Once more into the doughnut

I had to go back through the doughnut hole yesterday. It’s the big white machine that talks to you (“Breathe in and hold.” Pause. “You may now breathe normally.”) while you are shunted in and out like a tin of tomatoes on a conveyor belt. I really didn’t want to go. I drove on auto-pilot to the Russell Street Medical Centre and was trying to park when I realised I was in the wrong spot. I should have been at the PRP Radiology clinic in Bentinck Street. The business of getting to this appointment was taking me back to that chaotic day in January when I had a CT scan and then innocently went off to my GP who assumed I knew about the results and started talking about two tumours as if they were old news. Traumatic. It was only yesterday that I realised how traumatic this had been. Fortunately, yesterday’s scan was easy peasy. The needle went straight into my vein without any mucking around, because I knew to drink gallons water beforehand. As the radiologist pumped dye through the cannula I felt, without alarm, the weird sensation that feels like you’ve peed yourself (you haven’t). Before I knew it, it was all over. He was packing me up and sending me out and saying the CD would be waiting for me at the front desk. I told him I did not want the CD because I didn’t want to be tempted to look at it before my specialist sat me down to talk about the results. When I go to see the specialist tomorrow (she’ll have picked up the results online), I’m going to say, as soon as I walk in: “I don’t know the results of my latest scan. Be gentle with me.” Later, once everything has been settled, I might go and pick up the CD. By the time I look at it my abdomen will have been radically re-arranged so it won’t matter any more.

So, tomorrow I’ll be getting some important information. I’ll find out if my three chemo sessions have successfully shrunk my tumours, and I’ll find out if I’m well enough to be operated on next Tuesday. All very daunting. Fortunately, I’ve been able to throw myself into crochet! I’ve almost finished my guts. I’m going to stitch them into a brown cushion that will just look like any old brown cushion on the sofa until you unbutton it. I’m dithering about whether to take my bag of guts with me to the specialist. I’m wondering if my surgeon will be impressed or just think I’m wasting precious time in the consulting room. I guess it doesn’t matter either way – my woolly guts have helped me enormously. In making them I was able to learn a lot about my internal organs, say a provisional goodbye to some of them and enjoy the take-your-mind-off-things absorption of a pleasant, creative task.

Today is World Ovarian Cancer Day. The big message is to be aware of the subtle symptoms of ovarian cancer, which usually try to pass themselves off as something more benign, like indigestion, constipation, a feeling of fullness after eating, and so on. Most women are only diagnosed at a late stage, once the cancer has spread because they and their doctors spend months (or years) working through other theories. While my own cancer is called “primary peritoneal cancer” it’s exactly the same as ovarian cancer (it’s just that the origin is in cells attached to the peritoneum, not the ovary), so I consider myself a member of Team Teal.

17 thoughts on “Once more into the doughnut

  1. ali

    Good luck tomorrow Tracy. I’m crossing all my crossable bits for you to have good news! Much love

  2. Helen Bergen

    or does Bertie need feeding over the next few days?

    and…um. just. we love you very much Tracy.

  3. Margaret Jakovac

    Wow, what a journey. Good luck, sretan put (same, but in Cro) for tomorrow. I love the exquisite crochet, that little blue ball like a jewel. Hugs M

  4. Holly North

    Tracy, thank you for being you. I will cross thumbs, fingers and pelvic floor muscles for you to get good news tomorrow. xo Holly

  5. Anne Powles

    Best of luck tomorrow. Take the cushion. Anyone would be impressed with such a work of art and he might be able to make informed suggestions about improvements a lay person may not know about! I am thinking of you at this difficult time.

  6. Sue Morrison

    I’ll be thinking of you Tracy while I’m sitting in my chemo chair tomorrow. Hoping for good news. Talk soon.

  7. Louise Mustard

    Tracy, I hope your appointment tomorrow is a good one. I just want to say I LOVE YOU my good friend! Lou x

  8. Nicola W

    Thinking of you Tracy, good luck. Lots of hugs and kisses flying your way. <3

  9. karen woodhall

    Hi Tracy
    Hope you get the most positive news ever! and take the guts…..they are part of you – your “totem”, and your comfort blanket.
    They will be going along to share the experience…..whatever the doc thinks.
    (A “shaman bag” of healing ?)
    Love and hugs

  10. Barry Healy

    Hi Trace,
    I clicked on the Czechoslovakia link on the left side of your blog out of idle curiousity and found that the link is dead. But it prompted me to search the GLW website for your name and I discovered the trove of great journalism and commentary that you contributed.

    An engaging tone, like a friend chatting over coffee, incisive wit and plain arguments that add up to a persuasive case; it is a joy to read.

    Like this blog, actually, as distressing as the subject matter is.

    Your support club is active in the West. All fingers crossed and powerful thought beams of hope marshalled for you.

  11. john merkel

    i sent my love and little pagan prayers off to go with you – on the road, at the servo, in the waiting room, in the docs office.

    did you take the cushion!

    love, john

  12. merrill

    A long distance hug, dear Tracy. It’s Friday, so guess you’ve seen the doctor, and are into the next chapter of this story – while I’m still digesting your yesterday. May your next week be ‘easy peasy’ too … All my most positive thoughts and love.

  13. Julia Manning

    I guess you have a result by now, as I write this, but I wont ring yet, give you time to digest (so to speak).
    I hope you took the cushion. It cant hurt to inject a little metaphor, whimsy and creativity into his day. Delightful!
    xx Julia.

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