle position. Yay for you and I'm all for it if you can do it. I just got sick of reading a blog and by the end of it feeling like I was the son of Lucifer himself for drinking wine. I already have fucking terminal cancer, so don't make me feel bad for going for that fourth slice of pizza or eating burnt toast.
I don't want people to read my blog and feel like they're doing terminal cancer wrong, there is no one way to live when dying, if there was there'd already be a "dying for dummies" book out there, there is no right way or wrong way to do this. Each person that goes through this is a newbie, you can only die once, so no one person is an expert. My advice, put down the how to die gracefully books and do this terminal disease however the fuck YOU want, if you want to throw a tantrum and smash a few plates, if you want to swim the English Channel, climb Mt Everest or simply spend your time at home, watching every reality show ever made, that's your choice. I never want a person to read one of my blogs and feel like they're doing something wrong. I am no Dalai Lama, certainly not a life coach or psychiatrist and most importantly I am not God or whoever your higher power is, if you even have one.
I've said it before, that as cancer patients we all too often pretend to be ok for the sake of others, we want to protect you from the truth, because the truth is just way to ugly and scary. A few people have said that they want the upbeat, hopeful Lisa back and again I get it and it doesn't upset me that they feel this way, it's because they want to protect their own feelings, if I give up, then what do those people, those strangers that care for me or garner hope from me do? How can they be strong, if I am weak? I have not given up, I have not resigned to the fact that my cancer has taken me, I'm not about to make that phone call to my cancer and congratulate it on its resounding victory, the truth of the matter is, this disease will kill me. I've never changed my thought process in relation to my feelings about my terminal diagnosis. I still hope for the best and prepare for the worst, that little saying was used very heavily in the early stages of my cancer and was definitely my brother Stevens go to, he'd come into the hospital and say it and he'd leave the hospital saying it.
I love that you beautiful people are concerned for me and worries that I may be giving up, but believe me, if or when I give up, you won't be confused about it, you'll know, because I'll tell you. I understand your fear, this is probably pretty new to you. You come across this random blog one day in your newsfeed and you've got a few minutes to spare, so you start to read and like I have done with other bloggers, you fall into their story, you feel a connection, just like I feel a connection with the Million dollar listing Los Angeles cast, you feel like you're friends and you talk about them like you are. We all do it, I couldn't tell you the amount of times I start a sentence with "I know it's not real, it's just a soap opera, but......" I talk about the Coronation street cast like they're actually related to me......a bit of advice David, it's going to come out, it always does, so maybe you should move to Emmerdale, I think the fresh country air would do you and the kids good. My family and I have been dealing with this for years now, so perhaps I can be a little blasé about my health, talking about it like I've got a cold. Many of you fabulous rockstars write to me or comment on my blog that you feel we would be best friends if we lived in the same city, state or country. Our connection feels so deep that when I have my down moments and openly blog about them, you feel like you're on the other end of a phone call from your sister or best friend and it upsets you to hear that I'm in pain or that I'm scared of dying, we've only just begun our virtual best friendship, you're not ready for it to end.
I wish we had met under different circumstances, perhaps a fashion or gossip blog, but unfortunately that's not where my life path took me, I think the bastard got distracted somewhere along route healthy and route dying and sadly that's my lot in life. I still hope to prove those doctors wrong, but I can't go along pretending like nothing's happening, for starters the pain wouldn't let me! As hard as this may be for you, just imagine how hard it is for the thousands of cancer patients going through this disease, their family and friends, if you can feel this emotionally connected to essentially a complete stranger, imagine how their hearts are breaking.
One things for sure, whenever I do finally kick the bucket, I'll have way more friends, both virtual and real going out than I did coming in 😉. I receive daily prayers and support from thousands of you fabulous rockstars and that gives me comfort that I never thought I would have. I am so thankful for all of you and your genuine concern, you take the time out of your day to read my biblical sized blogs and then you make loving comments, my family, friends and I are so thankful that you feel I'm worth that time and energy.
Stay fabulous you amazing rockstars ❤️🤘🏼
A couple of photos my cousin Tracy sent me the other day, they're blurred, but can you pick me?
So here I am nearly a week later and the most recent news we've received about my cancer is still just as hard to swallow as a wheatgrass shot laced with pigeon poop, it never gets easier, if anything it gets harder. Oh and did I mention it's 4.30am, no, not an early start, I haven't even slept, what with my increased steroid dosage and the pain from something like 30 tumours in my abdomen and pelvis, sleeping evades me lately.
I'm still walking around dazed and confused with a constant look plastered on my face that could best be described as something resembling Alicia Silverstones expression on the Clueless DVD cover, except of course, much less blonde, slim and Hollywood C lister, for those of you beautiful rockstars that are reading this now and thinking "who the fuck is Alicia Silverstone"? What the fuck is Clueless and what is this DVD thing you're talking about? I feel sorry for you and I highly recommend getting more of your Gen Y girlfriends over to watch a download, come on wot r u w8in 4? Snapchat or FaceTime or text your girls to get their squatting butts over to your place right now and you can thank me later.
The last blog I did, I discussed my fear of death and the unknown afterlife or existence of heaven, even though I consider myself to have strong faith and people are amazingly supportive and loving, one thing I probably doubt or admire is their unwavering belief that there is something after all of this, it's even better than being here on earth and they're not scared of their mortality. I don't know if you can truly know what your feelings about death are until you're faced with it. Before this bastard of a disease, I had no doubt that there was a heaven, but now that I'm faced with my own death, that part of the dying process isn't so certain. Sit in a room with your Doctor, hear the words, you have cancer and you only have weeks, maybe months to live and let's see how at peace you are with it then? I yearn for that peace of mind I used to have, I'm not saying I've lost faith, I'm simply saying my religious GPS hasn't had its recent update and hopefully once it has I will be back on track and be comforted by the thought that one day, I will be reunited with my loved ones.
In a time that we have a President Trump elect and a bunch of women with big asses, sex tapes and a husband who thinks he's Jesus or a clothes designer or a singer or the future President or whatever it is he wants to be this week dictating what lipstick we wear and how to wear it, here I am trying to figure out how I'm going to keep going, keep breathing, keep moving forward. How am I going to push through this time? Everyone keeps saying, you've done it before, you'll do it again, but I've never had this much disease before and with each radiation, the less effective it seems to be, eventually it won't work at all. People are so positive that I'll make it, but they're not the ones inside my diseased body, my body has been battling against itself for so long, eventually one of us is going to have to give in and looking at my recent scans, it seems it's me that's reaching for the white flag.
My days have consisted of constant pain, pain "relief" (in inverted comma's because there is no relief, with every injection my pain remains the same, but the tiredness and confusion momentarily distracts my body from it), lethargy, laxatives, sleeping, watching enough reality TV and HBO series that I could pick any True Blood cast members ass from a line up and probably the worst thing I've done over the last week is ignore phone calls and text messages.
