My Health Experience: ‘People who don’t know me do not realise I am sick’
Being really ill with cancer, but looking healthy, can make a harsh situation almost unbearable
Living with your parents at the age of 27 is not normal. Spending a whole year feeling generally not well is not normal. Sometimes people forget that you need to feel normal. Going out for lunches or coffees is fun, but after a year of sitting at home you pine for something a bit more exciting. You want to go out and dance, pretend the sparkling water you’re drinking is a vodka-sprite and talk to guys your age who are not medical professionals and who don’t know you’re sick.
Earlier this year I did go out and pretend to be normal. Instead of sparkling water I decided to go for it and added gin to the mix. I had never drunk gin before in my life, but it conformed to my no-sugar diet and I decided that one night wouldn’t hurt. On the last bus home I sat content in the knowledge that I had had a great night out with my friends, met some new people, and to top it off, I was much less drunk than the people who fell into their seats beside me. They stumbled up the stairs, attempting to hold onto their chips while I sat happily clutching my handbag. I wasn’t too concerned about their imminent hangovers.
My self-satisfaction stopped when a mere four stops later I was forced to make a quick exit from the bus. I ended up appearing much more drunk than even the girl who had dropped curry sauce all down her white blouse.
The body that once had tolerated rounds of wine and mixed drinks had now decided to stop accepting alcohol. Doubled over, clinging onto my handbag, and being stared at by a busload of passengers wasn’t quite the look of understated cool I was going for.
A €50 taxi ride home and a two-day hangover meant a lesson learnt. No more alcohol. I was young, but my body wasn’t quite up to living a young person’s life right now.
I hope to be one of that tiny percentage the treatment will cure. I hope for spontaneous recovery, or that I will somehow beat the textbooks. I hope to be like a character in one of those remission storylines.
“So when are you going to get back to your studies?” The truth is that I know no more than the questioner about when I will be returning to my studies. I hope it will be soon. I am hoping to rewrite the textbooks.