The C-bomb

The official Terry Fox memorial statue at Thun...
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And so…have I been telling you everything? No, I have not. I have not been telling 3000 readers a day everything or even most things, other than squid things, and I am relatively certain that I’ve managed to meet The Sister’s levels of reticence with my own, or even raise her a few.


So, for the last three months, I’ve been dealing with this… cancer thing. Which is a thing I had before, back in 1996, but I beat that bitch. Sadly, at the time I thought I’d get:

  1. skinny
  2. that fabulous Terry Fox hair

out of the deal, and that just never happened. I gained 30 lbs and instead of spaghetti hair I got linguine hair. Big. Fucking. Whoop.

Anyhoodle, as a Southerner of my acquaintance says…

For the last three months I’ve been dealing with a nasty on-off kinda-sorta set of symptoms which could or could not add up to the Big C.

Now, those of you who’ve known me since 1996, which is a relatively small number compared to the total truckstop strangers who’ve whizzed by en route to BoingBoing, may not be aware, but I have had a cancer scare before, only that one was justified.

I had Stage 3B Hodgkin’s Disease, which in addition to sounding hopelessly old-fashioned,  meant that I had an approximately 60% chance of living five years past diagnosis, a fact which I managed to keep from my sister from then right up until… about… now, actually.

Anyway, Live I Did.

But I did not live by being passive. Nor do I so to this day. And I forget where I was going with that, but that is neither here nor there, nor is it either here or there.

Nor does it matter, because this evening I have had two Raven Cream Ales, two Tanqueray Dirty Martinis, and three Jack Daniels and thus cannot recall such minutia.

And you know what? Not only have they 0verserved me, but they’ve overserved me right. Because today I spent from 11 am to 4:30pm at the BC Cancer Clinic, getting checked out for cancer of the boobage, which it appears at last that I do not have.  And by 11:45 am I knew what it was, and that it wasn’t cancer.


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39 thoughts on “The C-bomb

  1. But Rain, darling…is relief an excuse to drunk-blog? Not that we could have ascertained this, really, if you hadn’t mentioned it, but it’s still a dangerous thing to do.

    Very happy the scare is over — see you in June!

  2. As long as it is not neither here or there nor either here nor there.

    I have had so many bad tales about the big C lately it is good to hear a good tale for a change. And I would kill for a Jack Daniels!

  3. I’ve been in this place too but the news I got was bad news. In the end I beat the BIGC but I’m so glad you don’t have to fight that battele.

    I’m so happy for you girl that I’m sending you a cyber {{HUG}} and I’ll raise a glass to your health tonight at supper.

    Love ya,

  4. Oh thank goodness! That is always a horrible scare. Sending a huge hug and so glad that you are okay.

    Much love,


  5. Thanks, all. What a relief; literally every day for three solid months I’ve worried about this. AND, of course, my phone got stolen and thus I didn’t get the message about the appointment for my mammogram until it was too late, so they had to reschedule it.

    And yes: what better excuse for drunk blogging COULD there be? This is better than New Years!

  6. By the way, the lump turned out to be just under the skin, which was good, because even if it had been cancerous it’s much easier to deal with there and less likely to be cancer in the first place. After we’d triangulated the exact place (leaving me entirely black and blue on the right side today) it became obvious what it was:

    When I had Hodgkin’s Disease, I’d had a catheter put in, a line that went under the skin from mah boobie up to my jugular vein. It had a band of roughness about two inches above where it entered the boob, to encourage scar tissue to form around it and hold it in place. It was nothing but that old internal scar tissue showing up on the mammogram.

    Now, to find out what’s got me sick this whole time.

  7. Oooh, Calvados is lovely! Thanks.

    I’m off to have a JD nightcap and watch a dumb chick flick soon. If I wake up in time, I’m hitting the spa because I deserve it.

  8. So glad to read this, Rain. I’m at the two-year mark this week, which is both happy-making and scary (like you I was also given a 50/50 chance of living for five years after diagnosis).

    Maybe I should take up your method. I mean, if JD can’t kill those liver mets then I don’t know what can.


  9. oh deah girly, i’m sho relieved to hear [hic] your ohkeh. getting shloshed in your honor. commenting drunk ish ok, too, yesh? an today, hope everyshings awright and they done treat you good in that hoshbi, hoshli, hoshit, well younowhadahmean, that playsh whe you went wid dad [hic] shtoopid fevah and anyway my aunt she went theah too and then the, the you know, whadatheycalled [hic] zzzzzzzzzz…..

  10. Don’t want to be an stick in the mud, but if you had had illness and scares, it’s best to stick to a fairly healthy lifestyle, fruit and veggie juices, plenty of fruit and veg, small amounts of protein, exercise, etc. etc.

    The odd drink is OK, but I would avoid massive benders, anything in excess. And don’t smoke! Please.

  11. Oh, I am so relieved you don’t have cancer of the boobage, or any other cancer! I was a little reluctant to read this post after seeing the title…After Az’s experience, and the experience of another blog friend’s, it just hits me so hard.

    I hope you are feeling better and that whatever these sorta-kinda symptoms are, it’s easily deal-with-able.