I've withdrawn from my friends, which I know is wrong, they only want to support me, but the sheer energy it takes to make my thoughts connect with my mouth is too much. I love them and they love me, my longest term best friend, my number one in my squad, (hey if Taylor Swift can have one, why can't I?) is Rebecca (known as "Bec" or in the crossfit circle as "Coops"). Rebecca has been by my side through it all, from the time my Mum found a squashed cigarette in my Maths folder (I swear Mum, I was minding it for Bec) to the time I lost my first love to his cousin's best friend (can anyone say Nepotism?), to the time I rang her hiding in a person's front yard after running from my ex boyfriend during a particularly heated argument we were having in the car, to probably the second hardest phone call I've ever had to make, telling her that I had cancer and then the hardest, calling her to tell her my cancer had come back and I was terminal. Rebecca has been there, from pimples to palliative care, she's been my rock and here I am building an emotional wall protecting me from her and my friends. I mean, who does that? Who treats their friends like enemies? Me, I do.
As a young terminal cancer patient I have so many thoughts about it all and I often feel guilty for thinking them, like the "heaven" question. When I'm dealing with the post traumatic stress of the most recent scan, I often have a truly terrible thought, and before I divulge it let me make a disclaimer on behalf of myself and Emma, we DO NOT hate or resent elderly women, it's just that sometimes when life gives you one dried up lemon, it's difficult to hear a person whose had an abundance of fruit baskets throughout their life complain about it, we simply wish we were that woman, if anything I suppose you could say we envy them. As I sit in my GP's waiting room with my pain driver pumping my life's juice into me, with the word "palliative" blazoned on the front of it and the 90 something year old woman sits opposite me complaining about her cataract, I can't help but think, be grateful you made it. You were one of the lucky ones and I know it's wrong, but this shituation takes your mind to dark places, thankfully I read my friends blog "Dear Melanoma" and she mentioned that she too has the same thoughts and it's one of the reasons she doesn't like to share a room in hospital with elderly women, because it's a physical reminder that she's' not going to get to make memories over the next 60 years. Emma, in her mid 20's, is in hospital as a lab rat trialling yet another drug, trying in vain to find something that will either cure her or give her more time, meanwhile Betty in bed 320, is buzzing the nurse for the fifth time to complain about the air conditioning (Betty is a fabrication, purely for editorial purposes, sadly Emma is not).
Believe me in a few days when the inoperable tumour dust has settled, I'll regret thinking these thoughts and I'll definitely regret publicly posting them, but as I always say, I've promised you warts and all and to start holding back from you now would be wrong.
It's simple, I'm in love with life and to die, is to take away my greatest love.
I hope in coming days that I will be in a better place, I've made contact with my councillor, so hopefully that will help and I got out of bed today and had a shower, so that's good and I didn't go back to bed, I actually made it into the lounge room to watch TV. So whilst myself, my friends and family face the latest plot in our own personal soap opera, I thank-you for your love and support, with one radiation down and two more to go, we can only hope and pray that it works, because quite frankly if it doesn't, I'm fucked. Stay fabulous rockstars ❤️🤘🏼
My BFF Rebecca ❤️❤️❤️
Here we are once again, back in "that" place I just don't want to be. Mum asked me a very telling question today, "So, are you still wanting your funeral down in Sydney?", speaks volumes doesn't it. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that question either, it's completely reasonable in our current situation and she knows that I've always wanted my funeral to be "my" way, not some funeral director in a wide brimmed hat and a chignon bun from White Lady funerals way. Today though, practicality wasn't high on my priority list, number one was to walk around dazed and confused, wondering why we're back in this place again, the place of death.
I mean wasn't a cure supposed to have been found by now? I've stretched it out to 3 years, I've given you frigging cancer scientists enough time and frigging donations, so why are we still here? I've been frozen in this unknown state for what feels like forever, haven't some bloody mice in China had their cancer cured from some sort of trial somewhere in the bowels of Beijing? You can have a face transplant now and I read somewhere that some Russian guy has just volunteered to be the first human to trial a whole head transplant and still we can't manage to kill little lumps that keep popping up inside my body, how does this make sense?
In recent days I've had an episode where I was curled up in pain, with my undies around my ankles, on the toilet floor, banging the wall for my Mum or Dad to get me an enema to help with a blockage from my kilogram of pelvic tumours pressing on my rectum and causing a slight blockage, I knew it was coming, I knew it was getting worse again, but it still doesn't prepare you.
It doesn't matter how long you have "terminal" attached to you, it never becomes easier, you never just get used to it. I know so many of you write how strong I am, an inspiration, but really I'm not, I'm as shit scared as I was that Thursday September the 5th 2013 in that little ultrasound room when the technician gave me the "poor you" your cancers back puppy dog eyes.
I said to Mum today and I almost felt wrong saying it, but it's the truth, so here goes, I actually wish someone was dying with me, I know how horrible that sounds, but for fuck sake women can't manage to go to the toilet by themselves on a night out, so why would it be so wrong of me to not want to go out (die) alone? I know it's horrible to wish death on someone else, but it's not like I'm saying to Mum take an overdose of my morphine and come along for the ride. I'm simply saying it would be a comforting thought to know you weren't going to be facing this alone. I know everyone who has strong faith says that the other side is better than this side, but what if it's nothing? What if I die and that's it, the thought of not going on somewhere else after this I think is what scares me the most and yes I know I believe in God and I say I have strong faith, but I'm sorry; until someone goes over to the other side with a go pro attached to their head and comes back with concrete proof of this so-called "other side" or "heaven" I simply can't commit to heaven's existence. The thought of not being reconnected with your loved ones once you die scares the shit out of me. I so desperately want to be so blind in my faith that I believe that we will be reunited in years to come, because it would give me the comfort I so desperately crave, but my fears just override all of it.
I sometimes wonder would it be easier if I was in my 80's and my loved ones had already passed away? Maybe then the thought of a Great Gatsby themed welcoming party upon my arrival at my new home in the sky would be more likely? Maybe I'd be looking forward to it, because the ones I love have already gone.
All of these thoughts and considerations swimming around my head, all day, all night.
I'm roaming around at 2am in between crying and begging and praying for this to be one big joke, for it to all go away. Scared to go to sleep in case I'm not going to wake up and the words kilo of tumours keep whirling around in my head like an annoying fucking mosquito in your bedroom at night.....please, I'm begging you, just leave me alone. You've had your fun, now pack your bags and move on! Looking down at my bloated tumour filled belly and asking why? Why did this happen? Imagining tomorrow without me in it, how can everyone else still be here at some point and I won't? It doesn't make sense, it's just one big mind fuck on Viagra. It doesn't matter how long you fight this bastard of a disease, you still go to bed thinking you'll wake up tomorrow and everything will have miraculously disappeared, hope is so pivotal, it keeps you going, but I don't seem to face my reality.
