Black Eyed Fleas. (Journey.)
A lot of things have happened today.
I had my tattoo touched up.
I got tricked in to taking part in some sort of unorganized and ghastly impromptu nature trail by the kid.
But most horrifically, during the moments I wasn’t fully focused on the decorative agony emanating from my bruised, poked and horrifically damaged (but soon to be very pretty) wrist, or peering closely at, and pretending to be enthralled by a Worm split disgustingly in two, or a leaf that looked like a bit of mud, or gasping ‘Ooo look Addy, it’s a big dog poo! This is nature at it’s very best’ my mind was effortlessly wandering, as if it had a mind of it’s own (see what I did there?) on to thoughts, of the big D.
Yesterday I found a lump.
An actual real life, wobbly mass of tenderness, of indefinite size and shape, commonly painful, sometimes painless; Also commonly referred to in the medical profession as an abnormal mass or swelling that usually will cause irritation.
Mostly referred to in this household as ‘The Irish one.’
I do not refer to that lump.
I am referring to an actual medical lump.
After the first fleeting and heart crippling thoughts of;
‘OH MY GOD I HAVE A LUMP, I AM PANICKING LIKE A MOFO, SOMEONE GET ME A DOCTOR AND SOME GAS AND AIR, STAT!’
had petered off and moved on to thoughts of;
‘WELL IF THERE IS A POSSIBILITY I AM GOING TO DIE, I MAY AS WELL EAT THESE SEVEN EASTER EGGS FIRST’
And I had poked and prodded and marched randomly up and down the hallway, in a blind panic, stress eating chocolate without really focusing on what I was doing, I found another one.
‘They say I’m really sexy.’
‘The boys they wanna sex me.
They always standing next to me,
Always dancing next to me,
Tryin’ a feel my Lump, Lump.
Lookin’ at my lump, lump.
You can look but you can’t touch it,
If you touch it I’m a start some drama,
You don’t want no drama,
No, no drama, no, no, no, no drama
So don’t pull on my hand boy,
You ain’t my man, boy,
I’m just tryn’a dance boy,
And move my Lump.
My Lump, my Lump, my Lump, my Lump,
My hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump.
My lovely lady lumps…
My lovely lady lumps’
‘She’d got me spinning, you got me spinning, what you gonna do with all that junk, all that junk inside that trunk, fillin out them jeans….’
None of that actually happened.
But it was a lot more interesting to write than what actually happened.
Which was him ignoring me in favour of the football, then absentmind-ingly telling me not to worry as they were probably flea bites, off, and I quote ‘the Mangy Dog.’ (He is NOT MANGY HE IS A PART OF THIS FAMILY! WARTS AND ALL! Pay me some attention!!!)
After a sleepless night tossing and turning, continually prodding different parts of my body, running through scenario after scenario in my mind and repeatedly reminding the Irish one that me checking my groin for lumps was not in any way intended to be any sort of come on, morning finally arrived.
‘Hi Dr Phillips, us again!’
Addison bowled in to her office, shouted ‘I am a Nincompoop!’ at top volume and made straight for the drawer where she keeps her stickers.
She fended him off like a medical Kung Fu Panda, and with a sense of ease I will forever envy, got him sitting messing with her thermometer, in no time.
(It was only after the event I was like – hang on, don’t thermometers have some sort of dangerous mineral in them? Liquid dynamite, or something?)
‘What can I do for you Lexy?’ She swivels away from my two-year-old time bomb and faces me expectantly.
I showed her my lumps. (My lovely lady lumps.)
‘Are you worried?’ she asks as I inadvertently envelop her in a smell similar, but not identical to cowpat and she professionally struggles, not to wretch.
‘Yes. I am worried.’
I imagine I look at her in the same way Doodle looks at me when I say something he doesn’t understand.
I tilt my head to the side and open my eyes really wide, (stick my tongue out, start panting and manically scratch my ear… Not really. Ok…. A little bit.)
‘Is it not obvious? Doesn’t everyone immediately jump to concerns about Cancer the moment a lump is mentioned?’
She nods, and urges me to go on.
‘I am not scared of dying though. How could I be?’
I pause and look away for a split second to calm the noise in my mind and check Captain Bonkers is not swallowing a needle or something.
He actually has his head in her yellow ‘contaminated waste’ metal medical bin.
‘ADDISON!’ we both screech in unison.
He jumps out and smiles guiltily, chucking a pump of somesort behind him in a jerk reaction, before asking for the ipad and smiling sweetly at the Dr, who seems to be shaking somewat.
As I rustle in my handbag looking for my iPhone to occupy him, I continue, without really focusing on what I am saying.
