Thursday, 10 September 2009

Sunshine and Rainclouds

I meet May for yet another delicious lunch at Providores. Apart from being a budding Shaman, May is a wonderful artist as well as incredibly stylish and loads of fun. We feast on exotic Tapas then stroll on down to Harley Street for a drop of post-prandial Taxol (me) and reading of Harper’s Bazaar (May).

“Hello sexy lady” shouts Cara as I enter the chemo suite. “Hello sexy lady yourself” I reply. And well I might. This lady is the bomb. She’s tall and large with silky black skin and hair sleeked back in a high ponytail. Cara always wears fabulous metallic eye shadows in vivid colours. Later on, as she’s leaving for the day, I catch her dressed in a stunning emerald green ruched dress over black leggings, her neck and ears adorned with peacock blue and sea green gemstones.

“I love, love, love that wig” says nurse Lottie. I’m wearing the red one today.
I love, love, love the nurses’ ability to live their lives to the full. They are a terrific counterpoint to some of the uptight skeletons I see wandering about this locality, their plumped-up lips walking three paces ahead of them, looking so angry and miserable you’d think they’d just had a Louis Vuitton poker rammed up their fundaments. Harley Street is home to numerous aesthetic surgeons. Not that I’d say no to a little ‘anti-ageing therapy’ myself if it was offered, but I just think if you’re going to spend all that money on making yourself look good, you may as well use the new visage to crack open a smile. What’s the point of going about looking like you’ve just found dog excrement in your wheat free organic rocket and carrot sandwich?

Apologies for the rant, back to business.

Chemotherapy today is uneventful. That’s a good thing. It seems that Suzy Cleator’s new, weekly regime is working a treat. I mean working not in the sense of killing the cancer that I don’t have. One hopes it is doing that. I mean working in the sense of having fewer and less severe side effects. As I’ve said, I don’t feel sick. My sense of taste has returned to normal. I’m very tired but so what? I sleep a lot.

What’s cheering me up is that it’s another one off the list. Yea! Only five more to go. The future seems all sunshine and rosy.

Which brings me to Tuesday’s little raincloud. I sincerely apologise to any reader who may have been distressed by my outburst. I have received a deluge of emails and phone calls and I thank you for your concern. Obviously, I’ve apologised to Nick already. He said, “That’s what I’m here for darling.” I adore him more than ever.

I’m so used to going to (name cannot be mentioned) self-help groups where we talk about that stuff all the time. We just get it off our chests, laugh at ourselves and move on. I forget that other people may be shocked or worried by what goes on inside my head.

This chemo lark has its ups and downs but ultimately, I’ve found that acceptance truly is the key to freedom. As long as I tell myself “nooooo, it’s not fair, why me” etc, I will have days like Tuesday. And as long as I just accept what is and get on with each day as it comes then my life will be as good as it can be, right now, today.

People often remark, “You’re so brave.” I don’t see it like that at all. To my mind, true courage is choosing to do what's right, despite one's fear of loss or humiliation. Believe me, if I had any say in the matter I wouldn’t be doing any of this. But the only choice I have now is to do it with good grace or to do it with fear and self-pity. I hope that most of the time I choose the former.

Please don’t be put off reading Chemo Chic in the future. It is not meant to be a misery journal. I promise that normal flippancy will resume immediately.