Lisa! You're dying! Accept it and move on already! I just can't!
I wish I could promise you fabulous rockstars that tomorrow will be a better day, that I will be more positive, but I'm not in the habit of making promises I can't keep. I can only hope that tomorrow will come and if it does that I am more positive about my situation. Thank-you all for your love, support, positive vibes and prayers. I hope that you can appreciate that I don't know how I will behave in coming days, I may go AWOL for a while or it could be all things as normal, I just don't know.
Either way, stay fabulous rockstars ❤️🤘🏼
I've spoken before about a moment I had standing at the kitchen bench looking over our loungeroom and watching my Mum, Dad, brother Steven, Marianne my sister-in-law and Ava my then 2 year old niece. They were just going about a normal night, sitting and chatting, laughing at Ava, whilst the TV was on in the background going unnoticed and in that moment I realised one day, that will be their new normal, going about life without me in it, they won't be thinking of me or calling out to me to put the kettle on while I'm in the kitchen, I will be the metaphorical TV, there, but not really.
There will be times like Birthday's and Christmas' when I will be remembered, when they'll talk about how I was the hardest person to buy for when it came to presents and as much as they think it's because I just can't be pleased, I think it's more to do with the fact that I've never learned to accept gifts graciously. I'm not a good receiver, because I never feel deserved of the gift, a great giver, yes, there's just always been something that doesn't sit right with me when receiving a gift, like I'm unworthy of it or their money could be spent on something more important. I've had to learn over recent months especially to receive gifts better, I mean, I've been gifted some beautiful gifts from some fabulous rockstars, I was gifted my dream trip to Broome by Dreams2live4 and given the trip to the Melbourne Cup by Emirates, so I've had to receive some pretty bloody big gifts of late. I've learnt, that to be able to give, you must be able to receive, because that wonderful warm feeling that comes over me when I see the happiness on a person's face upon receiving my gift, should be experienced by everyone at some point in their life and if I don't allow people to give, I am depriving them of the best gift of all, that warm fuzzy feeling and moment of pure gratefulness and joy when a person sees a gift for the first time. Gifts don't have to be physical, expensive or huge, just smiling at the lonely man on a park bench is a gift, for that may be the only human interaction that person has all day, all week. I suppose "giving" would be my favourite pass time and by writing this blog I'm giving myself to you, I feel this is the greatest gift I've ever given.
This will be my legacy, this will be something that when I'm long gone and nobody remembers the girl who guilted her way into the Melbourne Cup and terminally fabulous is just a couple of words that no longer resonates with people, it will still be there for my family, my friends, my loved ones and maybe the odd google search recipient, to look back on when they need a virtual hug. This has been my greatest gift so far, I don't think there's much more a person could give of themselves than their complete truth, to bare ones soul publicly has been a gift for me also. I have gained so much joy from fabulous rockstars that write and tell me stories of how my blog has helped them or their loved one get through the day. There is no possible way to describe the feeling you get when you open an email from a complete stranger and they bare their soul to you in return. How amazing is that? People actually feel safe enough disclosing their deepest and darkest thoughts and feelings to me? Yes, with this gift comes sadness, stories of death and devastation, but that warm fuzzy feeling I get from the good email helps to take the sting away from the sadness.
There will be times when my friends will laugh at the stupid things I've said or done over the years and when the tears from laughter dry on their cheeks, I will be returned to that little drawer in the back of their mind, waiting to be stumbled across again accidentally when looking for something else.
I do not want to be a memory, I don't want to be talked about and I certainly don't want to be forgotten. I want to be given a gift that to most sane people is seemingly unachievable, I want the gift of life, the gift of a cure, a miracle, because I'm not ready to be a fading memory.
Stay fabulous rockstars and give somebody the gift of an unexpected smile tomorrow, you never know how big an impact that one small gesture could have on someone's life ❤️🤘🏼
I wrote this blog last week, just a couple of days before I flew down to Melbourne for the trip of a lifetime, but I didn't really want to post it in case people got concerned about me pushing myself to go to the cup, believe me, my health comes before any amount of celebrities caged in one area and I would never put myself at risk just to grasp a glimpse of the girls from the block.....go Sasha and Julia!!!!!!
So there I was last Sunday in excruciating pain, once again doing the should I or shouldn't I go to the hospital argument in my head. I'm in my bedroom in insurmountable pain, the type of pain that every time I attempt to inhale, it feels like my liver is being stabbed by a blunt rusted knife and my lungs are being suffocated by the sheer size of my tumours. The problem is, I've been in this pain before and it has subsided after an hour and I've been in this pain before and within hours I've been told I'm not going to make it through the night due to the amount of blood loss I've had from a tumour bleed, so which one is it? Is it the "l'm going to die pain" or the "it's going to subside pain?". I don't have X-Ray glasses that can see into my abdomen and tell me if it's a tumour bleed, a tumour has popped, tumour necrosis, it's just that my bowels have moved forcing a tumour to hit a nerve causing pain, tumour growth, constipation, ascites and the list goes on, so it's no wonder I have this back and forth with myself every time I feel pain and then my poor parents get it as well. I'm usually asking them, what do you think, yes or no? To which they reply you can only tell us that, we can't feel the pain and then I get annoyed at them because they won't make the decision for me, then when they say, "we think you should be in hospital", I usually object anyway, the poor bastards can't win.
So on Monday night I was doing my usual back and forth, I took a few breakthrough pain injections and they did nothing, that was it, my little argument in my head wasn't an option, the pain had me in a choke hold and I couldn't tap out. Time to go to emergency, no time to ring the ambulance, just get me there. In my mind this time I was dying, every bump, every turn, I was yelping like a neglected dog in pain. Anyone who knows me, knows that if hospital can be avoided, I will avoid it, avoid it at nearly all cost. So this car trip is a good 30 minute ride and I felt every second, pain was seeping from every pore, if I cry it's more painful and all I wanted to do was ball, so every now and then crying would start and this pain would rush over me, causing distress in my breathing, in turn causing even more pain. My poor Dad watching on helpless trying to drive the car at the same time as holding my hand like I was giving birth in the seat next to him, I have a feeling a few red lights were ignored that night and the speedo may have been in overdrive.
We finally arrived at the hospital which I am
not going to name as my experience with emergency departments in Australia are normally 10/10. The triage nurse or admin person at the counter usually sees the pain written all over my face and contorted body upon arrival and rushes out with a wheelchair or directs us through the hallowed doors that lead to triage, nope not this hospital. They watch as you are dragged to the counter in pain and proceed with the usual questioning as if you're just at the post office posting a package, not at the Emergency department begging for relief. At one point I was yelping and the admin woman simply said there's a seat over there, pointing in the direction of the waiting room. I couldn't speak with pain so I tried to motion that it was more painful to sit and then try to get back up than to remain standing.
