I’ve had a bad back since almost ever, born with a bit of roto-scoliosis, means I have a slight limp, more noticeable when I am tired. I have a little orthotic that I wear in my left shoe as that leg is a lot shorter than the right. The man at the local shoe repair shop calls me Eileen…. All that misalignment has meant pretty much a lifetime of aches and pains, mostly nothing to write home about until I progressed into my late 20’s and more so in the last 10 years with age and wear and tear. The lumbar discs in my back are a bit squished and tend to get stuck together now and then and every once in a while I will do something as simple as opening a window and bang, it goes into spasm and I’m back scoffing painkillers and seeing the physio, chiro, osteopath and acupuncture to manage the pain and healing. Yoga and pilates thrown in as well. I pretty much have to accept that every once in a while this will happen and then eventually back to my kind of back normal again. In between times I have radio frequency denervation, which is darn clever and involves sticking massive long needles in between the offending vertebrae and effectively microwaving the nerve ends so the pain cycle is reduced until they regenerate and off we go again. I’ve got so used to having this done about every 18 months or less that I only have a local anaesthetic now and just swear it out on the op table if it gets a bit ouchy. It makes it easier for me to recover and frankly I’ve had enough chemical shizz tipped in my body for a lifetime or two.
Anyway a few weeks ago, big HD and I were in Germany for the weekend, if you recall sausages and fireworks and all that. My back was a bit iffy before we went but nothing untoward. We walked miles and also got the tram, train and one of those bicycle rickshaw fandangos, up to the Brandenburg Gate, which was brilliant. So I was pretty careful not to overdo things.
But since then it has got worse, and the only day it wasn’t too bad was when I met my beautiful friend Smiffy in Paris for lunch and some segway action.
But over the last couple of weeks, just doing normal life and no running or swimming it’s become utter agony. I am basically off my remaining tits on codeine and ibuprofen, as I type. Its been so grim I haven’t been able to go out other than to drag my arse to the hospital for physio. I spend the day at my desk, working from home and sitting on a wheat bag or ice pack. The pain can be terrible, keeping me awake and my language has got a lot worse. (I know, how is this even possible?) It’s miserable as I can’t even bear to walk to the village shop or anything. Stuck inside swearing and hobbling about. Thats been me.
The hospital physio lady, took one look at me and wrote a letter to the oncologist, we’d be negligent if we didn’t check she said. It’s more than likely disc damage but we need to check given the lack of obvious reason and the duration of the pain.
Last Thursday I went to Mount Vernon Hospital. This is where the very sick cancer patients go, they have a cyber knife machine for sorting out cancer in the brain, and a massive scanner centre. This was where I went for a full body MRI scan. I didn’t tell many people, partly out of that nagging voice in the back of my head saying what if it’s come back in your bones, but also because I didn’t want to worry anyone. I went by myself, and walking down that long corridor, (it’s all very Victorian and Gothic), I could feel a small lump in my throat and seeing so many sick people, walking past the drug trial room and not wanting to ever have to join them. It made me feel quite emotional, the thought of ever having to deal with this cancer shite, ever, ever again. A few of my friends in my breast cancer group, (hello Bitches, *waves* ) have had that bad news recently, and we’ve rallied around to support them and cheer them up, but this is all a damn lottery and it could be me tomorrow or it might never be. You just keep on going and looking forwards and swearing (a lot).
So, please don’t feel sorry for me, that’s not what this is about. I’ve never wanted that or pity, this is just how it’s been for me and those around me. HD, my brothers and my beautiful Papa when he was alive, friends and family. The other night HD asked me who I was texting and I told him; I’d had a message from someone who’d read my blog and was just diagnosed and wanted to know what to expect. I told him how sad I felt that someone else had that awful news, but that I was also glad that they’d asked me, and that I could help in some small way.
(Cunning link coming up…), which is why a few months ago I put my name down to take part in the Breast Cancer Care London fashion show. Not because I have ever thought myself to be a model, but because I think everyone has the capacity to be beautiful, to be good and kind and to do whatever they can to help others. Cancer has scarred me right up, it’s also made my back a lot worse as it now has some osteoporosis from the chemotherapy. But I’m still here and I want others to know that they can be too, that you can wear anything and be yourself again. Cancer doesn’t take who you are away.
Work it baby….
My BCN once said to me when I was trying on and discussing post mastectomy bras, she suggested I try a particular make as it had more ‘coverage’. I said, stuff that, I’ve had a year of minging ugly guinea pig beige bras and as soon as I can get back into the decent stuff I am. Huzzah! So what if my scar is visible, every day you see someone with a scar, whether it is on their hand or leg, or back or wherever. They are not ugly or shameful or embarrassing. They are part of life’s journey and they tell a story of our own lives. Cancer doesn’t make you ugly. Don’t ever let it make you think that. Cancer is the ugly twat in this, not you.
Now then, if you are feeling generous, you can support me raising money for Breast Cancer Care when I wiggle my wonky ass down the catwalk in September. They’re an amazing charity who offer all kinds of support to men and women who get that shit awful news. So go on give us a £5 or whatever you can afford, it will make a big difference to someone like me.
‘Near far, wherever you are, I believe that the fart does go on… ‘