Following my diagnosis my next appointment is where I met my oncologist who went into great detail about treatment and its side effects. As always I had the superb team of Iceberg, Buggernuts and the Funny Boy by my side. As Dr Stillie described the likelihood of constipation, diarrhoea, sunburn, cystitis, menopause and fatigue (to name but a few side effects) I had a whole host of questions. In addition to this the super team each had their own valid questions.
‘How long will recovery take? Would it be advisable for Heather to go on holiday? When can she exercise?’
In true Funny Boy fashion he surprised us all by asking the oncologist:
‘What are your thoughts on Heather and I getting a puppy?’
Naturally the oncologist stumbled a bit, no doubt in shock. Iceberg and Buggernuts immediately shook their heads in disapproval and disagreement before Dr Stillie went onto remind the Funny Boy that puppies require a lot of work, sometimes carry infections and ultimately are exhausting. Therefore not ideal to have around whilst undergoing treatment. Meanwhile I simply looked at the Funny Boy in astonishment ‘Where did that question come from?’
At the time I recall counting down the days left of treatment and wishing myself a rapid recovery. It was arduous in a physical and emotional capacity. However I now feel as though the whole process has whizzed by in a very quick flash. As the immediate side affects to treatment such as nausea, diarrhoea, constipation and vomitting began to subside, I found myself struggling to look toward the future. As previously described it was an incredibly emotional time for me. Life in limbo seemed to last even longer than the treatment itself.
At the start of the final week in July I recall discussing my birthday which I was due to celebrate on the Wednesday. Since hitting my 20s I always use birthdays as a time of reflection to see how far I have come in a year and identify the goals that still need ticking off. Despite my 27th year being a pretty productive one I wasn’t in the mood to celebrate. The prospect of it being my final birthday didn’t leave me with the ‘make the most of it’ style approach you would expect. On the Monday evening of that week I was unconsolable with fear, anxiety and anger. However the Funny Boy had a trick up his sleeve. Upon hearing his plan we woke up early the following day to take a journey to Middlesbrough to collect our puppy! The first time I saw her tiny Black and Tan face it was love at first sight.
Prior to being diagnosed the Funny Boy and I had created a bucket list. Upon that list we had both identified the goal of one day having a dog together. The Funny Boy made that goal our reality. As I sit here now I have my new best friend coiled up in my lap. The superb team of Iceberg, Buggernuts and Funny Boy has a new recruit and her name is Parsnip!
Upon my journey I have attempted to give people an insight as to what cancer is like. What I haven’t done is tell you how much companionship and love this little bundle of joy has brought me. Even the disapproving duo of Iceberg and Buggernuts love Parsnip. They have seen the power she has to help me through the hard days. Don’t get me wrong – she pees for Britain and poops in the house more often than I’d care to share but she is a great source of motivation. Following treatment she was the first thing that allowed me to feel like a carer opposed to being the one who everyone else was caring for. I was responsible for feeding her, walking her & putting her to bed. My life had a new focus which was more fun, optimistic and enjoyable than cancer. Parsnip helped me look forward for the first time in months. She is a very big piece in my jigsaw puzzle and without her the picture would never be complete.
My new best friend and I