On this occasion the triage experience was quicker than previous occasions, but I feel there is a sensitivity chip lacking in the front desk at this hospital. I don't know if it's how they've been trained, so that they don't become emotional or affected by what may appear before them, but one things for sure I've been to ED's all over Australia and each time I give this one the benefit of the doubt, I am left feeling neglected, disappointed and a nuisance. No person that approaches an emergency department with a genuine illness or medical issue should be made to feel that they are an annoyance, do you really think doubled over in pain in your waiting room is where I imagined my Sunday going? Do you think I'm here just for fun, for a laugh?
You see I already suffer from ED inferiority complex (EDIC), I don't think it's an actual recognised complex, but it's what I call it anyway. I never feel that my pain or illness is worthy of taking up an ED bed, so when I'm faced with an uncaring person at the counter, who tutts when she sees me walking in because she's standing there with her heated bolognese from last nights dinner and would rather be splattering sauce down her chin than take the time to assess my case appropriately, it pisses me off. I've had an occasion where we've been ambulanced in and people have been nothing but downright rude to us, my brother and his wife rushed to the hospital to see what was going on and the admin lady came out to us in the hall yelling whose family dare take up waiting room space and get out there and move them! Totally understandable, but just ask them to go to the café politely, you don't need to publicly shame them for caring for their sister, they also kept forcing me to sit in a chair and I kept telling them I couldn't sit, I went to the toilet, came back out and they had given the bed away and left a chair for me to sit on, even though they knew I was physically unable to sit. On this occasion my Mum actually ended up in tears and she's a stoic woman, it takes a lot to make her cry, but she just felt that the hospital did nothing but make us feel like a nuisance from the time we arrived and by the way, it wasn't us who sent us to ED,: it was my GP who told us to rush to the hospital, even after I begged her to not make me go and I would be fine.
My ED inferiority complex is really bad, I always believe that someone else is worse off than me, from the 21 year old with alcohol poisoning to the ice addict scratching their flesh to the bone, the little girl with a fish-hook stuck in her finger to the bloke who was building an IKEA flat pack and obviously didn't follow instructions properly because he now has a piece of MDF attached to his forearm and don't even get me started on the woman who came in with lock-jaw, let's just say her partner was slightly embarrassed explaining that one to the triage nurse. I've seen it all and I always feel they should be seen before me, so to have ignorant and uncaring Triage nurses, basically choosing my fate just adds to my already uncontrollable "EDIC". A wonderful emergency department nurse once told me after I had told her about my EDIC, that I in fact was probably more important than most in the waiting room, because unlike the fool who thought it was a smart idea to try riding a unicycle on the balcony of a 5 storey building, you didn't choose to get cancer and you certainly didn't choose to be terminal and have tumour bleeds that require blood transfusions, embolisations and radiation to stop them, this is out of your hands, so we should be saving you, keeping you around as long as we can. Whereas I think, because I'm already "dying", why would you want to waste valuable time and resources on keeping me going? Only to remain an ongoing strain on the already struggling health system, it simply doesn't make sense, to which she replied, do you think the man that we've just treated for falling down the stairs and spraining his ankle isn't a strain on our health system? He's an alcoholic, his disease is and will continue to be a strain on our health system, until he either gets irreparable liver damage and dies or decides to get help, either way his alcoholism will continue to be a strain on public health resources, just like yours does, so why should your life be any less important than the next? We are all human and we all deserve equal and fair access to the public health system. That nurse was so right and one day, maybe, I'll realise that saving my life is just as important as saving yours.
Remember A&E is for emergencies, not ingrown toenails or runny noses, but if you have a serious health issue, don't suffer from EDIC, get your sick butt to your local hospital and hopefully you'll be greeted by a fabulous triage like I have been so many times before. One rotten egg, shouldn't spoil the rest of them, 99.9% of Triage's are fabulous! A shout out to all you fab Triage and ED admin out there!
Stay Fabulous Rockstars ❤️🤘🏼
Just over 2 years ago, I woke up to bright lights, loud beeping machines, Doctors and Nurses running around frantically and my then partner and Mum were in tears. I was in the Emergency department and had just regained consciousness.
Rewind an hour and I was on my bedroom floor, tears running down my face and my body was contorted in unimaginable or indescribable pain. Paramedic's were called, I was cannulated in my bedroom and I was administered morphine, carried out to the ambulance and was continually fed morphine, still no relief, more morphine, still no relief, more morphine and this continued until my arrival at hospital, where the same process continued. One minute I was rolling around in exponential pain and the next my loved ones were screaming to doctors that my eyes had rolled into the back of my head.
Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep,all over red rover, kaput, game over, St Peter had my wings on express order, beep beep beep beep, hang on, bloody hell, she's done it again! I was revived!
Yep, I literally came back to life, I was admitted to the Cancer ward at Gosford Hospital and the pain continued, bladder stopped working from my pelvic tumours, left foot was paralysed from a tumour causing nerve damage and the nausea, Oh My God, the nausea. You get nausea from the copious amount of pain relief you're being administered, so in between the pain, your vomiting relentlessly. I was so drugged up that I wasn't able to communicate properly. Family and friends had gathered from all over the state and all I remember in between rambling and hallucinating was repeatedly asking "am I dying?", why else would people be visiting at 3am in the morning, I was obviously dying!
I asked my mum "am I dying?" And she responded, only I could determine that. At this point Mum was in that place that people often talk about, when a loved one is in so much pain that there's nothing you can do and every painful scream is like a dagger to your heart , she was actually praying for it all to end, please just take her, no more pain, please God just take her! Dad was in QLD and a nurse had rung him and told him to get in the car NOW, because there's a good chance Lisa's not going to be alive if you leave it any longer. Dad, Steven, Marianne and Ava did that 10 hour drive in what I can only imagine would have been in a cloud of disbelief, the whole trip was probably a blur, they got there though and I held on.
Doctors crying in the hallway telling my loved ones that there was no more they could do, "Lisa won't make it through the weekend, take this time to tell her you love her, tell her the things you never got the chance too, even though she may not understand, still take the time to do it". My local priest came in and I questioned his presence, he was there to give the last rites. Now I don't know about you, but that's pretty confronting!
I made it through the weekend again and thankfully the wonderful doctor's at Gosford hospital decided to put me in for radiation to stop my tumour bleed that had caused all of this pain. After the radiation I started a new tablet chemo, but it immediately made me violently ill, I couldn't eat and I had no appetite, which wasn't good as I was only 30 something kilos already. The doctors ceased the chemo as it affected me so badly.
