So I go under the knife on Monday and am feeling a surge of concern amongst loved ones. Hardly surprising given it’s a major – perhaps the major – event in the whole process.
Of course unless you live nearby, it’s hard to do anything practical. Here are some ideas of how you can genuinely help me.
1. Get screened If you’re a woman and are knocking on 40’s door, or know one who is, please get in touch with your local breast cancer charity to find out how to access an early screen. If you have cancer in your family GET SCREENED. Seriously, just do it.
I was complacent for a long time, and nearly didn’t go when I did. There’s a woman in my community, a friend of a friend, who’s 44 with two kids and her first screening detected stage 2 cancer. That could have been me. Don’t let it be you. Just…don’t.
2. Get loving The silver lining of this (and there have been a surprising number of them) is how it’s put me on the receiving end of a tsunami of love. It’s given people permission to express deep affection and concern and I am supremely grateful for this. In fact given my chances of survival are incredibly high, I even feel a bit guilty to receive it. It has been an emotional but very touching demonstration of just how brilliant people can be.
Ted and I are going to come out of this invincible, I swear. I love the shit out of him right about now. We have never made vows but are living the whole sickness and in health, for better or for worse thing. And the richer or poorer, thanks to Bupa’s inadequacies.
Having your health compromised does remind you that life is exceptionally precious, and if by sharing my pain you’ve been encouraged to tell me you love me, hug your kids more tightly, or squeeze your loved one more poignantly then I’m grateful and glad.
3. Get living A few years ago I read this incredible article and it was just the grease I needed to move my priorities around to the extent that if I were to die, I would not have any regrets. I’d be extremely ticked off, of course, and feel physically sick at the notion that my kids would have to swim through an ocean of sorrow as I did whilst growing up. But if my number was up, I wouldn’t think I wish I’d enjoyed my work more, or spent more time with those I love. Could do better on the keeping in touch with friends thing, admittedly, but that’s just as well otherwise the mercury may well bust out of the top of my smug-o-meter.
4. Get giving If thoughts are turning to flowers, or books or chocolates or gifts, I’d like to thank you but also to say please don’t! I’d much prefer a card or email and for you to take what you were going to spend on me and donate it to this charity, utilised by a local family whose six year old, who went to preschool with Amy, is currently undergoing chemo. I’m pretty sure they’d walk a million miles to swap places with me right now.
Finally, I’d be really glad if on Monday at midday AEST you could send me what my friend Jayne quite delightfully calls “love, light and all that shit.”