Today’s the last day of my original body. Tomorrow I become cyber woman. First Amazon; then budding adolescent; then breasts made anew to any size I choose. Living is wilder than any story I can imagine.
I’m getting through the breast cancer treatment in stages. Chemotherapy was the biggest stage. Today I chucked all the drugs that assisted me to cope with the toxic aspect of chemo. A way of ending that stage and starting the next …
The windows and doors darken. A grumble overhead alerts my ears to the coming storm.
Summer rain in Brisbane has thick shafts that demolish spiders’ cobwebs in one sudden downpour.
I love summer rain.
It’s the Friday before Mastectomy Monday.
I feel fine.
In five days my breasts are gone.
If there’s a mammary heaven mine will be with friends soon. The message I want them to take to mammary paradise is not to be good girls, but saucy minxes. May they flirt with anything that flies by; may they bare all without shame; may they flop down in some Angel’s lap and cause them to blush.
Dear mammaries, how I’ll miss you.
The mercury is at 36 degrees, humidity at 75 percent. Felix and I just returned from my Echocardiogram. Two hours ago I plonked down in a waiting room seat wet with sweat. My son bottom shuffled up to all the other people on chairs and in turn plucked at their shoes, looked up at them or gave big, toothy smiles to anyone who engaged with him. Twice now I’ve been asked my daughter’s name. Zoë – I think would be my daughter’s name. But of course they don’t mean my future (not possible) daughter’s name, but my son’s.
Felix has strawberry-blonde curls, a cherubic face with the high colouring only Caravaggio knows how to deliver. In short: he’s gorgeous. The first time I was asked ‘her name’ was last weekend. It probably had something to do with my son wearing a pink bond’s singlet. It was cute.
Why are we still correlating pink with girls and blue with boys? I thought second wave feminism put that one in the garbage bin. Apparently not.
It’s hot, and on days like this you have to fill up the water glass often: one for you, one for your head then one for you again.
Weeks ago my ovaries were turned off. Since then I’ve started getting menopausal symptoms with a vengeance. The hot flushes are the worst of them. However, it has to be said that after chemotherapy these kind of bodily discomforts are manageable. When the hot flush comes on it’s like molten lava oozing out of a volcano. The heat is red hot, and consuming. My heart goes from thumpidy thump thump to boom boom in an effort to manage whatever’s happening internally with the rushes. A nurse informed me the other day that her Aunt named them ‘power surges’. They are powerful.
The hot flushes combined with the moist heat of a Brisbane summer make for many showers and changes of underwear.
We’re twelve days into the New Year – 2010 – Kubrick’s space odyssey hasn’t happened nine years after it should’ve. Humans are still grounded on earth. Virgin will fly you through the Stratosphere where any person, who can afford a sizable house in Sydney’s inner city, can float free from gravity for a few minutes. But no, Earth is still our main residence. What a job we’re currently doing folks: paying an extra $2 per plane ticket to minimize our carbon footprints in the sky, political argy-bargy on minimising emissions and many countries experiencing extreme weather conditions – from snow covering all of England to catastrophic fire warnings in South Australia.
I may think globally, but my world is still very much local. I’ve resumed cancer treatments. Right now I visit the oncology day unit more often than when I underwent chemotherapy: for Zoladex injections (menopause maker) once a month, regular echocardiograms to check the drugs aren’t compromising my heart functioning, and IV Herceptin every three weeks to suppress the HerII protein that my particular brand of breast cancer likes for breakfast.
These visits fall on different days. Last year Friday was chemo day and Brett took our son for the day. So now I take Felix with me. He gets a lot of attention from the nurses. Plus, my fellow patients engage with me in a way they wouldn’t if the subject wasn’t babies – mainly their own and their own’s own (i.e. grandchildren). He’s a bit of babbling sunshine and normalcy in a place where people are going through really difficult stuff and feeling sick along the way.
Right now he’s asleep. I just finished Larson’s Millennium trilogy (great fun). I loved the heroine Salander as a character. What we all would give for a photographic memory. My hair has come back greyer and thicker. Right now I have a faux Mohawk ala Beckham. I’m eating well. I feel good, really good in fact.