Then came my favourite part, the talk, palliative nurses come into your room and they have a sweet but sad look on their face. They introduce themselves and then come the words, the words that have been hanging in the air like a stale fart that just won't disappear, the words that you knew would eventually be said, but you never want to hear. "Lisa, you're dying, we know you know you're terminal, but we need to discuss community nursing and palliative visits, things are bad and they're not going to get any better". My response "how long do you think I'll have?" This question is such a stupid one, no one can accurately predict your death timeline, but it's an immediate reaction, as soon as you hear this, that's your first thought. It doesn't matter that you've already been told you're terminal, that you're dying, when you're told it's days or weeks away, it's fucking scary, it's worse than your worst nightmare, no words can truly describe the feeling of being told it's only down hill from here. No matter how many times I've been told you won't make it through the night, you won't live a week, it NEVER gets easier, you never really accept it.
So in that one hospital stay I was told I wouldn't make it through the night, then the weekend and the response from palliative nurses to my question "How long?"......."You won't make it to Christmas" and here we are two years later, we are still going, still gripping on to life by the skin of my teeth, hanging on the edge of my cancer cliff by one hand and each finger is slowly slipping.
Cancer isn't just a bitch, it's a hateful mofo with a huge chip on its shoulder and it's only purpose is to cause death and destruction. It rips through family's like an unannounced tornado and the souls that it destroys in its path are left to clean up and repair the irreparable. Cancer is one scary opponent, we are all light weights fighting in a heavyweight division.
I'm no fool, I know one day the Grim Reaper will tap me on the shoulder and probably say some smart ass comment about borrowed time, but as long as my weakening body will allow me, I will keep running, dipping and dodging the dealer of death until I can run no more.
Stay fabulous Rockstars ❤️🤘🏼
So many people ask me "how does it feel going through Cancer alone?" to which I usually reply with a contorted face, "what do you mean alone? I have my family, my friends and my new terminally fabulous family. What they mean is how do you do it without a boyfriend/girlfriend or a husband/wife?
Weeeeelllll I did it with a partner for the first 2 years and it certainly didn't make my life any easier. What is it with the world that we so often think that a person needs a partner to be able to get through not only the big things in life, but the every day struggles that come with life as well? It's like the 'single parent' concern that people have. How is she ever going to do this on her own? Those kids are going to miss out on so much? As if it's not already hard enough on the poor woman, as if these thoughts have not already been spinning around this woman's head, I sometimes think half the battle is worrying about what everyone else is going to think about "your" divorce, yes "your" divorce, not your Mum's, not your sisters, not your nextdoor neighbours, "your" divorce. What the "judgey Judy's" have to say should not affect what I imagine is one of the most difficult time in person's life.
I've mentioned before that I had a relationship and it wasn't just a fly by relationship, it was 14 years of my life, I was 19 turning 20 when I met "the love of my life" and boy was it "interesting".
I would have married him in the first few years, but unfortunately he was more interested in trying to keep all of the women in his life happy, yep, we're not talking a mammas boy or his sisters, we're talking girlfriends, bits on the side, whatever you want to call them, they were most likely floating along blissfully unaware that he was making women fall in love with him in every port, just as I was.
Things came to a blow when one of his lovely ladies contacted me on my mobile, yep, she must have known about me to get my number from his phone, I mean he didn't have me listed as girlfriend on his contacts list, so she actively sought out my name to get my number. Let's call her "Kathy", Kathy called and told me a few home truths, this was a week before I went to the doctors and found out I had cancer. I immediately flew up to my Mum and Dads as I still lived in NSW and they lived in QLD, I didn't tell them what he had done, but I needed a bit of space and a lot of head space.
Basically when I found out about my cancer, the other issue got swept under the rug and he became my full-time carer. Let's call him Mike. Mike was always out somewhere, his phone never had any call records or messages saved, there were so many clues that I pretty much knew about, but I had the Big C to think about, I didn't have enough mental capacity to think about the Big C, let alone his Big D and where he was dipping it and "big" is an over exaggeration, let's say his Medium D. The more time I have to think about it, little things stand out to me that at the time didn't.
For all his faults Mike stood up and took charge when my disease became a full-time thing. He was the one who would run around at all hours of the night trying to find me whatever chemo food craving I was having, he wiped up my vomit and he was at every appointment and treatment that I had, sure enough we would always come out of the appointment with a completely different opinion of what the oncologist had said, which would lead to arguments and upset, but he was there.
My answer to those that ask if I feel scared or more alone facing terminal cancer now that I no longer have my partner would change from day to day or what my hormones are up to. Most of the time I feel totally fine with it, I have my Mum, my Dad, family and friends and they're so supportive that I don't even get a chance to even think about not having my boyfriend there and then there are some nights like last night that I cried at the thought of him not being in my life anymore. Basically it's the same as any normal break-up. You have your good days and you have your bad days, the cancer is just there, a break-up is a break-up.
I suppose the only downside in my situation to other people's break-ups, is the thought of dying alone or would a guy ever want to be with me knowing that there could be cans of soup in his pantry that have longer use by dates than me. Why would you want to date someone who has an uncertain expiry date?
Nobody wants to go through cancer alone and no-one should have to, but just like in life, I don't need a man to survive and I don't need a man to get me through my illness, my support network is more than enough.
Just remember at the end of the day if you're going through a break-up, whether you have cancer or you're moving on in life in general, you can have all the people in the world around you egging you on and offering hugs on demand, but the person who gets you through, is you. You are the person who will use your spirit and your inner strength to kick this break-up bitch in the ass, it's you who gets you through, no-one else. Just like an alcoholic or a smoker won't give up until they're ready, no matter how many people in their life are begging them to quit, until that person is in that place mentally to quit, they won't quit, just as in a break-up, you will get over it when you are ready and you're entitled to miss someone, even if they weren't necessarily the best thing for you, that's life.
I don't need no man to get through this shit fight, but it would be nice to have someone to spoon at night occasionally. Stay fabulous rockstars ❤️🤘🏼
A few old pics, out with the old and in with the new ❤️
They say you should never look a gift horse in the mouth or in my case the bloated stomach.
As you know I've been gifted the dream of a lifetime by Emirates to attend their Birdcage Marquee as a guest on Melbourne Cup Day.
I have been imagining my attendance at this event since I learnt what the Birdcage was. The picture I had in my head was of me with my pre cancer gloriously long shiny hair swishing side from side, with gorgeous headpiece meticulously perched atop. I was svelte and tanned, with my stunning designer dress and heels, I was so stunning that Jennifer Hawkins herself hid behind a posh porta loo so that she didn't have to be compared to my gloriousness in the social section of the papers the following day. So that was my idea.
A few years ago I was all set to attend the Cup, not as a birdcage guest, as a corporate guest and I bought this amazing dress. Unfortunately I didn't get to attend because of flight cancellations and logistics. This dress has been hanging in my wardrobe ever since and now that I have finally been given this amazing opportunity, that stunning dress? Well it is now four times too small for me.
