Apologies about the self-indulgent story-telling, folks! But since I’m participating in a charity cancer project, I thought I’d like to explain why before I try and trick you into donating to a good cause 😉
So here’s the thing: cancer is a freaking bitch. It’s just a fact. I challenge you to find someone who has not been affected by it, who can honestly say, “Oh, that? Nope, never happened to anyone I know/care about/shook hands with once.”
Here is my story. Stop reading if you’re not in the mood for some kind of self-indulgent drivel.
My cancer experience, the first real one I remember, happened when I was eighteen. I still remember that day, crystal-clear. It was summer holidays, and I decided to go be a bad ass and get my belly-button pierced (shut up! I was eighteen, okay?) and so I told my family I was going to the shops, and went and did it.
The piercing took longer than expected, and you know what it felt like? It literally felt like someone shoved a thick needle through my stomach, then plugged that hole with a piece of jewellery. Which is exactly what they did.
I got home, feeling a little smug, but also ready to see my family. Because, you know, even though I’d been a bad ass, I was a straight-A kinda student kid. I loved my parents. I never did anything wrong. And nothing majorly wrong ever happened to me.
This is where you can cue the dramatic music. I went to open the front door; it was locked. So was the back door. My parents car wasn’t in the driveway, and you know what? They should have been home. It was summer holidays. Why the hell weren’t they there?
A while later, my grandparents picked me up and took me to the hospital. My father had fallen over in the shower, and had been taken to emergency. They didn’t know what was wrong.
Then they did.
It was cancer.
I felt like someone had shoved a needle through my stomach.
Cancer is a freaking bitch.
Luckily, it was cancer of the kidney, which is stupidly easy to fix. Simply remove one kidney, sew from line A to line B, and you’re done. Kind of like a belly button piercing. Minimal scars, survival intact. No more cancer.
The problem came later. It was only around a year, and it sounds stupid, but I’m not sure when it started; I refused to listen, blocked out the words people told me. At some point I realised the cancer had spread from the kidney before it was removed. And now, it was in lots of places. Including his brain. Where operating is hard shit.
I remember my mother telling me ‘He might not make it.’ And I remember thinking But he has to.
Because how could my father possibly die? How could my daddy not be there? This kind of thing happened to kids in movies, in novels, on TV; not to me.
Not ever to me.
I was teaching singing lessons. My grandparents came to pick me up, half an hour before the lesson was due to end. I argued; no, I had to stay, teach the kids, do the lesson. They said no, you have to come with us. ‘He’s asking for you.’
I left five minutes early. I love my grandparents; we lived with them when I was a kid, and we’d always been close. My Pop loves books; and my Nan makes the best little cakes and custard you ever ate.
I got to the hospital, and was told Dad was asking for me still. I walked into his room and turned on the TV, sitting there like the petulant child I was, my arms crossed, my bottom lip firmly out. They’d made me look unprofessional in front of my students. They’d jeopardised my reputation.
Funny, how you can black out the things you just can’t deal with.
I said goodbye when it hit nine pm, and gave Dad the obligatory kiss. He’d been in hospital before. He was going to be better tomorrow. This was a waste of my time.
The next day, he was in a coma.
The next day, he died.
Needless to say, I was a wreck. Heck, there are days when I still am, as I am sure most people are. You don’t lose someone you love and ever fully cover the wound. There’s always a scar. Always.
Of course, since then–being the ripe old age of thirty-one–I have since met many people who have cancer. My gorgeous little Nan has cancer currently, and is undergoing treatment, and it hurts my heart. I know this isn’t unique, though; I know many people go through this.
And in the back of my mind, I always have that thought: one day, this disease is going to take me. I feel like I’ve accepted that. But I don’t want it to take anyone else.
That’s why I am a part of the Wicked: A Naughty & Nice Anthology. Clearly, my book is nice, and so not as badass as some of the other super-hot books in there, but the point is, this is a series of books by some KICKASS authors for just $1.99. And the best part? One hundred percent of the proceeds go to the Cancer Council of Australia. Yep, you read it right: every last penny. We want to kick cancer IN THE FACE!
So, if you want some entertaining reads (much more light-hearted than the drivel above, I can assure you!) then check out Wicked: A Naughty & Nice Anthology and support a cause that freaking needs some support.