Recently I heard an interesting observation on trauma. People react in one of two ways: either they ignore it and pretend it’s not happening OR they are defined by it. The middle ground is healthiest. You acknowledge and then you move on. “It happened, but..” Today I learnt for sure that I’m on the denial side of affairs because when we pulled up to the Cancer Care unit for my radiotherapy planning session, the voice in my head kept asking “What the FUCK are you doing here?”

The injustice and incongruence got worse in the waiting room, which was full of old people, wanness, distress and dis-ease. I finally stop thrashing around and by the time I head into the session, I’m resigned. On my way out of the door, I glance at Johnno and Theo, who’s beaming, and I’m sadder than I’ve felt in a long, long while.

Here’s what happens next.

Just change into the gown and pop your clothes in the basket. (The basket and gown give me the Fear). Come through. You just need to lie down and put your hands over your head. Now I’m going to move you, don’t try and help me. Okay good. I’m just drawing some lines on you here and where they cross I’ll give you a small tattoo so we know where to direct the light. Keep nice and still. Mullumbimby is a lovely part of the world isn’t it? I grew up (OUCH!) near there. I’ve got (OUCH!) friends who live in Station Street. Just two more now. Lots of verrrry fun parties in Mullum. (OUUUCH! Mother fucker! x 2) You can rest your arms now. And you’re done! I’ll let the nurse know you’re ready for your little chat, then I’ll take you over to the hospital for your CT scan, so when you’re having the therapy it’s angled to miss your heart and stuff.

Cheers for that, love.

The nurse picks a few leaflets of the rack hands them to me. I snicker to myself, thanking God I’ve not been handed the cancer of the vulva one. I stop laughing when I scan the rack once more and see the one on palliative care. Grave words pass in this room. I scan the leaflets I have been given and can see I’ve read their contents online. I’m told “Girls get tired around week three but it’s best to stay active.”

Pop. Nice and still. Little chat. Heart and stuff. Girls.

Far out, if the cancer doesn’t get me, the tweeness just might.

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