This beautiful picture of me swanning around the birdcage with people like Bec Cartwright getting whiplash from staring at my fabulousness, is not what the actual reality is going to be. I now have a bullfrog chin/neck rather than my pre-cancer strong jaw line with not even the glimpse of a second chin, well my hair.....at least I have some and my biggest issue is my ever swelling, ever changing belly. I can put a skirt on in the morning and by 1pm the skirt will no longer zip up, due to steroidal swelling and ascites (tumour fluid), one morning I'll wake up looking like I'm 6 months pregnant and the next day I look like I'm only 3 months pregnant. So you see the dress issue is an actual issue, have you ever noticed any stylish dress that would be suitable for the cup, is either fitted or boned? So the chances of finding a stylish dress that allows for a changing body throughout the day, well the chances are slim, something I haven't been for a very long time.
I went dress shopping with my Mum the other day and it was like our own version of Freaky Friday all over. For years I've traipsed from shop to shop, change room to change room, trying to squeeze Mum into dresses that simply wouldn't go near her, it used to actually upset me that she had so much trouble finding a dress, now it's the other way round. I almost need to bring WD40 with me to get me into dresses in double digits sizing.....NOTHING and I mean NOTHING came close to my beautiful Melbourne Cup dress that hangs in my wardrobe, waiting to go to the ball or in my case the Cup. At one point I was wrestling with a dress, pulling it over my head desperately trying to not get my make-up on it, did I mention I also sweat like a whore in church? I don't know if it's my hormones or if it's the meds, but I sweat profusely all the time, I could have run a marathon before cancer and not had a drop of sweat escape from my pores, now it pours out of me if I walk from the loungeroom to the kitchen and no, I don't live in a mansion. So I was wrestling with this straight jacket of a dress and Mum comes to the change room door and asks my opinion of the dress she's wearing, yep, you guessed it, it's the exact same frigging dress and she looks absolutely stunning.......cue every possible emotion a daughter can feel when their Mum looks hotter than they do, I think a bit of The Divinyl's "I'm jealous" was literally on repeat in my mind.
I realise some of you out there will be thinking, you can't please this bloody girl, but believe me when I say that I am more than grateful for the generosity of so many of you out there, especially Emirates. I sort of liken it to getting married, for many of you beauties out there the thought of getting married has been with you since you knew what it was, drawing big meringue dresses, with tiaras and 10 foot long veils, 10 tier cake, oh and maybe throw a groom in the mix as well. Well that's sort of what it's like for me and my love affair with the Birdcage and Melbourne Cup, I used to draw fascinator's on the back of my exercise books at school and run to the library at school so I could see the race that stops the nation, even if it meant missing the first train home after school and hanging around a Train Station platform for another hour, I would not miss that race that stops the Nation for anybody, then of course I would eagerly wait for the evening news download on all of the fashions on the field and the Newspaper the next day, because back in my school days the Internet was still only in its early days, so we didn't have live streaming and fashion blogs. So imagine you suddenly balloon, have 2 or 3 chins, you are so bloated, that it is not only painful, it literally takes your breath away, (the tumours in my stomach sit high in my abdomen and push on my lungs, literally suffocating me) and your wedding is tomorrow. I'm sure when you were picturing your special big day, you didn't envisage a completely different looking person to yourself, well that's what it's like for me, my body and my face change shape and appearance from one day to the next and it's just sad that I'm not feeling my best physically or emotionally for my "special" day.
I know I should be screaming in joy from the rooftops, but I'm scared that the dress that I've bought will not zip up on the day and if it doesn't, I simply cannot go, because I literally have nothing else in my wardrobe that is Cup suitable and stretchy enough to allow for my ever expanding belly. I've also had the amazing offer from a fabulous milliner to make my head piece on the day and I'm scared that I'll get his piece and then change my dress at the last minute for comfort reasons.
Anyway, as I've said before, just because I have cancer, just because I am terminal, does not mean that my insecurities have just disappeared into thin air. So many people in my position begin to say things like appearance doesn't matter, there are so many more important things in life, like actually living, well I'm not one of them. I still have my insecurities and I always will, right up until the end I'll probably be checking my reflection in the doctor's stethoscope and if you unlock my phone you'll be greeted by your own face, because I'm constantly looking at myself on my camera in my phone.
Whatever happens, I just hope my face and stomach are on a less bloated day, I can do my zip up and breathe the whole day, if that happens I will be ecstatic. Thank-you fabulous rockstars for getting me into the magical land of unicorns, WAGS and the "beautiful" people and keep your fingers crossed that Megan Gale or Jen Hawkins don't rock up in the same dress as me, because that would just open up a whole other can of worms, that I just couldn't deal with on top of everything else, on the upside it would make a good blog!
Stay fabulous rockstars ❤️🤘🏼🐎
Euthanasia, just saying the word or writing it in this case is often seen as controversial. It's the debate as old as time, should we be allowed to choose whether to live or die? I realise this blog could lose me some of you fabulous rockstars, but please know that this is only an opinion and to be honest my thoughts on this topic have changed regularly from supporting it to not supporting it, just as often as I dye my hair.
I watched a piece on TV on Sunday evening and I felt compelled to finally allow myself to post about it. I've felt it is simply too polarising to write about or too confronting and I haven't wanted to insult or upset people. I have had a blog about euthanasia sitting for months in my notes, every now and then I add or take opinions out, each time I hear it begging for me to copy, paste and post and each time as I select all and copy, I end up hitting close. Left unloved, unwanted and unpublished, just like in real life, euthanasia gets swept under the rug......again.
The euthanasia debate is like the legalising of drugs debate or the legalising of gay marriage debate, usually pulled out by some politician that's trying to distract the public from something else that's going on that they don't want you to notice, so hey, let's bring up the euthanasia debate again, that'll distract them!
There will be a vote later on this month in relation to the cross-party private members bill, deciding whether the voluntary euthanasia bill will be debated in the South Australian Parliament. There's something a little different about it this time, this time there has been a campaign with a real human being featured, putting a face to the pain and suffering. Kylie Monaghan, like myself has spent much of the last few years struggling to live, struggling to fight, struggling to beat Cancer. Sadly Kylie passed away on Saturday, so she will never get to see whether the campaign led to a debate that could potentially change the landscape of terminal illness and the right to die with dignity, the legacy she so greatly wanted to leave for people like me.
Like Kylie I understand why people want the right to choose whether to live or die and like Kylie I am or sadly in her case Kylie was, willing to fight right up until her last breath. I can't ever imagine myself having the strength to say I'm ready to go, never mind voluntarily euthanising myself, but until you've heard the words "there's no more we can do", until you've fought so hard through the deepest pits of pain, sickness and mental and physical exhaustion or watched a loved one do so, the truth is, you really don't have the pre-requisites required to make the decision for thousands of dying human beings, but sadly that is the way of the world. Major life changing decisions are made by only a chosen few, whilst the rest of us just have to swallow their decision.
