Monday, 30 April 2012

Keys to the Door

I had no idea it had been over 20 days since my last post. I must have blacked out from all that crack. No, I'm a strictly chemo-drug kind of girl these days but a lot has happened over the last couple of weeks so no doubt something will be crack-blacked out. Most notably I have turned 21 and celebrated as anyone would with a dose of chemotherapy. But before that I had a pre-birthday visit to London to see my brother and my friend Dom who ran 10 miles around London to raise money for me. Not for a charity, money for me. It is one of the nicest and most touching things that anyone has ever done for me and considering that Dom does not exercise and smokes, his finish time of 1hr 40 mins is more than impressive. Here he is at Tower Bridge in an all-white ensemble. Interesting choice.

Do you know what that's called? Glory. Or delusions of grandeur.
Birthday celebrations began for me on the 12th when Gerard took me and the O'Sullivan clan out for dinner at the Bottle House. If anyone has been there you will know the food is entirely delectable ( here's the menu to make you cream They put up '21' banners and fed me champagne and a giant French fancy birthday cake. French Fancies are the bossest of all cakes. As the waitress brought in the cake, Adele seized the moment to shout "IT LOOKS LIKE A GIANT TIT". And a happy birthday to me. It was Sean's birthday on the 16th but a 21st birthday AND I have cancer, that bitch didn't stand a chance this year. Needless to say I ate too much and was given a lovely birthday present from Gerard, quite an evening. On the 13th my mother gave me a beautiful ring which makes me feel like a don when I wear it. It's a big, bad square cut chunk of Lima Quartz and if I wear it on my wedding finger I look like a WAG. Leah picked me up and took me to chemo which whizzed by thankfully. She gave me a great big goodie bag of gifts and then we drove over to Adele's flat where everyone was waiting for me. They got me another cake, a chocolate tray cake which is also a proper boss cake. They all sang the obligatory 'Happy Birthday' but quite frankly I would have preferred the German 'Zum Geburtstag'. I like the way it feels on my ears. I knew they had put their cash together to get me something because my friends are pretty unsubtle. I had no idea what I was getting and so when I tore off the wrapping paper and saw that it was an iPad I burst into tears. I'm going to put this one down to steroids or chemo or anything that means that it wasn't me being an emotional loser. No one was expecting to that to happen, least of all me so there was a really uncomfortable silence while a snorted all over my BRAND NEW IPAD. Thirty seconds after this, Dom walked into the flat an handed me a thick wad of cash in a birthday card, needless to say I couldn't cope and almost had an aneurysm. To say I was spoilt this year is like saying that paedophiles are kind of bad. People have been incredibly generous and it's been horribly overwhelming. Too much nice-ness makes me lose the ability to cope socially. I've got loads of 'thank yous' to send out but as you can see with the lateness of this blog, procrastination has ruled recently.
My friends from Birmingham came down and on Saturday a massive group combining mine and Sean's friends got smashed. It was a great night although all I can really remember is gleefully shouting in people's faces for most of the evening. We then made our way to another bar where I once again had to explain the wig-hat-cancer deal to two bouncers. What is everyone's issue with hats? It's not like I was wearing a sombrero with a swastika embroidered onto it.Wankers. I also got into a big, drunk argument with a dirty rotten skank girl in the queue. Her and her dirty looking friend (her 'fake tan' looked like dirt to me) were trying to squeeze past us and I politely (probably not politely) told them that "there's no fucking way you're pushing in front of us". "Blah blah blah blah why are you being so aggressive?"  This girl was towering over me, a dwarf in a beanie hat. I had no response to her because I was drunkedy. They retreated. Then my friend Emily ran over to me in the queue and we started chatting. Skanks said something along the lines of
"I'm not going to" Of course I was but these bitches weren't to know this.
"Blah blah blah blah".
So this all got very irritating and I turned around with a big mouth of crazy.
"Look, I've got cancer. I really don't want to talk to dirty skanks like you I just want to enjoy a night out with my friends so shut the fuck up".
"What's that got to do with anything?"
She sort of has a point but still I thought I was a social retard. At that point my friends jumped in and told her that she was a socially inept skank and to shut her mouth. She wouldn't shut up until Dom gave her a dressing down all the while wearing a bright white daisy in his hair. Magic moments. It was a long, loud evening and thanks to the fact that my Vincristine was given to me at a smaller dose, I had no side effects again for the next 2 weeks. That was a great gift from the chemo Gods not spoiling my 21st.

