Something unpleasant and me

Posted September 23rd, 2008 by Jane

Miriam Engelberg wrote a brilliant cartoon book called Cancer made me a Shallower Person. I only read it recently…her cartoons about breast cancer make me laugh out loud, particularly ‘Something Unpleasant and You’ where she takes a dig at those cheery medical pamphlets which describe gruesome treatments and procedures in a jolly positive way.

I’m shit scared right now about a nasty little procedure I’m due to have tomorrow to insert a potocath in a neck vein to enable chemotherapy to be infused and bloods (why plural??) to be taken without an hour long game of hunt the vein. When I was first diagnosed and had a biopsy I was so stunned by the news 5 minutes earlier that my huge lump was ‘more likely than not to be cancer’ that I was sufficiently out of it not to notice much at all. Last year was a different matter…unsuspecting I lay down for another biopsy on a neck lump and the worse pain I have ever felt coarsed like an electric bolt down my arm and I screamed in agony….sufficient to turn heads right down the hospital corridor. So tomorrow’s unpleasant little episode, already postponed once, fills me with dread. Nice Dr P. has promised me intravenous tranqillisers and syringe fulls of local but nurse C. who is probably more reliable says those famous last words: “You may be a little uncomfortable.”

Back to Miriam Engelberg and I find not everyone thinks her funny. R. has tried but the humour is too raw, too real. And Engelberg died in 2006. I’m thankful that women like her went before me…makes me feel less alone.