Thursday, 1 December 2011

Letter Bombs

I won't go into too much detail here, since you really don't need to know the inner and outer goings on of my body on a day to day basis, but if I never have to see another one of those blue stamped NHS letters in my post cubby hole it will be too soon. Oh how they fill me with dread. So far they've ranged from 'please fill in this inpatient questionnaire' to 'you need to come in for further testing', to the point where every reading is like a postal Russian Roulette.

OK, I have planned and executed my outfit for today, I have strategically planned my day from alarm setting, to tube timings, I have left and locked up my house and picked up my post on the way out. Oh hello blue NHS envelope, welcome back to the life and times of Sophie A Beresiner. You have the potential to obliterate my entire month so now, on the 141 to London Bridge, do I open and read your contents, or do I attempt to enjoy the rest of my day with the looming dread of its contents hanging over me?

This isn't really a quandary, since I don't have the mindset of someone who can hang onto a sealed envelope and not obsess about its contents. Thus far I've received a heady mix of CC's from various oncologists and radiotherapists telling each other about the medical intricacies of my cancer. Even though I ticked the box that said DO NOT send me these letters, since I (quite correctly and astutely) worried how my overactive imagination would deal with them. I'm not sure why I'm getting them, but now I'm too chicken to put a stop to them. What if I miss out on some vital life-saving information?

Oh how I miss the days of over-inflated credit card bills and Graham & Green catalogues. I know there's something I can do about this, there must be. Short of going nuts in the Gold Label section of Tk Maxx, I'm not entirely sure what the answer is to redress the balance, but I would so like to fluff out my letterbox with normal financial worries say, and have the medical profession leave my body and mind alone, just for a few weeks at least.

Its got to a point where Dadjokes fields my mail and breaks things to me gently. He goes through some deep breathing exercises of his own, but I'm not sure if they're of the same mental space as mine, or more the 'oh lord, how am I going to sugar coat another one of these to my newly neurotic fiancé?'

It is true, we are a killer combination of Anxious and Anxious-er. Although a perfect match in many ways - hence the impending nuptials - the one place we're a bit too similar is the place not conducive to a calm after-care experience. Thus far Dadjokes' tactic is this; feign calmness, but don't succeed in fooling said neurotic fiancé, ('smeyesing' is only convincing when Tyra Banks does it), hold breath till professional/medical confirmation that initial calm stance was appropriate, break down in relieved hysteria. If this were BBC1, our dynamic would draw good viewing figures. But when its an audience of 2 cats and a sofa, drama isn't welcome on the programming schedule.

The key is of course, moi. My anxiety is a self fulfilling prophecy. So, I have a mantra, I'm trying it out for size; Don't Worry, Be Happy! (exclamation mark imperative). The thing with Mantras is they need some kind of belief system right? Or does simply repeating a phrase so many times make it true? So far, semi good. My strenuous efforts to replace 'worry' with 'happy' has seen me take up a whole load of new (and expensive) hobbies, such as excessive theatre-going and any excuse for an evening out. These things take care of the waking hours, its the nights I'm still working on. Suggestions glady received. Not drug-related though thanks. I have too many social occasions I need to be alert for...


  1. Oh sophie how I sympathize! I laughed when I read this but my heart went out to you too. I'm in exactly the same boat. Only last Saturday after enjoying leisurely day with my kids I find one of those horrid things on my mat telling me my smear test was abnormal. It took me till Sunday lunchtime to regain equilibrium after endless phone calls to talk me down. Then Dr Jones tells me Monday this is to do with chemo -they are always abnormal. Great! Till the next time. It's no way to live but what to do? Hope we figure it out soon. X

  2. On second thoughts I realise I do have a strategy for coping with those letter bombs and uncertainty- designer handbags. At least you have somewhere pretty to stash the damn things. My splurge at Miu Miu got me through my last cycle and I've my eye on the lovely new releases at Mulberry to celebrate the end of chemo in 3 weeks. If nothing else the odd bag now and then puts me back in the normal fear realm of the regular white envelope.

  3. SOPHIE. how on earth does your hair look so amazing. you're like a month or so ahead of me in the growth situation yet mine is very much like the bottom picture on your previous post. growing out instead of down. I'm sporting a curly white-girl afro, and not enjoying it. i want my boob-length locks back please. seriously though, whenever i see a picture of you i go green with envy, your pixie crop is so pretty, very Emma Watson and very chic! I am beyond jeal x