Blog: The Big J vs The Big C
Making the breast of a bad situation ...
On 4 October 2016, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. This blog will chart my progress through treatment, and continued enjoyment of life, love and friendship.
Expect humour, irreverance, occasional sadness, and staunch defence of the National Health Service.
Btw, that picture is not me. :-)
Poet, author and activist Janine Booth was part of the ranting poetry movement in the 1980s, performing as ‘The Big J’. In late 2016, she discovered a strange indentation in her right breast and was subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer.
She has to pull up
as she's overheating
Her engine sputters
the dashboard's beeping
She's burning up and burning out
worn and way past her best
Struggled to get through
her last annual test
She's found it more arduous
as she gets older
She's ground to a halt
on the hard shoulder
Obstruct or obliviate
My many more
What a lucky fucker am I
that when that firework hit my eye
I didn't die
And who even knew
that although you're better off with two
that just one eye will do
just fine, you see
Lucky, lucky me
And when I got a killer disease
I got the sort they can cure with ease
if you please
Blackcurrant jam on toast with tea
Lucky, lucky me
All hail to public hospitals
Which treat us at no cost at all
Come forth and heed the homage call
Give thanks and praise
Admire their shiny corridors
The wonder drugs in well-stocked stores
And colour-coded wings and floors
And curtained bays
Where patients' injuries are healed
By specialists in every field
Equipment-laden trolleys wheeled
Two weeks ago, I posted that I had my second annual post-surgery mammogram and that the medics had found no signs of cancer. That was the truth, but a slightly economical version of it.
I wanted to clap at the funeral today
But I think that is seen as poor taste
I longed to applaud such a brilliant speech
But I feared it would seem out of place
I wanted to shout 'Hear! Hear!' when you said
Deceased was a wonderful chap
The whole of me knew this was so very true
I was craving to let out a clap
When they released me from A&E last week, they pressed into my hand a letter telling me to come back to the hospital this morning to visit the HAMU.
HAMU? Wtf? It turns out that this is the Homerton Ambulatory Medicine Unit. This means a clinic that you walk in to. Is it just me, or is this an excessively wordy name - with an accompanying weird acronym - for what could just as easily be called 'Outpatients' or 'Walk-in Clinic'?
Cancer Research UK has ruffled some feathers with its campaign to publicise the links between obesity and cancer, prompting accusations of 'fat-shaming'. I'm not easily offended - in fact, I dislike the whole notion of 'offence' - but the campaign does deserve some scrutiny.