I realise that people fear, like legalising marijuana for medicinal purposes, legalising euthanasia, would open Pandora's box, leaving it open to being abused or misappropriated, but with the right legislation and restrictions in place, you shouldn't be able to abuse it.
According to Palliative Care Australia, 4% of palliative patients pain cannot be eased or relieved, not all pain can be alleviated, believe me I know. I am on a pain driver 24 hours a day and I still need added pain relief, morning and night in tablet form, as well as injecting pain relief throughout the day. Despite having enough drugs going through my system to make a Colombian Drug Lord jealous, I still have pain, all day, everyday. Granted it's managed pain, but pain all the same, it's still there and if I didn't have this pain plan in place through my palliative doctor, I simply would not be able to function, breathe, walk, talk, you name it and pain affects it.
I've been at that point, I've been at the point where I was in so much pain that the doctor approached my Mum and told her, that with the amount of morphine I was being given and it still not helping my pain, that I would simply die from palliative sedation, this is the current practice for palliative care in Australia. Now I may not remember everything about that night, as I was as high as a kite, but I do remember the unrelenting pain, losing use of my left leg and bladder, rolling around in a hospital bed moaning and I know firsthand that palliative sedation simply does not cut it. It can take days/weeks for a person to finally die this way and the entire time their pain is right there with them. I know, I was drugged to the point that a man with the girth of Santa Claus would be rendered dead and still the pain was there along with the "pain relief" induced nausea, so in between slowly dying, in pain that cannot be eased, you are also vomiting endlessly, to the point you have nothing left to bring up, you're not eating and you're probably not getting many fluids, other than the IV, if they're still running the IV fluids.
Palliative sedation is basically giving a patient morphine over a period of time, until the person's body simply shuts down and they die. As I said, doctors and nurses so often say about a patients death in this manner that they died peacefully and in very little to no pain. As you all know I love my doctors and nurses, I believe they have one of the hardest jobs in the world, but how do they know that person is not in pain? Just because they are so drugged and drowsy and are continuously dropping in and out of consciousness, does not mean the patient is not feeling pain. They may well not be, but I know from my own experience that although I was dropping in and out of consciousness, I was still in horrendous pain, it's just that I could no longer communicate to the nurses and doctors that I was, so is this really a kind way to let a person die? I say no, I say it is a cruel and long drawn out process that involves, human beings being drugged to the point of numbness, they eventually stop eating and drinking and we sit and wait. As mentioned before, it could take days or weeks, everybody is different. Do we really want our loved ones to be suffering in such a way after what they've already endured throughout this bastard of a disease. Why would we want them to suffer anymore than they have to, when there is something we can do about it, Voluntary Euthanasia.
The truth is, restricted drugs like morphine or OxyContin are availed to people in my position very easily and we could, if we wanted, take ourselves out anytime and I'm sure it's happened time and time again, we would just like to be able to do it legally and without the stigma attached to it. A person gets to the point where they can no longer handle their child, parent, husband or friend having to wipe their ass for them, wash them, feed them and they don't want to drag it out any longer. Have you ever watched a person you love slowly die? Have you ever witnessed a person in your life go from a lively and spirited person to a shadow of themselves that no longer has the desire or the will to live? It is not a pleasant sight for the patient or the loved one, it is literally hell on earth, we don't watch a dog or a horse go through untreatable pain and just let nature take its course, we "put them to sleep". So why is an animal afforded that option (ok it's the owner that makes the decision, but you know what I mean) and human beings are not?
I don't often and may never have, I can't actually remember, bring up my religion. In my opinion your religion is your business and your beliefs are your beliefs, I'm not here to judge you, I believe we should respect each other's beliefs. In my religion, something like euthanasia would be seen as a sin, just as abortion and same sex relationships would be. I truly believe that we should have the right to choose to die with dignity and in as minimal pain as possible. I followed a story of a woman who moved to another State in the USA, simply so she could be afforded the right to choose when to die. This lady was suffering from debilitating seizures from her brain cancer, she would literally bite her tongue off and with each seizure came more brain damage and this would impair her ability to communicate, imagine having these violent seizures, imagine watching your loved one going through that. Eventually the young woman decided on a date and she had her nearest and dearest around her bedside, as she took the Euthanasia meds over a short period of time. They went around each person in the bedroom and spoke of their favourite stories about her and she did the same in return. Her husband says, although painful and nobody wants to lose their wife, she went out on her own conditions. No major seizure that took her out, no more pain, she died on her own terms. Doesn't that sound a lot nicer than a palliative sedation.
I hope this blog is taken the way it was intended, an opinion from a person who stares death in the eye everyday I wake up. As previously mentioned, I don't believe I could actually do it myself, but I would never say never. I don't know if my body or my mind for that matter, could cope with another bout of untreatable pain. Your body and your spirit can only take so much, I just don't know if I could ever have the strength to legally voluntarily take my own life, but I believe the option should be out there. I do not like the idea, much like the medical marijuana situation, of self administering drugs that have not been properly prescribed. I know that there are poor families out there that risk being arrested because they are buying marijuana oil for their epileptic 3 year old child, because it's the only thing that reduces or even eradicates their child's violent seizures. My problem with this is that it has not been properly prescribed, dosage could be wrong and we don't actually know what this oil contains, yes they say it's pure and bla bla bla, but until there are proper rules and guidelines in place, how do we know that we are not going to overdose our child or ourselves? Euthanasia is the same, it needs to be legalised and regulated so that we can ensure that people die in the correct manner and not get to the point where they decide to just overdose themselves on their own pain medication.
I know this topic is confronting and scary, but for people like me or people who have other terminally debilitating diseases, so is the thought of having imminent death upon us, so why not afford us the decency to choose how and when to die? As we've already lost so much.
Stay fabulous rockstars and I hope this blog does not scare you away ❤️🤘🏼
We often hear cancer patients waxing lyrical about what cancer cannot take from them and I'll admit I'm one of them, although in my position if I'm honest with myself, like so much of this disease, I say and do things to make others feel better, to make others feel more comfortable with my illness. Just as you do in everyday life, like when the Macca's chick asks you at the drive thru "how's your day been so far?", your response "greeaat", you know the long dragged out great, because you're actually lying to the minimally payed teen who in reality couldn't give a flying pickle how your day has been, it's just something you're told to say in training and she'd much rather be at the beach with her friends, than doing this so called "character building" job.
Just as the Macca's chick lied to you about caring about your day and you lied to her that your day had been great, when in reality you lost your engagement ring somewhere in between the pedicure massage chair and the uv lamp drying station, just as you have lied to each other, we cancer patients often lie to you. So here's the actual truth about what Cancer "takes" from us. Cancer takes a lot from us, it takes waaaaay more than it gives and when it is giving it's usually something unpleasant.