  12. Gosh, another westcoaster. I stumbled across this blog from a newspaper blog.

    I didn’t read entire thread, but hope each day is like raindrop for you…giving (as usual where you work/volunteer :)) and luminous.

  13. angelneptunestar, obviously you haven’t been reading the forum or you’d KNOW the epic battles I’ve had with the smokers there. As for healthy lifestyle, I think 80% raw vegan with the occasional burger and bender thrown in every time I am told I don’t have cancer is permissible, don’t you?

    Az, what did I tell you? Two years. I told you so! Here’s hoping you’re free of that bitch for good.

    isabella, cheers! Thanks for checking up on me when I went to the hospital yesterday. I’d have posted an update, but I went straight home and fell asleep. The fever, etc turns out to be highly localized; it’s just that after the flu my inner ears are still swollen and raw, and that’s causing all kinds of weird effects including decreased appetite. So my weakness isn’t really a result of the illness; it’s a side effect of not eating because I have no appetite and constant nausea. They say it could be another month before all is better, and in the meantime there’s nothing I can do but eat right and stay healthy. I’m bummed I missed almost all of Northern Voice this year, but my job now is to get healthy for WordCamp Victoria in a week!

    WC, thanks so much. Yeah, I understand the reluctance to read; I do tend not to make little posts, but drop big bombshells instead. On the plus side there’s a guy around who’s faking cancer (to get laid, I think; or to fill the sociopathic hole in his soul with the love and support of well-meaning innocents, actually) and he had to TOTALLY step up his game to top this post and stay “Top Cancer News in Vancouver.” Now he’s said he’s going to die soon.

    So that’s a plus.

    Jean, welcome. I’m a big meanie, as you can see.

  14. I spent four months this year going for tests after a symptom I had fell into the ‘treat this as if it’s cancer until/unless proven otherwise’ category – even though my research indicated that only 7 per cent of those going through the testing I underwent actually did have cancer. By a month before I was due for my biopsy I was wandering around town saying, ‘take my tissue – PLEASE take my tissue – so I can prove to you I don’t have cancer.’ Which people found rather odd, of course.

    Having seen many other friends through the testing process, I really am convinced a support group for those waiting for the other shoe to drop is required. In fact, I’m thinking of writing a speech about it and taking it on the road to every medical convention in the world – especially the conventions for medical receptionists and secretaries who can whip you into a state of hysteria without even trying.

  15. There are lots of support groups for those who’ve been diagnosed, but in the limbo between feeling something was up and getting the all-clear there’s nothing, really. I worry that such support groups would be taken over by Munchausen’s people and hyphchondriacs. I, personally, isolated myself a little more than usual. God knows, “something is vaguely wrong with me” is not the world’s greatest conversational topic.

  16. I called in four cousins and four girlfriends but it was hilarious – it got to the point where I felt I couldn’t go for coffee after a procedure because I had to rush home and report via email to my hand-crafted support group. It was certainly an interesting experience though. My battle cry the month before it changed to ‘take my tissue’ was ‘I am not a disease!’ It was interesting to compare reactions though – by the time I concluded there was nothing wrong with me, some of my support group said, ‘but you can’t possibly KNOW that’ while others had been saying, ‘it’s probably nothing’ right from the get go. However – it’s great to know I’ve got people who care about me enough to listen to my ultrasound and biopsy horror stories.

  17. That’s true.

    But here’s a drama-management tip: if you REALLY want to get sympathy and support, don’t rush home from your tests and immediately update everyone. Take your time. Because they’ll be FUCKING FRANTIC by the time you do update.

  18. “I worry that such support groups would be taken over by Munchausen’s people and hyphchondriacs.”

    Or run by Positive Thinking Gurus and God Squads.

    The only people who *get* where I am now are those who either have or have had cancer – and only some of them. It’s like anything really – you have to be able to relate on more than one level for someone’s support to be meaningful and helpful.

    My friend Manolo is an excellent boss and by discussing some of his staff problems he has taught me a lot about getting the best out of people. Mostly it boils down to simply acknowledging their limitations and encouraging their good points. So while X might be crap at listening, they might be great as a movie or tapas buddy, helping with chores, or coming with me to hospital appointments. Others might only feel capable of sending me a small donation or gift. The very few who know how to listen – and also what to say – are to be nurtured and cherished.

    Just a long-winded way of saying that we all find our own ways of coping. I have two more sleeps before I am out of this latest six-month limbo, and the closer I get to the “moment of truth” the more flipped out I feel. So it’ll be tapas & wine again tonight, and fuck that I can’t afford it and really shouldn’t. I’ve actually really enjoyed these past two weeks since finding out when the next scan would be.

  19. That’s very wise. I know my friends have limitations and to deliberately not ask them for more than they can give isn’t “being a bad friend” or “lacking faith,” it’s just knowing how to maintain a friendship proactively.

    We all have lots of friends who say “you can count on me” and we love them, but we know we can’t, really. And that’s okay, as long as there are a few we CAN count on, when the chips are down.

  20. It sure is. In fact, I’m still using up the last of the “accoutrements.” July is birthday month and diet month, so they’re going to be used for cooling my Diet Coke instead of my Bombay Sapphire, alas.

  21. Well you see, other people might think they know what’s “best for you”, but I’m more interested in sussing out what is actually best for you. You know?

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