This weekend, I became a real fully fledged adult, as I purchased my own copy of the Australian Women’s Weekly. Even as I type that I’m screwing up my nose. I would’ve thought that my subscription to Renegade’s Collective would have given me a fix for my addiction to quick easy reads; and I certaintly thought that I was at least 10 years off buying my own copy of the Women’s Weekly. However; when I saw the caption on the cover that mentioned “Brave Anna Bligh” I was already counting out the coins for the $6.95 magazine. I was in hospital when Anna Bligh’s cancer diagnosis became news headlines. She had Non – Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (or as Ryan calls it, the bad Hodgkin’s) and I was awaiting my disgnosis, trying to get my head around the differences between the different types of blood diseases, and the haunting reality of my own situation. To clarify, Non – Hodgkin’s is more common in older people, and is more complicated because there are a variety of types, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is usually more straight forward in treating, and has a higher success rate. (I think.. don’t quote me, trust Google in this instance.)
As I turned the pages of the magazine, there is Anna Bligh’s bald head, and I think she looks lovely. As it should, the interview focuses on her career, notably, the Queensland Floods. She of course talks about her cancer, but references it in regards to anything else she would do. I think I share a similar position. People have called me brave many times, and it has often sat uncomfortably. I’m not brave, I don’t have a choice. Brave people choose the scary option. If I had a choice, trust me, no nurse would be coming near me with a needle. What I did think was brave, and something I’m yet to do, was right there on the page, she was bald, with a smile.
I went dress shopping on Saturday, an activity which at the best of times is often quite damaging for ones self esteem; and not once could I look in the mirror and see myself. I saw an unfit person, with three bright scars, and an unevenly shaved head. It didn’t matter what the dress looked like, just the fact that this person was starring back at me was destructive enough. I really thought I didn’t care about what my new normality had done to the way I looked, and I suppose when the emphasis was all on the treatment and it working, I never even considered it. However, now that I know I am getting better, and I know I only have a few months to go; my reflection has become the new thing that keeps me up at night.
Mum has always been the world’s biggest fan of a positive mindset, and after a confronting day of shopping, I was in need of a hell of a readjustment. If worrying about the way I look is the worst it gets from here on in, I’ll take it. Everyone is self conscious about something, and in a way, it just makes me normal. Being concerned over my hair, or lack there of, is a blessing compared to what I was concerned about even a month ago. Tomorrow, I’m going to try and be brave and look in the mirror and smile, because soon I won’t have cancer anymore, and I am really, really lucky.
64 days to go.