Here's what cancer takes from us, firstly the obvious, it takes our health, you can go from a perfectly healthy person who accidentally felt a lump when she was trying to squeeze her boobs into a bra two sizes too small, to a nauseated, pain riddled fragile shadow of the human being you once were within weeks, I must stress I do not have breast cancer, this is strictly for blogging purposes.
It's takes your looks, well technically it's not necessarily the cancer that takes your looks, more often the treatment, but if it weren't for having the bastard of a disease you wouldn't need the chemotherapy that takes your hair, bloats your face and body, burns your skin, gives you painful rashes and remember those boobs that you were trying to squeeze into that bra, yeah well Cancer's taken those from you too, in place of your once glorious orbs of fun are either scars or new boobs that rarely come out as good as a proper boob job does, yeah I didn't know that either. I just thought you lose your boobs, you get a new set, but apparently it's not as simple as that. I don't claim to be an expert on breast cancer as I don't have it. I've just been told of the pitfalls by other breast cancer survivors I've spoken to who have had a mastectomy or double mastectomy, the boob reconstruction is not as pretty as a normal boob job and it's a bloody lengthy process, years sometimes. You see it's not like Angelina Jolie, where she had healthy breasts that had no prior surgery, so her reconstruction was immediate, boobs came off, new boobs went on. For those that have had cancer in their breasts removed and lymph nodes removed, followed by chemo and or radiation, the reconstruction isn't as simple as the Jolie op. Your body needs to recover from other treatments firstly to reduce risk of infection, many don't have nipples unless your plastic surgeon constructs them, you most often have no feeling in your new breasts, then there is the scarring.....anyway I could go on all day, but as I'm not a breast cancer patient I can't claim to be an expert, I'm only relaying the stories I've been told by patients.
It often takes a large chunk of your mental health, meaning that people going through Cancer often become depressed, anxious, paranoid and even suicidal. For some people the thought of having cancer is so scary to them that they would rather take their own life than face up to Chemo's, surgeries and radiation. Even after "cure" we often still focus on our cancer, we are scared at every cough, ache or headache, we often become reclusive, in our minds we don't want to burden people with our problems, so we avoid phone calls, door bells and text messages, we also become hermits, firstly if we are receiving chemo we get tired of sanitising everything in sight and every cough or sneeze we hear is like a sickness sniper seeking to take us out and we get tired of ducking behind clothes racks so we don't have to burden you with our hideousness. Yes we become so embarrassed by our appearance that box sets and chocolates seem way more appealing than having to try and draw eyebrows on, apply fake eyelashes to lashless lids and then last but not least try and make a wig look like hair and not a wig. God I hated those days, firstly wigs are uncomfortable, they're itchy and sweaty, they knot really easily and I would spend the entire time I was wearing a wig in public thinking everyone was looking at me thinking, she's got a wig on, I got a couple of compliments from staff in shops about my hair and I would immediately ask were they saying that because they could tell it was a wig, to which they'd say no and I'd still not believe them. Yep give me Netflix and track pants any day of the week.
It often takes your womanhood, well it has mine. I've been in and out of menopause more times than Paris Hilton has earned royalties on sex tapes. I'm currently "in menopause", I don't think Aunty Flo is going to visit again either, I'm pretty sure she's gone to a great big tampon heaven in the sky somewhere. Sex drive? Sorry what was that? I said Sex Drive? Once again I ask what was that? I'm meant to be in my sexual prime at my age, but once again Cancer, you sneaky son of a bitch, you've managed to steal one of the only free forms of entertainment I enjoyed.
Babies, yes it often steals babies, from both men and women. Men don't always get the right advice about what to do with their swimmers before radiation or Chemo and don't reserve some, treatment then renders them infertile. Women, well depending on the cancer we are often warned against having babies for a number of years if at all after treatment, some cancers are hormone reactive and pregnancy puts the woman at a high risk of recurrence. Me, well I was basically scare mongered by different specialists and fertility centres into not going through the process of freezing my eggs or making embryos, because we are so unsure about my cancer and what triggers it that they didn't think it was wise to go through all the hormonal treatments required. I was just not destined to be a mother, I was destined to be a kick ass Aunty, which is more than fine with me. Can you imagine having a baby and going through this shit show at the same time? No thanks and then there's the psychological repercussions, but it for you, your baby daddy and baby, waaaaaay too much head fucking. It's hard enough looking after myself, never mind a baby.
Confidence as I briefly mentioned earlier, I used to strut my stuff down Pitt Street Mall, petite with a tiny waist, big boobs and long dark shiny hair swooshing from side to side, men would give you the side eye and that was just part of everyday life, weeeelllll not anymore! I couldn't tell you the last time a man took a second look at me, not that I need a guys attention to make me confident, but let's admit it girls, feminist or not, it gives you slight pleasure when someone gives you a bit of attention, a little ego boost for the day. I am so embarrassed by my body now that I find myself explaining to every Tom, Dick and Harry why I look the way I do. I know I know, I wish I was better than that, but I'm not, I'm sorry to all of you out there who love yourselves the way you are and you are saddened by my dissatisfaction with my own body, but at least I'm honest about it. I could sit hear and preach about self love and you can only love someone else when you love yourself and all that bullshit, but that's what it would be, bullshit and I owe you more than that.
It's taken my independence, my freedom, my adult status, I have been reverted to my childhood state, "Mum, can you drive me here? Mum, can you make my bed? Mum, can you go to the shops for me?". It's never ending and it's sad and demeaning. I have lived out of home since days after turning 20, I've ran my own household since then, earned my own money and drove my own car and now here I am sitting in my room hoping that Mum and Dad have their TV on because they're actually watching TV and not having parent sex whilst I sit in the bedroom down the hall.....it's just not something I want to think about. I mean good on them if they still go at it, it's just there's a very high likelihood that I'll be somewhere in the house when they're doing it-insert Mr Burns shudder here. Dads building a shed, oh shit, is that going to be their shag shed?
Moving right along, there are so many more things cancer takes from us, my mind is constantly a blur (chemo brain) I often can't complete sentences when speaking, it takes your fitness, I used to take the stairs for actual fun, nowadays unless those stairs are electric, I just won't go upstairs (exaggeration there, I do take stairs, if there are no other options), it takes friendships and relationships, people often drift apart through sickness and there is so much more cancer takes from you, but I'd never stop writing.
My leaving note, people often say "Cancer can't take your personality or your spirit or hope", well it actually can, I'm a completely different person to what I was before cancer, in fact since starting regular pain meds, I'm a different Lisa from the Lisa 6 months ago and spirit and hope, well, I still have it, it just goes on vacation occasionally, but so far it has always come home. One thing Cancer has given me, well it's given me you! My beautiful, loyal, supportive fabulous rockstars and who knows? If it weren't for my cancer I may have never started blogging, I'm still not going to thank Cancer though, Cancer can still go do one, as far as I'm concerned. Stay fabulous rockstars ❤️🤘🏼
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.