‘I have spent the last three years swinging violently between wanting to die and being euphorically happy about finding cake in the cupboard. It is not death that scares me, it is the thought of having to say goodbye to Addy Woo. No! You cannot have a donut, mummy hasn’t got any with her!! Hang on I am looking for it…’
I turn my bag upside down on the floor and manically spread out it’s contents, vaguely aware as I ramble on, that my iphone doesn’t seem to be there.
‘But the thought of Death?’ I continue ‘Well that is the dream that keeps me warm at night. Yes baby, mummy is looking for it… Sometimes, I can actually feel the relief you see, of what it would be like, ceasing to exist. Quite something to behold. Doesn’t it just sound wonderful? To have the world disappear? I imagine it to be like lying on a sandy beach when you are nineteen, the heat of sun on your face, your toes digging in to the sand, your emotions deep and even, blissful. Where the hell is my phone?’
The doctor hands me my phone.
I don’t acknowledge how she has it. (I didn’t even realise she did have it until I was just writing this, how the hell did she have my iphone?? See? NINJA DOCTOR.)
‘Some days, it is all I can think about. Dying.’
Slowly the truth is loading. I am on a roll, getting faster and faster…
‘No longer feeling weighted down by love, no longer strung out by the white noise in my mind, the pain. And seeing my brother, feeling his protection again, but even if he isn’t there and it is just blackness, just … nothing. Not romantic at all, I still think it must be lush, better than this ignorance, this pain, this world where dogs kill children, and precious mummy’s have their babies stolen from them, where people hate just for hating sake. Imagine it! Just… nothing.’ I sigh, blowing it all out.
I then hand Addison my phone and begin putting my bag back together.
‘Give me half a chance to experience ‘the end’ without the blame I would most definitely get if I did it to myself, and I would take it. Cancer is acceptable, suicide, although it should be, is not seen as acceptable. When I talk about suicide, about how it has affected my life, my family, I see people recoil in discomfort. I don’t want to cause that for anyone.’
I glance up at her to check she is listening.
This urges me to continue on as honestly as I can, without losing my courage.
‘Some days I am bursting with unshed tears and excruciating half remembered shadows and demons, that torment my every second moment. Who I am, where I am, the continual voices, the continual annoyingly jovial people who try to jivvy me out of being miserable, when miserable and bleak is the only emotion I can feel without having to try, and that in itself is exhausting. And then I have the days where I can’t stop the happiness, it floods me and floors me, I am euphoric, and then bereft when it leaves. All I want to do when these mentally stable people smile kindly at me, is cry and scream and scrape at their faces with my nails, because I am so angry. I am so angry. I want to shout about how it is not fair that I will never be normal, I will never get to just be, so no, death doesn’t scare me. Death feels like heaven.’
The office is thick with honesty.
It is suffocating us both.
The silence is seeping under my skin, wrapping itself around my head and my heart.
I know she is gawping at me.
‘So then why are you worried about these lumps?’
I snap my head up to look at her in the eye.
‘Should I be worried about these lumps?’
‘No Lexy, I am pretty sure these are viral lumps, swollen lymph nodes, but if they haven’t gone down in three weeks come back ok?’
I am relieved.
After all this I am relieved.
I know Cancer doesn’t mean death, I know it is far from a death sentence these days.
‘Saying goodbye to Addison. That is my daily fear, on top of all the others. Fear I am going mad, fear I am not going mad, fear I have cancer, fear my dad will die, fear the dog will go missing, fear I will never be happy, never feel light, I cannot live, die, exist, not exist, whatever – without him. The thought of leaving him is like…’
As I say this, searching for a painful analogy of what my life would be like without Addison, he looks up at me with his baby blue eyes and smiles.
This is it.
The overpowering love all the baby books spoke of.
‘Yes baby?’ I ask him this while tracing my finger around his chin gently, looking down at his precious little face, my eyes begin filling up at the thought of missing out on his life, his tenderness, his beauty.
‘I am doing a big wee wee.’
I fly out of my seat like I have a rocket up my arse.
I nearly headbutt her desk in my haste to reach for my bag.
The Dr jumps up too ‘What, what, what is the matter?’
‘HE ISNT WEARING A NAPPY!’
I think I may have screamed in her face.
The appointment came to an abrupt end after that.
But not before she whispered the words every mental patient dreads hearing.
‘Have you ever wondered, ever considered, ever put any thought in to, or researched the possibility, that you may be Bipolar?’
No I haven’t.
And I won’t.
My son has sodden pants, lets just focus on that for now.
A lot later, as in, about ten minutes ago – as I lay in bed poking at my lumps which are still very definitely there, and wondering if I should, under her instruction, perhaps consider another, different medication I have not tried yet for my mental health problems, whatever the label they fall under, the Irish one trundles in.
I feel almost romantic.
Maybe I will allow him some sex this evening.
‘Addy has shit the bed. Do you know where the wipes are?’
It is these tiny moments of bliss that make life worth living.
Even with all the pain.
Together, we will clean up the poo.
And I will feel less alone.