The Lockdown Diaries 9: Chemo Lad VS The World
See Someone FFS!
The purpose of coming out about cancer was to dispel some of the fears people might have about getting a diagnosis at this time. Everyone’s experience is different just as symptoms and treatments are different, but the crucial thing is to stop worrying about a nebulous ‘thing’ and get diagnosed as fast as possible. If you are not in the system no-one will be able to help you. Hospitals are divided now into two distinct sections for your protection. You’re probably safer in there than outside queuing for groceries.I go every day and my misgivings vanished on day two (not day one, that was awful).
If you think there’s something wrong, don’t prevaricate, commit to immediate action and you’ll start to feel better from the second you do so. Do not bottle it up. See someone. Tell them. Push yourself to act. Nag over.
Watch Out! Quacks About!
Thanks to COVID I can’t be prescribed painkillers as they mask the virus, so I have to rely on natural remedies, salt water and the odd Paracetemol. I was expecting morphine, hashish, valium at the very least. I was going to buy a Chinese robe and a pipe.
When you’re diagnosed with a life-threatening illness be careful who you talk to. There are energy vampires out there who live to talk about disease. Strangers have been calling me out of the blue to discuss my health – they get short shrift. One woman I met told me that chemo treatment was the highlight of her day. Well-meaning friends will push mad remedies at you. People will even try to monetise your ill-health. The Hampstead Heath Pharmacy charged me £40 for some vitamins and pain relief tablets that should have come to less than half that amount, capitalising on the pain of others. And for every useful remedy there are a dozen ludicrous quack products. Which reminds me, I forgot to pick up some tannis root.
Don’t Give Up The Day Job
I cannot read one more clickbait lockdown article by a pretend-journalist ‘feature writer’ paid for writing nonsense. I fantamasise about being paid to write features. I blog every day for free while bloody Camilla Long accepts cheques for attempting to think of something witty to say about cutting your own hair.
During bad times you need structure. My days are planned, as much as my body can allow, around specific times and goals that include several hours of work, a sleep, lunch, coffee breaks, reading and so on (it doesn’t always work; yesterday I dozed off at this keyboard). I’m writing a book I’ve not yet been commissioned for, but no matter – it’s work, and that means a plan of work, and that normalises my days. If one more person says ‘in these strange times’ I’ll go mad. They’re only strange if you make them that way. I’m reading Stefan Zweig and Giles Milton and Lawrence Wright on strange times and one thing they all prove is that there’s no such thing as normal. You might as well enjoy rolling with the punches.
Lockdown either begins to lift tomorrow or doesn’t – I’m not sure even Boris de Pfeffel Johnson even knows, but garden centres are opening and the outdoor beckons, which means I can (carefully, and for short periods) take to the London streets and start reporting on the state of our fair city again. The first sign of change has been increased noise and traffic sending our nesting birds away. Nobody learns.