Normality has started to come back because the chemo recently had been a breeze without any side effects. This has meant I could stop replying "lying in bed ill" when people asked me what I was doing next week. I also seem to think that I am some sort of pharmacist/doctor these days and have began prescribing drugs to my friends from my own personal stash. This stash is huge so it could get away with being a mini dispensary. I've given sleeping tablets, anti-sickness tablets and most regularly a tablet called Omeprazole to line my friends stomach before a night out to prevent any hangover. I don't know who I think I am. As great as all the normality is it seems to beat home how long it will really be before I feel myself again. I have debated whether or not I would put this stuff in the blog because it is sort of embarrassing to me but the point of this was to show all aspects of the 'journey' or whatever you want to call it. The other evening before I had my PET scan I more or less had an emotional breakdown. This has been the first one that I have had really throughout this entire process. I constantly dip in and out of good and bad moods at home and my poor mum has to take the brunt of it whilst all my friends and people that don't live with me get the happy-go-lucky, optimistic Kristina. I had spent the day in a manic tidy of my room not talking to anyone. The house was empty and it was just me and my emotionally unbalanced brain. The catalyst for the breakdown was the fact that I have gained a little bit of weight, nothing significant to others but enough to make me hate the way I look. I caught sight of myself in the mirror without a hat or wig on and couldn't stand it. I thought "I'm 21 years old I shouldn't look like this". Though I've still got hair it is thin and short and is a world away from the person I looked like 6 months ago. I couldn't find a place for some books on my shelf and that was it I threw them across the room and sat down on the floor and cried for an hour. Melodrama like this really isn't my style so it was a huge surprise to me. It must have been from an unconscious place because I never realised I could get that upset. I exhausted my tears, ran a bath and watched Requiem for a Dream because I needed something to empathise with my state of mind.
I had been walking around telling people how the cancer stuff makes you realise what is important and what is just trivial bullshit. Facebook is the worst place for me to go when I'm in a bitter mood. There's nothing that can make you more angry than reading about people's medial, pathetic problems that they post to attention seek. I'm not judging because I'm jealous of the blissful unawareness of little Margie "Got another assignment today FML" Yes Margie, FML. FML and shut the fuck up. When I had the bad side effects it was easier to be all philosophical lying in bed and wishing that all you could do was go for a little walk or muster the energy to read a book rather than line up your third episode of Location, Location, Location because that is all the brain can cope with. When you take away the side effects and get that sense of health back, how can you not focus on your appearance and wanting to look attractive but realising that you won't feel that way completely until a years time or longer when your hair eventually reaches a decent length. Fingers crossed. It comes and goes in waves and most days I feel fine but I have a constant wig-awareness when I don't wear a hat on top of it. Even though my friends know and couldn't care less it's a personal thing and isolating. You have people to sympathise and empathise with you, people like Jenny who has more or less gone through the exact same thing as me but it is an individual experience and can make you feel incredibly lonely. Let's not dwell on this, there is good news to tell.

On Wednesday I went back to Maidstone to get my PET scan. I was once again radioactive man and had to stay away from children and pregnant women for the rest of the evening. I can't remember if I ever told you that last time me and my mum almost went out to dinner straight Frankie's and Benny's. Hundreds of children enjoying a birthday party only to leave with a radiation mutation along with their party bag. Oops. Needless to say we came to our senses and had a Chinese take away instead. I thought I was going to be left stewing for the results for a week and tried not to think about that too much. The PET scan would tell whether the chemo was working or not, how much cancer was left and tell me whether I was going to be over the moon or suicidal. I was in town the next day saying Bon Voyage to Kathryn who is spending a month Australia teaching (alright for some) when I had a phone call from my mum. She said that Dr Gale had called and said that on a scale of 1-5 of how good the results were (1 being the best and five the worst) mine were a one! I'm going to ignore the weird backwardness of my doctor's scaling because this is simply marvellous news wouldn't you agree? I won't know the ins and outs until Wednesday but I'm looking forward to having a finish line. A date where I can proclaim that I am an ex-cancer patient. Holy shit, I need to rinse out my Big C card during that time. It will be nice being able to plan my life again including the New York trip in September which my wonderful family have very generously given me money towards. This has helped me out loads since Student Finance decided that me having cancer and being poor didn't warrant a loan to help me pay my rent. They're a cool, heartless group of people.

The pure evilness of Student Finance is still outweighed by the generosity of friends of mine. Along with Dom, my friends Natalie and Ellie are doing the Race for Life in my honour. I will be sat at the side lines, most likely drunk screeching "You think that will beat cancer? RUN FASTER". They have already reached their target of £250 but if you're feeling generous, here is their sponsorship page. Leave as little or as much as you can afford, any support would be greatly appreciated. If your embarrassed of how low your contribution is, leave it anonymously that's what I do. You still have braggers rights even if you give 30p. My other friend Nick who is a tattoo artist has organised a fundraising event at the studio he works at where all the proceeds from the tattoos he gives on the day go to a Hodgkin's Lymphoma charity. I have some real decent friends.

Hopefully it won't be so disgustingly long until my next entry and I'll be sure to fill you in on all the cancerous details of my life. Thank you very much for reading, you've been a wonderful audience.

P.s In case you were wondering just how good mine and Sean's birthday was, my friend Ben will tell you.


  1. Look I don’t want to create a friging bloggy, I just want to send ma baby a note, I know I am stupid, but putting a thank you note on this is impossible. See I is old can’t work interweb no more, the buggers have shafted me chagned things. Anyway if you ever do get this, thank you for your thank you card (It was wondeful gona keep it forever) You know you’re like ma Em’s and my Sean to me. I love you and can’t wait for your first book.

    I am so happy you are better, as Florence might say sometimes I put my hangs up in the air but “You’ve got the love that I need, too see me through”.
    Love Ger ) ***

  2. I'm looking forward to the book too! Really glad you had some better news, hope you won't give up on the blog just yet though.

  3. Amazing news! Don't stop writing the blog when you get the all clear though, you're too good at it!

  4. Been going through your blogs today, just reminded myself of your humour because it’s so rare! I can actually hear you saying every single sentence which is brilliant. Wish I got to see you opening your iPad!! :( The fraggle rock one made me laugh mainly because of the picture, but that one really got me. I know this is pure stilton I’m coming out with but I don’t care, I am so glad to see you pulling through so confidently, you’re a true inspiration and I want you to win a Pulitzer. Keep up the writing because it’s brilliant.

    Love you,

    Your Sophie xx