This will probably be the most honest blog I've written to date, in fact it may be the most honest I've been with myself.
It's 1.20am and as I lie here with liver pain and regurgitating my dinner from this evening, I'm scared, I'm really scared. I can feel a tumour in the centre of my upper abdomen, the one I felt when it first returned, after radiation I have no other option and even if I do let's be honest, I've tried the best of the best, immunotherapies, chemotherapies and kinase inhibitors, it probably won't work, I'm not being a defeatist and I can hear my friends out there saying , come on Lisa, this isn't you, where's that positive Lisa?The one whose beat it every time they told her she wouldn't, well I'm still here, I've always had these doubts and I've still managed to get through, I just haven't always told you when I feel this way.
I think as the person with cancer we often spend more of our energy protecting our loved ones from the reality that is cancer, we worry more about what you're worrying about than ourselves, well I do anyway. I've often said I'm glad it was me and not one of my family members or loved ones and that's not being a martyr, I just don't think I could deal with it, I don't think I could watch them go through the pain and sickness that I have and not be able to make it better, feeling helpless doesn't look good on me.
As I joke about sunbathing and saying things like, "well I've already got terminal cancer, I may as well die with a tan", the truth is I'm shitting myself, I'm not saying I'm scared all the time, most of the time I'm not scared, but there are moments like these, when I'm awake at what? 2am, when the house is silent and i'm alone with my thoughts and I've had 2 shots of pain medication since starting this blog, because my liver is aching from tumours pressing on it, it's these times that I could just burst into tears.
I have so many fears when it comes to dying, but my biggest would be "FOMO", fear of missing out, when I die I'm not going to be there anymore, I'm not going to be there to answer Rebecca's call when she wants to bitch about her long day at work, I'm probably not going to be there when Ava starts primary school or be there to explain why that boy on the bus keeps pulling her hair, will I be around for the next series of House of Cards? (yes I'm being serious), will I be around for my friend Kieran's daughters 18th?, will I still be around when my friend Sharon's house is built? Will this be my last Christmas or birthday and the list goes on.
The thought of not being around scares the shit out of me and yes I want my family to be one of those families that sets a place at the dinner table for me on special occasions, I want Theresa Caputo to rock up to my parents door and communicate with me from the other side, better still I want to be a ghost/spirit, for family members future reference I will not appear to you in the bathroom/toilet, I will not appear in the bedroom, my choice of location will be a main living area and if it is possible, I will knock 3 times before I appear, so you're not scared. I've discussed this with my brother and he has flat out refused a visit from me from the other side, so for you Steven, I will just observe not communicate and I will do that from any room in your house, I'm not even going to afford you the same privacy as those who want to see me, so if this bothers you, perhaps you may want to change your mind about seeing me when I visit from heaven (yeah that's right, I'm pretty certain I'll get in).
My biggest fear of them all, is my parents, you know how there's always one of the kids, the unspoken understanding that you will be the one who looks after your parents when they get old, well I believe that was me and to be quite honest the thought of not being around to be their carer scares me, as much as I love my brother, will he be able to look after them the way I could? I'm sure he'll be totally fine, but it's just not the way it was meant to be.
Another stupid thought is, will many people turn up to my funeral? I know, I know, I know, I've actually now realised that it doesn't really matter, I mean I'm not going to be there, unless something very wrong happens, but it still sneaks into my head sometimes, then there's the logistics of it, NSW or QLD, I know I want to use my priest from the Central Coast, but as for where to have the funeral I still can't decide, what colour coffin? One thing for certain is I'm going to make sure the lining of my coffin/casket (yes there is a difference) is not velvet, I can't stand the feeling of it and dead or not I don't want it near me, flowers, NO LILIES,the slightest whiff and my nose is running faster than Usain Bolt, once again I know I'm dead and allergies don't matter anymore, but I don't care. White and green chrysanthemum's are great, they're beautiful and they don't smell, who does the eulogy? What songs?Bury or cremate? I originally wanted to be buried, but that opens a whole other can of worms, where to be buried etc? So for me the easiest option is to cremate, that way I don't need to decide where to be buried and my ashes can be separated and given to different loved ones and I've already spoken with my priest about whether separating ashes could cause issues with my soul and going to heaven, he advised that your body is just a shell, a vessel, once you die your spirit goes to heaven and any physical remains mean nothing, so it's totally acceptable to cremate and separate (you see that, I'm sad and I'm still able to rhyme 😉)
I haven't felt like this since first finding out it was back, I look at old ladies and think, you don't know how lucky you are and especially when you hear them telling the cashier about their new hearing aid not working properly and how life is so hard, I get it your joints ache, you can't see or hear properly anymore etc. but you're here to tell the story and that's what matters.
I go to bed every night and repeat the same prayer, I ask God to spare me, I beg him/her for a miracle and a cure and every morning that I wake up I thank him/her for sparing me again and then I get up and that good old grim reaper is still looking over my shoulder, I like to think he and I have become mates and maybe that's why he's given me more time?
You never know what tomorrow may hold, last Friday I was dying, this Friday I was painting dragons with my niece, life really can change in the blink of an eye. So when you wake up tomorrow embrace the new day, hug and kiss your loved ones or ring them if you can't see them, go to work and bitch and moan that the day will never end, but when it does, take a look at the sun going down and feel some appreciation, because no matter what the sun will still rise and the sun will still set tomorrow and all those crappy annoying things that happen in between are just that, crappy little annoyances, life should be about sunsets not Boxsets, get out there and take in it's beauty, we are blessed every day to breathe in the beauty that is our world.
I've written this blog over a couple of days and as we speak I am sitting with the sun shining and it's a balmy 27 degrees Celsius in Autumn and while most people are out having a lovely Sunday drive with their loved ones or significant other, appreciating the day for what it is, I am appreciating it not because it's Autumn and it feels like Summer, it's because I'm sitting here typing, alive and able to do so, because last night I went to bed scared that I may not wake up.
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.