WRITTEN BY MICK
This journey along memory lane, or more specifically up Prue’s back passage, is one helluva way to meet new and interesting people and to further strengthen the ties that bind old buddies. It’s a crazy, fucked up bag full to the brim with kindness, generosity, competency, fear, reassurance, ignorance and amazement, but overall, we most definitely feel the lurve.
Many caring and thoughtful souls have offered their assistance and also asked how this journey has been for me. It’s taken Prue’s encounter with the Big C for me to fully appreciate what impact my colorectal crisis had on her ten years ago. As the patient, your focus is a day to day navigation of symptoms, side effects, treatments and appointments as outlined beautifully in Prue’s blog. The shear physicality of the experience can dominate your life (incontinence, for example, has a certain insistence on gaining one’s attention). As the in-house observer, however, I’ve discovered that it’s difficult enough watching on relatively helplessly as your partner suffers, let alone processing the prospect of spending your life alone. It also never occurred to me just how protective I was of Prue. I’m sure it’s this predominantly male attribute that is also causing Donny, Prue’s old man, so much inner turmoil. As warped as it is, we probably both feel a sense of failure in that protective role. Whilst I may have failed to keep my girl safe from this condition, she can be reassured that my farming background approach to suffering animals will ensure she need not fear any long term suffering!
Obviously over the last thirty years we have invested heavily in one another’s emotional real estate, and it’s only when that investment looks like going bum up, no pun intended, do you fully appreciate the extent and risks of such an investment.
It would be dishonest of me to not fess up that at 3.00 one morning the ‘What If’s’ took me to the edge of the abyss. The darkness scared the shit out of me, enough to download on my doctor the next day (poor Caryll) and to immediately enlist the more-than-ready services of Don and Jude, who were actually living with us during Tommy Tumour. In hindsight, my freak out was necessary to make me realise I couldn’t do it alone. And wow, talk about answer the call. Prue’s mum, Judy, a sprightly 81 year old natural nurturer, has been extraordinary. Shopping, cooking, cleaning (she even cleaned the bloody oven!) and emotional support – amazing.
We are now almost half way through Prue’s treatment program and from my vantage point, I couldn’t be happier. Many, myself included, had visions of Prue being stuck in some shitbox hospital room, hooked up to a hideous chemo drip for hours, then more hours being nuked, to then return home to throw up and lose her hair, until repeating the process again the next day. How wrong I was, as the high-tech, targeted diagnostic/treatment gear employed throughout Prue’s treatment is mind blowing, as is the care provided by all the medical staff. I couldn’t believe my ears when the chemo King prescribed tablets… tablets!! He said when combined with radiation these pills could shrink this particular squatter to almost non-existence. And given Prue’s age and health he expected her to experience no side effects…. wow! Whilst the radiation is more invasive, if it is accurately targeted there should be no long term side effects – fingers crossed on that one.
We feel very fortunate to have all this at our disposal, and combined with our own internal resources and everyones’ extraordinary support (especially Jude, Vic, Cheryl and Sandy – incredible!!), we have a genuine belief that this squatter will fuck off with minimal kicking and screaming. How Prue responds is another question!