At the ripe age of twenty one an average person would see the beginning of full time work, the end of university and a new car with a full licence. Weekends are barbeques and beer at your new apartment or cocktails at the four seasons hotel. Sundays are spent dining at the local cafe for breakfast followed by beach swims in summer or lazy dvds in winter. Holidays are taken spontaneously to the hunter valley for wine tasting, shopping in Melbourne, city hotel stays for hens nights and birthdays. Planes are flown to foreign lands with foreign languages and school savings are spent at cafes, patisseries, boulangeries and markets. Sites are seen from the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the London Eye and the Roman Colossium. There are laughs at photos on the trip home realising you’ve put on a kilo or two so you join the gym when you get home.
These are all the things I had planned to do this year. The year of twenty one. The last year you can actually get away with being reckless. The last year at uni when you have spare time to sit in T2 at macquarie centre and teach yourself French or talk to industry professionals and ask them to teach you everything they know. Of course this year for me had a different plan for itself. Instead of attending uni lectures, I learn about my cancer, I hear my latest blood results and spend hours upon hours in ward 12a getting someone else’s blood or chemotherapy fused into me. Instead of renting an apartment, I pay for leggings, sloppy joes and wigs. Instead of styling my hair for the latest 21st party, my hair falls out and I attempt to cover it with synthetic strands of barbie hair. Instead of visiting the gym, I am wheelchaired between the car and my small bedroom in our Warriewood home which I will stay in day after day while my friends work their new jobs or finish their university degrees. I buy concert tickets in hope that my blood counts will be high enough to attend but end up giving them away to friends who will be able to go without the risk of receiving an infection. My days are spent watching the clock, counting down to bed where I tend to have to take a sleeping tablet because I have just had a high dose of steroids to prevent side effects of drugs, leaving me agitated. I am told I have thyroiditis and the only drug I can take to slow my heart fills my sleep with vivid dreams and nightmares. I carry a thermometer in my handbag instead of lipstick, I moisturise instead of tanning lotion, I wear a hat over my bald head at night instead of plaiting my long brown hair that used to be there, I wear anti aging skin lotion, I apply mascara in hope not to push another eye lash out, I start to draw on my eye brows. Yes they are thinning. I try on clothes and tears fall, this is not my body. This is cancers body. I train my mind to think of hope and a future. I drain my thoughts with music. I count down days until I see friends and I can laugh again. I am happy for the good things that happen to my friends. They have hens nights, they have weddings, they work and go to uni, some have babies, some buy new cars.
I have so much to look forward to. But this is still so hard. Transplant in less than one month. Again another chance for hairloss, infertility, dry skin, rashes, sickness, nausea, being anemic (low blood cells) and mouth ulcers. Just to name a few. I need a boost to get me through this last stage. I love to hear from you. That is enough.