The Human Pin Cushion

It was Labour Day on Monday 3rd so the first available biopsy appointment wasn’t until Tuesday 4th. That was the longest long weekend ever. Still, we tried not to think about the looming long needles and the implications of the results and get on with our holiday preparations with fervent gusto.

The biopsy doctor was running late – so many needles and so little time – two student pathologists arrived first, both with the social skills of a plank of wood. I thought they were doctors at first, and instantly got the fear, if they’d come anywhere near my neck with a needle I would have jumped up off that bed and run out of there faster than a 100m hurdler! Anyway when the doctor finally arrived he was really rather jolly and proceeded to stick lots of needles in my neck… I think I counted nine! Pretty impressive, hey?  “Ha!” he said, “you’re just like a human pin cushion!” 

I know a girl in London, called Mo. We started teaching together at the same time and she worked in the Junior Department, while I worked in the Infants, in my old school. I remember her clearly because she had an outsize (I mean that in the best way) and highly infectious personality and was outrageously popular with all her students and colleagues. Most of all, I remember her singing – always singing –along with a couple of hundred kids – the Junior School Hall always sounded so joyous. Anyway, I found out  in July that she is living with incurable lung cancer. She is very  close to some of my good friends In London so her encounter with Cancer is having a profound effect on people I know and love.

I messaged Mo in July (when I was in between Cancers – although of course I didn’t know that then,) as soon as I found out about her illness and she wrote back immediately, saying how sorry she was to hear about my Cancer and hoped I was on the mend. I really didn’t know how to reply to that, I wished that her Cancer could have been sorted as quickly and relatively painlessly as mine. It didn’t seem fair. I tried to think back to how freaked I felt when I found out about my first Cancer, and how I was feeling now waiting for this new set of results, I just couldn’t imagine what she was going through.

Mo’s been writing this blog which quite frankly is nothing short of inspirational. I just can’t stop reading it.  It’s called Mo v Lung Cancer and I highly recommended you check it out;  She said to me that she’s found writing the blog cathartic and I think I can safely say that her wordy work has been the driving force for me to write a blog of my own. Mo’s blog has had a profound effect on my own thinking about life, and death. Here is a wonderful, vital young woman who essentially is living a death sentence.  But she says she’s not dying, “I’m living what’s left of my life in the best way I know how and facing up to each new challenge as positively as possible.” Now that’s something everyone can learn from Mo.  Live your life the best way you can. Every minute of every day.  I love the way she’s said “Up Yours” to Cancer and shown an enormous amount of bravery, courage, strength and humour and lives for the moment. I’ve decided that if my results show I’ve got to fight Cancer, I’m going to kick Cancer’s ass –  Mo style.