This is typed up stuff from my journal. It took a week of voice dictation bumblings before I remembered… hey, you have one good hand and a selection of PENS!
Waiting – Week 2
If you tell people you’re sensitive to the sun they kind of roll their eyes as though you said, my cat can only eat filet mignon.
But I promise it’s no exaggeration to say that I burn extremely easily. The sun glares down over Australia with special kind of harshness. That is no country for Fitzpatrick Type 1’s. During the Oz visit last April, each time I stepped outside it felt like my skin had caught fire, heat blazing up my arms and neck and face like the map in the opening credits of Bonanza. And that was only Autumn!
This week I’ve felt calm during the day, but when I go to bed my mind churns with a montage of sun exposure. The Mothership dousing me in sunscreen and ugly hats at the beach; me burning regardless. Babysitting the sheep beside the railway line in January. Frying on the playground during school assembly. Swimming carnivals, sports days, pool parties; my friends turning bronze while I rotated from white to pink to white again.
Even Scotland has been no escape. It’s not ant-under-magnifying-glass evil like Australia, but I’ve been caught out despite the lashings of SPF 50. Not to mention visits to the sunny Continent. Shit. Now my hundreds and hundreds of freckles look like little time bombs.
The thing about melanoma is that there’s a strong possibility that everything will be fine. They’ll have scooped out the dodgy bits and I’ll feel like an idiot for worrying. On the other hand, 7 people die of melanoma in the UK every day. With Wally being such a fat old bastard, would I equally be an idiot for not acknowledging the possibility?
I’ve decided to work from an assumption that all will be well. At the same time I’ll keep telling Gareth and Mum and everyone how great they are and how thankful I am to know them. Regardless of outcome I want them to know that anyway. Why hold all that sparkly stuff inside?
I’ve also told my sister which notebooks to destroy in the event of my demise, just in case. Mwahahaha.
Aside from my squirrel brain, I’m doing well. Still off work but I’ve ditched the painkillers. They were giving me violent dreams and an even more violent stomach. I ventured out for a walk on Friday, my arm stretched out like a Hitler salute, and ended up vomiting on the banks of the River Ness in front of a bunch of tourists. I managed to spare the daffodils!
Waiting – Week 3
Back to work. I’ve got a stack of pillows on my desk to rest my arm on while I shout at the computer, trying to make the voice dictation software understand me.
I need to let this thought out so I can let it go. Why wasn’t I more pushy with the doctors when they kept saying it was nothing? I knew it wasn’t right. And I should have known when Gareth kept pestering me. It took him years to tell me that he didn’t like the bread I was buying, or that my wardrobe was looking funereal. If he’s actually offered an unsolicited opinion, I should know that it’s serious. Maybe he’s like that dog that sniffed out breast cancer!
Waiting – Week 4
I spent all of last Thursday at the hospital getting some post-surgery issues checked out. It’s funny how when you’re first in a new environment you don’t see it properly. I had tunnel vision at that initial dermatology appointment; no real awareness of my surroundings aside from those numbered signs, the shape of the floor tiles and the doctor’s voice.
Now I’m comfortable in the hospital and the camera has pulled out to a wide angle. I could buy a cuppa while I waited and calmly take it all in. The elderly couple queuing up for a scone at the cafe, the line of wheelchairs in the hall outside the x-ray, the zap of the overhead lighting; the pale spewy green of the walls.
It’s always the fear of the unfamiliar. If had surgery again tomorrow I’d be about 84% less bonkers. I know the drill now. I know what to pack, I know to remove my polish so the anaesthetist can see the colour of my toenails; I know that the doctors do this stuff every day.
While waiting around I thought about friends going through stuff right now. A major accident, a tricky heart, meaner cancers, lost parents, chronic illness; the end of relationships. And M-I-L Mary‘s brave recovery. Everybody is dealing with something. Your heart could get totally overwhelmed by that thought. I sat there in a stupid paper gown, watching people in all kinds of pain being wheeled through the corridors, with this total duh of thought that to be alive is to have things happen. Maybe I thought I had some sort of control over it before? Things will keep happening, over and over until the end. What can you do aside from roll with it as best as you can, and try to be a decent person along the way? I don’t know.
Waiting – Week 5
It’s been so bloody long now that I’m confident that there’s nothing dodgy. The hospital say there’s a backlog because of all the public holidays lately. Surely they wouldn’t sit on it if they’d seen anything.
Despite that I feel strange. I’ve gone into hedgehog mode, curled up and hiding from reality. I’m binging on chocolate and episodes of Scandal. That show is completely ridiculous but I cannot stop watching. Why can’t I stop!? It’s like Days of Our Lives in the White House. I need to know if other people on the internet feel the same…
Scandal bad acting
Kerry Washington overacting
Huck from Scandal overacting
Cyrus from Scandal really bad overacting
Waiting – Week 6
Ding dong, Wally is gone!
I got the call this morning. Then I phoned Gareth and burst into tears. Then I danced round the flat like a loon. The relief! Holy shit, it feels amazing.
Yesterday there were two good omens:
1) I was working in a cafe when a bloke sat down across from me. “That’s a great scar,” he said, “What have you done to yourself?”.
We got chatting and turns out he was a retired engineer who did a stint at NASA on the space shuttle programme. We yapped for an hour about space and planets and life. He described looking through the Hubble space telescope. He saw a bunch of galaxies at the same time, and because of all the light years they may not have existed by the time he saw them (forgive my highly technical explanation).
He said his wife always found that unsettling; how space goes on and on and there’s no “fence” around us. I said I felt the opposite. It’s comforting to know I’m a speck in an endless universe. No matter what happens, it sprawls on without us. That gave me an awesome peacefulness, despite the three-shot latte.
2) After chatting to Space Bloke, I went off to get my eyebrows threaded. It was a different person than usual and she went totally thread-happy on me. The result was brows so ultra-arched that my face is incapable of showing any emotion aside from EXTREME DELIGHT! Therefore there could not have been any other outcome.