During my treatment for breast cancer, I had great ideas about this wig party I was going to organize to celebrate the end of therapy. Everyone would come wearing outlandish wigs, except me, I would be swishing my beautiful newly grown manes, in a swishy blue dress to match. We would dance to the scissor sisters all night.
When it did actually end, I was happy –really - I knew I was happy in my head, but I did not feel it much in my body. A party was the last thing I wanted. Having come out the other side having put back the 7 kilos I lost here, feeling stiff and rickety, hot and flustered, I was not doing much dancing.
The small world I had been inhabiting for eight months suddenly became very large again.
It felt as if I had been dropped by my doctors and nurses onto the middle of a busy freeway intersection, with the message” You’re done now. Off you go”. My dearest and nearest were understandably happy to be relieved of their duties. The only one there with me was a horrible little man, sitting in my head, shouting obscenities like” HEY, do you know you had a potentially fatal disease? You are not immortal, do you realize that? Not like all your healthy friends, who are all going to live forever. THINK ABOUT IT. “ Hey, you feel PAIN? … it could be cancer…huh, huh, nudge, nudge. ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT IT?
Yes, I was thinking about it. Every little pain could be the sign that IT had returned. I had big arguments with the little man in my head. Especially this pain in my ankle, which keeps coming and going. It feels like a pinched nerve or an inflamed tendon, but the little man made me look up things up on the internet –– and it said metastasized breast cancer in the bone feels like a burning sensation, it comes and goes etc. You see, this is what it was!
But I have just had my 6 monthly tests, a mammogram, a bone density scan, follow up with the radioligist, I discussed my aches and pains. Everything looked normal. My ankle pain is definitely not cancer, they said. With conviction. So I am okay for a bit and now the little man in my head looks a little silly, doesn’t he?
It will hopefully just be a question of physical therapy for a few months and a new pot of pills. But no running for a while. No boot camp. I joined a sports club with an outdoor pool on the roof overlooking the city. I need to keep my view.