The Big C

Due to all the needles currently in my life: the weekly bloods taken from my foot, the side-effect combatting jabs in my bum before chemo and the chemo drips, I have been deliberately negligent in having my regular vit B shots.

However with the new issues I’m having with numb fingers and toes, I have been advised to put those weekly jabs back on track as Vit B can help with nerve problems.  So last Thursday after having bloods taken, I found myself sitting in a pharmacy waiting to see the clinic sister with a sore foot and a less than happy attitude.

I got pulled into polite conversation with a chap waiting in line to have a hearing test done –  “To keep his wife happy”!  He asked if I had “The Big C”, now I know it must sound really odd, but “cancer” was not the first thing I thought he meant!  For some odd, bizarre reason the only thing that entered my mind was CHLAMYDIA!   Suddenly I found myself frantically trying to read the miniscule clinic notice posted on the door, did I miss something……Wednesday was baby clinic, was Thursday STD’s????

Fortunately the penny dropped in my chemically dulled brain and I replied with a little more glee and relief than the situation called for: “Yes, yes, I have breast cancer!”  (with a great big smile on my face ***slaps forehead).

Either his hearing impediment was a lot more serious than I had originally thought or he was used this kind of mental behaviour,  but he barely blinked an eye.  He told me he had some family members who had been diagnosed with “The Big C”.  His niece had been clear for over 10 years after having lymphoma.   He proudly told me what a tough cookie she was.  She lived in Kwambonambi in Zululand at the time and used to drive herself to and from Durban for her chemo treatments; often having to pull off on the side of the road to throw up then get right back on the road again.

When the sister called me in, I took my vitamin B injection a lot more stoically than I would have before hearing that story!

It made me really think (maybe as I had been watching hours of Kardashian re-runs while resting) how we all get caught up in the lives of those we deem extraordinary: celebrities and public figures we wish to emulate because of how they look or how much money or power they have.  While when we meet or hear about ordiary people, caught in extra-ordinary circumstances displaying extra-ordinary character and strength, we seldom give them a second thought.

“Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives.  Such striving may seem admirable,but it is the way of foolishness.  Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life.  Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples and pears.  Show them how to cry when pets and people die.  Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand.  And make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself.” William Martin

“Our key to greatness lies not in our ability to project ourselves to others as if we are putting ourselves onto a projector and creating an image of ourselves on a projector screen. Rather, our key to greatness lies in who we are which we can give to other people in a way that when they walk away from us, they are able to say in their hearts that they have taken away something with them quite extraordinary.” C.JoyBell C.

“Extraordinary people survive under the most terrible circumstances and they become more extraordinary because of it.” Robertson Davies


One thought on “The Big C

  1. Its odd, someone said to me this last week, they still can’t believe that Janine has cancer. I did a double take, Janine cancer… And then it dawned on me, we’ve started to become accustomed to the new normal, we’ve adapted and there’s a sense of normality – enough for me to forget for that moment that the “big C” has taken up residence in our home. Its truly amazing how adaptable us human beings actually are.

    While it doesn’t detract from the neuropathy, the swollen feet, the sore joints and more recently the bleeding nose – you’re fighting like a champion and I’m blessed to have such an extraordinary wife. Tomorrow we see the Dent Doctor with a new list of questions, some more concerns and re-assurance needed, its good to know that we’re down to 5 more treatment.

    Ps – I’m surprised you didn’t book me in for a hearing test too…

    “I have realized; it is during the times I am far outside my element that I experience myself the most. That I see and feel who I really am, the most! I think that’s what a comet is like, you see, a comet is born in the outer realms of the universe! But it’s only when it ventures too close to our sun or to other stars that it releases the blazing “tail” behind it and shoots brazen through the heavens! And meteors become sucked into our atmosphere before they burst like firecrackers and realize that they’re shooting stars! That’s why I enjoy taking myself out of my own element, my own comfort zone, and hurling myself out into the unknown. Because it’s during those scary moments, those unsure steps taken, that I am able to see that I’m like a comet hitting a new atmosphere: suddenly I illuminate magnificently and fire dusts begin to fall off of me! I discover a smile I didn’t know I had, I uncover a feeling that I didn’t know existed in me… I see myself. I’m a shooting star. A meteor shower. But I’m not going to die out. I guess I’m more like a comet then. I’m just going to keep on coming back.”
    ― C. JoyBell –


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