"The C-Word" by Lisa Lynch

Post #01 of NaBloPoMo in May 2010. This month’s theme is: Look Up

My twitter followers were probably very soon fed up with my whinging about the delay with which play.com delivered “The C-Word” to me. Or with tweets about how much I was looking forward to reading this book, written by the wonderful Lisa Lynch (aka @AlrightTit). Anyway, the book finally arrived on Tuesday and I read it throughout the following couple of days, whenever I had the time. I’ve been following Lisa’s blog since last summer, shortly after Stephen Fry twittered about it and even though I read a few earlier posts, I had just a vague idea of what Lisa and her family went through.
While I was reading the complete story now in “The C-Word” I was crying and laughing and was crying some more. Because Lisa gives a very very honest report of what having grade-three breast cancer means. How horrible, horrible chemotherapy makes you feel and how scary it actually all is. The extraordinary thing is, that this story still makes you laugh or smile a lot as well, because Lisa obviously is that kind of person who laughs and smiles a lot. Even through all this bullshit. She is funny and brilliant and it just shows in the way she is writing about her experiences. It’s hard to explain for me, which shows why I’m not a professional writer like her ;-)

What was most surprising to me though, was how much I could relate to some of the things she wrote about, even though I never had to go through a similar experience. You can’t really compare a “Multiple Sclerosis” diagnosis with grade-three breast cancer. But just like Lisa I had to comfort my mom for moment when I was hospitalized for the first steroids IV in 2000, because my mom couldn’t deal with it as good as I could. Even though I couldn’t really deal with it that well either but still much better than my mom and it at least gave me something to do.
The other thing which felt oddly familiar when I read about it, was the complete shock and disbelief, even months and years after the Bullshit happened to Lisa. And how this disbelief that this really was happening / had happened to oneself, never really goes away completely. It reminded me a lot of the days after my mom had the heartattack in November 2007 and the doctors in the ICU told us her chances to survive this were 40/60 or lower. Of the day a week later, when she had to be resuscitated and the doctors asked us how long they should try that if they had to do it again. The day we called the priest, just in case. Of all the crap that happened to my mom in the weeks afterwards and how long it took for her to get back on her feet. But she got through it and so did my brothers and I.
Looking back I still marvel about how we all managed to. Because it was a lot of crap and really scary a lot of times. And looking back on it I sometimes still can’t believe that that had really happened to us, because it was so horrible. I don’t have a lot of memories of those first few days / weeks. I have vague memories of feeling very very desperate, but no distinct recollection of how that actually felt like. And it’s probably a good thing that our mind is wired like that and lets us forget those things.

But now I got a bit carried away. This post was not supposed to be a trip down horrible memory line, but to praise this wonderful writer and this extraordinary story. On her blog Lisa once wrote that she doesn’t want to be called inspirational, because she doesn’t feel like she were. She wrote that she’s just coping like everybody would be coping in a situation like this. But still, the way she coped and how she wrote about it, is inspirational to me. In a way she is someone to look up to. Ok, that was just for the NaBloPoMo theme’s sake *g*. But seriously, “The C-Word” is a wonderful book and it is life affirming and it helps to put your own life into perspective. And it makes you appreciate your life. And your health and your family. As much as those parents and siblings might get on your nerves sometimes, those are the ones who will help you through Bullshit like breast cancer or heart attacks. I have no idea how I would have dealt with my Mom’s bullshit if I had been an only child ;-) 

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