Up again, unable to sleep because of the pain.
I’ve just taken some morphine (15ml, should you be interested), and that will kick in soon. It doesn’t quite take the pain away, but numbs it enough for me to be able to function.
I had to sign the poisons book at the pharmacy when I picked up my prescription. A month ago, the strongest thing I’d take would be soluble paracetamol with codeine. Now I’m signing the poisons register and have a tattoo.
Cancer’s turning me into a bad boy.
But, there are limits.
Several people have recommended marijuana as a way to ease the pain and even aid recovery – either in oil or its more regular form. But I won’t do it.
I know it’s not a powerful drug, and the stuff I’m prescribed for my high blood pressure is probably far more potent – but I’ve never taken any form of illegal drug in my life, and I don’t want to start now.
Not because of its legality. I’m simply not interested. Never have been, never will. Just not my thing.
I can almost hear the critical among you ranting that I take a legal drug – in the form of alcohol – quite openly (or, at least, I did), and that’s far worse than using marijuana can ever be.
That’s probably the case. But – not interested.
I’ve heard many, many cases of people being rewarded with powerful pain relief through its use.
Wonderful. Still not interested.
I’m not being a snob, or a wimp, or a goody-goody, and I would never criticise anyone if they decided to use the stuff for medical or recreational purposes.
I’m just not interested.
My drink was whisky. Single malt. I gave up on beer several years ago as it just started to make me feel bloated and gassy.
Kirsty thinks I drank a lot, and she may be right. Sometimes I’d have three or four glasses in an evening with ice, which can equal half a bottle.
In the cold light of day, that is a lot. Certainly more than the government wants me to consume. All that units per week stuff.
Why am I worrying about this? Because it’s possible – just possible – that drinking caused my cancer. I can never be certain that’s the case, but then I can never be certain it isn’t.
The doctors all asked if I smoke (no), have ever smoked (no). Then ‘do you drink alcohol’ was always the third question.
When I think of a ‘heavy drinker’, I think of some of the people I used to serve when I worked behind a pub bar many years ago. People who arrived straight from work, sat at the same position at the bar, every night, and downed one drink after another until it was closing time.
And, sometimes, they’d stay behind for a lock-in ’til two or three in the morning.
That wasn’t me. I’ve never done that. But it doesn’t stop me asking the question…
Did I do this to myself?
Am I directly responsible for my cancer?
As you’ll know if you’ve read the other posts here, both my parents died from cancer. Other people in my close family have also had their own their own encounters with the disease.
That must count for something.
We’re susceptible to it.
But the thought that I caused this myself – that I’m the reason for the stress and upset and worry my family are going through right now – is horrible.
If that’s the case, then I deserve the agony of my forthcoming treatment.
Christ, that’s a dark thought.
But then, it is the middle of the bloody night again – and you know what that does when you start thinking. What is it about the dark that makes your mind not only wander, but actively take the steps down to the unlit cellar?
Everyone else in the house is asleep. The vast majority of the country is in the same position. But, here and there – there are lights on in windows. People like me, unable to sleep because of pain or worry or plain old insomnia.
All of us having our worries amplified by the dark outside.
It’s like a club. A club that none of us wanted to join.
I wonder what the t-shirt would look like?
I can feel the morphine kicking in now. Everything is turning dull. Fuzzy. There, but not sharp. Like background music or one of those apps you can get so you can listen to the rain to help you fall asleep.
I’ve got one of those. Kirsty and I use it quite frequently. It’s really good. You can set it to rainfall, the sound of a babbling brook, forest noises – or even the ambience of a train station or coffee shop.
White noise, they call it.
White noise in the dark night.
I worry that these posts come across as self-pitying. Or, worse, playing on the emotions of you, dear reader.
I promise you that’s not the case. I’m just trying to be honest about what I’m going through, and how it makes me feel.
My sister pointed out, quite correctly, that if my Mum had been around to read any of these blog entries, she’d have given me a good talking to. She’d have told me to pull myself up by my bootstraps. If I can’t cope with the parking situation at a hospital, then how the hell will I get through six weeks of radiotherapy?
She’s right, of course. Now’s the time I have to be stronger than ever. Tougher than ever. Dwelling on what ifs, and how longs won’t do me any good at all.
I do try to be strong. Really. It’s just that I’m scared.
I can’t think of another time in my life that I’ve been so scared.
Oh, there have been moments. Watching first my Mum, then my Dad come closer and closer to passing away.
Passing away. I really couldn’t bring myself to type the word ‘dying’ then. I even had to force myself in that last sentence.
There was also a time when Arran was much younger and we couldn’t find him when we went to pick him up after school. We drove round and round, asked at reception, called his friends – but there was no sign of him. No-one knew where he was.
We found him – forty five minutes later – outside the playground of a different school nearby. There hadn’t been any parking spaces outside his own school that day, so he’d kept on walking until he reached somewhere with a gap where we could pull in and collect him. He hadn’t thought that we’d need to know where he was in order to do so.
Totally innocent, but the fear you go through when you can’t find one of your kids…
That was scary.
But this… This is different. This is like a constant buzzing noise at the back of my head. And even if I manage to tune that out, every now and again…
It all comes back to me.
Hey Tommy – you’ve got cancer!
It’s that word, isn’t it?
That bastard word.
I’m a writer; I know how powerful words can be. But, that one…
It’s a killer. In more ways than one.