Monday, 6 October 2008
Part Six - Tea, Seaweed and Other Such Twattery
Cancer changes people. A brief glimpse at any cancer support website will reveal a number of previously sound-minded people turning to religion, outlandish voodoo medicines and writing pieces of poetry about their experiences with, more often than not, hilariously inept results. Personal favourites of mine include ‘I Wanted To Be a Dancer, But Then I Got Cancer’ and the inspiring verses of ‘Cancer Slayer’ which, coincidentally, is the only name that I will respond to after my treatment. Now this is fine, people cope with things in their own ways. I’ve sometimes thought that me writing funny cancer jokes on here is my coping mechanism, but really I just do it in the hope that I can guilt a company into publishing my inspirational tale so that I can swagger into my second year English lectures as Jamie Ross, published author. However, the arrival of seaweed supplements and green tea to the house this week at my explicit demand have confirmed what I feared all along - I’m turning into almost everything I despise.
A stark memory that I have of the day of my diagnosis, now just over two months ago, is ordering my Mum in the car on the way to hospital that, whatever was about to transpire, I mustn’t turn into a sanctimonious, religious, hippy prat - a fate that appears to have befallen so many of my cancerous comrades. I’ve fought it cancer fans, lord knows how I’ve fought it, and yet I’m currently sitting underneath a Buddhist healing pendant which is suspended from my window whilst enjoying my afternoon snack of seaweed tablets and a mug of unfathomably disgusting tea. I don’t know what makes green tea green, but from the taste of it I can only shudder to think. As I indulge myself in these patently frivolous and futile measures, I can only look at myself in my mirrored wardrobe doors whilst writing this and forlornly ask, what have I become?
Why is it that supposedly reborn people are always reborn as insufferable twats? I’m not claiming a personal rebirth, as that itself would make me sound like a one of them, but the arrival of these alternative medicines have confirmed that I’m certainly not the same sensible young man that I was just two months ago. Am I now consigned to a life of doing yoga, eating Actimel yoghurt and tutting at people who smoke? Am I forthwith going to shoehorn my condition into every conversation that I have and demand that everyone treats me as an inspirational figure? Am I going to transform the format of this blog so that it’s just a relentless series of rubbish poems about cancer? There is just no telling how far my impending twattery will stretch, it is a beast over which I have no control.
I’ve also thought about organising an event for the Teenage Cancer Trust, an act which would previously have made me think that the person doing it was an righteous idiot desperate for people to think that he was a fantastic man. A shameful belief to hold, perhaps, but one unquestionably justified by the mere existence of Bono from U2. What this particular charity does, however, is build hospital wards for teenage cancer patients to save them from the perils of hanging out in a treatment room that could easily be confused for a mortuary due to the withered inhabitants of it - a fate that greets me every fortnight. Being nineteen, I’d just be able to sneak into one of these teenage wards and be treated as a cool, worldly-wise older cousin. I can just picture the scene of a horseshoe of plucky youngsters gathering around Cousin Jayman to ask me about girls and suchlike, and then me having to desperately make up lies to keep up my painstakingly constructed illusion of coolness. There is also every chance that the creation of such a ward would bring me face to face with the cancerous young lady of my dreams. I can imagine few more romantic scenarios than our eyes flirtatiously meeting through a transparent chemotherapy drip bag, talking for hours on end about our various dire states of health pausing only to vomit every now and then. Do look out for the posters around Kinross advertising my massive charity extravaganza - ‘Give what you can to help Jamie Ross prey upon young, female cancer victims’.
However, what I ask of you - my friends - is not a charitable donation to aid my seductions. I need you to replace my moribund sense of rationality. If you see me buying any grocery product that has been described as a superfood, slap me really hard in the face. If I tell you to stop smoking, light a cigarette in front of my very eyes, smoke it and then stub it out in my ear. But, most of all, if you see me within 100 meters of a church I demand that you physically incapacitate me by any means possible. I hope I can fully place my trust in you to be cruel to be kind.
Once more, there’s little to mention in the way of medical updates - hence me having to use increasingly obscure aspects of having cancer to have something to write about. How in shitting crikey am I supposed to become the new Lance Armstrong if there’s next to no adversity to overcome? The worst side effect that I get is that I’m a bit thirsty or tired sometimes, I’m pathetic at being seriously ill. I’m on very little medication aswell, I just have one tablet which I have to take once a day for a cycle lasting fourteen days. With my treatment always being two weeks apart this tablet packet acts as some sort of horrific advent calendar counting down to my next dose, only with the delicious piece of elf-shaped chocolate being replaced with a disgustingly bitter pill to stop me being uncontrollably sick everywhere. There may be exciting times ahead, however, as I’ve been pencilled in for another CT scan in a few weeks to check on my progress. I mention this purely so that you don’t disown this increasingly uneventful series.