This time last year, I didn’t have cancer. The word didn’t mean a thing to me. I might have known it had something to do with pink ribbons and baldy heads, but that’s about the size of it. So there I am with my bouncy blowdry in Tom Barry’s on Barrack Street, Cork. That night we danced on tables, got rounds of drinks, made it to the nightclub before it closed and I’m pretty sure Gardiner and I were the last two cart-farting around town.
I won’t patronise myself and say I didn’t have a care in the world, I’m sure I did, but nothing that involved the possibility of dying, because right there, on the left as you look at the picture, just under Kate’s hand is a mother-ducking 6.5cm tumor that nobody knows anything about.
I don’t want to be dramatic and say I don’t know the girl in this picture anymore, because I do! She’s not gone, she’s still here! Maybe her eyelashes fell out, maybe her eyebrows disappeared, maybe her fingernails started separating from their nail bed.
Maybe there were times she couldn’t poop for a few weeks, maybe her toe nails have fungal infections, maybe she can feel phantom blisters on the soles of her feet.
Maybe she changes her bed sheets two or three times a night because of the night sweats, maybe her fertility went with the wonky boob.
Maybe the pads of her fingers looks like prunes, dried and shrivelled. And maybe making eye contact with any other human beings was out of the question for a few months.
But I tell you what, I know that girl from last October and I’ll be seeing her again very soon, I made her a promise. I promised that I would come out of this cancer journey better than I entered it. 2018 is not going to be just a horrific year; it’s going to stand for something! I’m keeping my promises.