Tired But Not Dead Yet: Living With Incorrigible Cancer

Yeah, you read that right. First I was terminal. Then I was incurable. Now I’ve decided incorrigible is really the most accurate term. Seriously, it only makes sense––I mean, I’m incorrigible, therefore my cancer must be as well.

Terminal and incurable aren’t very good at parties but incorrigible is something you can have a little fun with. You can take the piss out of it whenever you want. Sometimes it’s tiresome and boring; when it gets that way, you can ignore it in favour of something with more depth and meaning. And when you’re feeling more energetic, you can scorch it with two or three one-liners to remind it that you’re the real talent and it’s just a one-trick pony.

Incorrigible cancer: eventually, it may revert to its previous status. Well, fck it if it can’t take a joke. Just because it loses its sense of humour doesn’t meant I have to lose mine.

Living With Cancer & Staying Positive: I’m Positive I’m Tired.

Well, the oncologist told me that fatigue is one of the side effects of the hormones. Considering the hormones seem to be extending my life, possibly saving it outright, it seems churlish to complain.

Yeah, that’s me: Churlish Cadigan, scourge of the sofa. When I can stay awake, that is. Not that I’m necessarily asleep, though. Often I’m in a state where, uh…um… … … … … … Uh, was I saying something?

I haven’t talked about it much because I thought it would pass with April. The transition between seasons, especially when there’s a time-change involved, gets a little more difficult every year. This year, I’m still jet-lagged even as we near the end of May and look toward the longest day of the year coming up in June.

And I have no energy at all. None whatsoever. Whatever it is, if I can’t do it sitting down, it’s not getting done. Not by me, anyway.

I’ve been telling myself I’m feeling the side effects from the hormones so strongly because there isn’t a whole lot of cancer left for them to kick around. That makes perfect sense to me. I can stand anything that stomps those rotten cancer cells. Night sweats? No big deal for a badass like me. I can even ride out the anxiety attacks, which, as anxiety attacks go, are pretty mild. Knowing the disturbances in mood are also hormone side effects gives me an edge in coping (I didn’t have them before I started taking hormones and the oncologist agrees it’s another side effect).

My next check-up is at the end of the June. I would like to become more mobile between now and then. I wanted living with cancer to have more bouncing around, more socialising, more occasions to put on my technicolor Doc Martens, strut out the door, and fck sh!t up.

I keep trying to punch my way out of this fatigue bubble because I know that eventually I’ll hit a weak spot. I always do. Then it’ll be a party! 

Maybe after I finish staring at nothing. I mean, nothing’s going to stare at itself, right?

Then I Looked Up & We’d Been Married 20 Years

As of today, Chris and I have been married for 20 years. We came from very different backgrounds, from two different countries, and we’d lived completely different lives, but we discovered that we had somehow arrived at many of the same conclusions and we had as much in common as if we had been friends all our lives. 

On 9 May 1996, we went to the Haringey Civic Centre with Chris’s oldest friend, Dora, as his Best (Wo)Man, John Clute as my Matron Of Honour, and Judith Clute as our wedding photographer. After the ceremony, which wasn’t just civil but warm and friendly (you see what I did there), we all got on a bus and went to Ruby In The Dust in Camden Town for the wedding feast. Ruby in the Dust has since passed into oblivion but it was a special place, partly because they had a dessert called ‘Death By Chocolate’ (which is how I’d like to go).

The wedding was very much us––fun, with people important to us, and easily fitting into the surroundings, in the city that Chris and I love more than any other. The two of us are urban creatures. We like our trees growing up out of the sidewalk like Nature intended, and the music of traffic noise lulling us to sleep at night. We also like our environment diverse and  Haringey is most certainly that as it is home to 600 different ethnic groups. 

In 20 years, we have been through ups and downs; we’ve had some good luck and some bad luck. But we’ve never been apart, not even when I was travelling and there was an ocean between us. In 20 years, we’ve never had a fight because we’ve never had any problems––only technical difficulties. 

That’s what cancer is to us––a technical difficulty. And that’s all it will ever be.