Susan Morrison: I'm not a '˜battler', I'm not taking a '˜journey' and I won't try yoga
By the time you read this I should be safely wrapped in the arms of Morpheus and under the surgeon's knife, deep in the sleep of anaesthesia.
Well, I certainly hope so. Given the state of the NHS, it’s entirely possible I’ll turn up to the Western to find a bloke waving a bottle of gin shouting: “Down this, missus, and we’ll get started!” To be honest, this is how all my favourite parties start.
It feels faintly unreal, because ironically, I am strangely fit, given the punishment I’ve meted out to my poor old body in the past. I’m one of those boring people who go to gyms because I like it. I get too impatient to wait for buses and walk everywhere, and contrary to the image I like to portray, don’t drink nearly as much as I boast about.
So, I am facing fairly big surgical adventures when I do not feel ill at all, aside from a touch of cancer, of course, which is the sneaky thing about it. Do go for those scans, checks and swabs up the wazoo, boys and girls. This killer is way more discrete than two Russians visiting a cathedral.
There’s so much guff talked about cancer. Those of us who get it are somehow “fighters” and we’re “battling” and we’re “brave”. We’re not really. We’re just the same people, but with an illness. Those who get up and go will get up and go. Those who get a bit floored will get a bit floored. It’s an illness, not a personality transplant.
Our friends are brilliant, but folks with cancer attract strange people. These Misery Mavens love to shimmy up to us with their heads tilted to one side and want to talk to us about turmeric up the jacksie (honestly!) or suggest buying honey that’s more expensive than heroin. For the record, I have no idea of the current street value of Class A drugs.
Cancer has a sinister glamour about it. Why it gets such star billing is a bit of a mystery to me. No one sidles up to someone with flu and suggests they should shove a hosepipe up their nose and flush their sinuses with Dettol.
I haven’t been on a “journey”, I haven’t taken up yoga and I haven’t got in touch with my inner self. Anyway, as far as I can work out it’s the inner self that’s trying to kill me. I have a problem and, with the practicality you would expect of a Scottish engineer’s daughter, I looked squarely at it and decided something should be done.
Fortunately, the consultant agreed. Eventually.
A cancer day off is not an option
Early stage cancer is the evil twin of pregnancy. Like being pregnant, you can’t take a day off from it, and park it whilst you go off and party like you used to, or simply just not have it for a few hours.
Just as in those days of waiting for the baby, there are long stretches where nothing happens at all, and then frantic activity bursts all around you with people in scrubs and white coats operating big noisy machines, giving you pills and asking questions about your toilet habits that make you blink.
Of course, there is something growing inside you that needs to get out. Unlike pregnancy, though, there’s no lying awake at night, usually as a result of wind, heartburn, nausea or all three, looking forward to meeting the little passenger.
No, the imagination can run riot with this one. So, I stare the bony face of fear down and remind myself that the 21st century has put my particular demon firmly in a box, when it used to be the other way around for my sisters in the past.
Secondly, I live in a country where I don’t fear the cost of my treatment more than my illness. And thirdly, I remember the wonderful Rachael Bland, lost to triple-negative breast cancer just weeks ago. I have choices she was denied. Self-pity can take a hike.
Cancer, do one. The Western General is about to kick your bahookie.
Where’s Bojo? Up to no good I reckon
Meanwhile, in another part of the forest – where exactly has Boris Johnson gone? It’s always a worry when he’s not in plain sight. It’s like looking after a toddler. He could be pulling a table cloth over himself or getting caught in bed with someone he’s not married to or something.
He’ll just erupt from somewhere, probably to start scrapping with Phil Hammond, David Davies or anyone else in his own party, and make even more of a mess of Brexit. And yes, that is possible.
These people have a country to run, delicate negotiations to undertake, new trade deals to secure. Instead, they look like a bunch of blokes fighting in a pub car park.
Bet Gove would hover on the sidelines holding the jackets.