Write a blog, they said

Fiona O’Donovan doesn’t have any advice on cancer treatment, parenting or how to stop your dog peeing on the wet room floor but she does have a way with words and a no-holds-barred honesty we love. Follow her story of life with two boys, dogs, gerbils and breast cancer in her new column for Smallish

 I can pee a rainbow

There are many, many things that happen to you once diagnosed. Some people like lots of info, stats and stuff. Not me. Tell me where and when to turn up and just get on with it, thank you. I’ve stayed away from Google, and a brief scan of possible side effects from some of the medication convinced me that ignorance is indeed bliss. Seriously, anyone who takes those meds after full disclosure is either drunk or illiterate.

I am totally unprepared for hospital stays, I don’t own a dressing gown and am stubbornly refusing to buy one. Like owning one means I’ll have to stay in hospital overnight. I’ve never got the hang of grown up nightwear.

It turns out there’s a lot more walking involved in a hospital visit than I remembered, the days of cheery porters wheeling you wherever you need to go seem to have gone. You are given a pillow, and a gown, and a set of places you have to go to have various procedures carried out. It’s like the most un-fun treasure hunt ever. Trotting round the hospital looking for various rooms, when you find the right one they invariably stick needles into you and take pictures of your wobbliest bits. Really shit prizes. You have to carry your pillow with you too, everywhere. I think they put tracking devices in them in case you make a run for it.

Lots of the people you have to find put all sorts of weird stuff into you. There’s the dye that helps the surgeon track your lymph nodes, that turns your pee blue. They said it’d turn my face blue too, but I’m Scottish and already pale blue, so that phenomenon was a bit of an anti-climax. Once you start chemo there’s something called FEC(k) which turns your pee red. It’s a bit of a boring day when my wee is straw coloured now.

I pointed this out to my husband who declared: “Bloody Hell, you’re peeing like a unicorn”. Which was funnier than him declaring me “fat and bald”. Did I mention he works in IT? Before you send him hate mail, he has never yet refused to go and get me wine.

I did end up having to spend one night in hospital, despite all the precautions I’d taken to avoid it. It wasn’t so bad, the menu was huge and the food better than you’d think. My room mate was fun, she was having new boobs whilst I was having one removed. We shared the same name, and I suspect we found that much more amusing than the nurses trying to dispense the right drugs to the right patient. “Nope, the antibiotics are for Two Boobs, I’m one and need the pain killers”, maybe that’s only funny if you’re still a bit hazy from a general anaesthetic.

Follow Fiona’s blog here.

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