August 18, 2011

Full circle

The term 'young' in cancer circles usually refers to people with cancer under the age of 50-60. For me, I prefer the term 'really young', but that would confuse me with the kid or young adult cohort (normally up to the age of 25). The labels and groupings are important because people my age face unique issues when we meet cancer.

One of those issues is becoming a child again

I'm currently wearing nappies. I've had the rectal tube removed, but there is a steady trickle of fluid that still wants to leave my bot bot. It looks like chocolate milk but smells like a dead wombat. And it's runny. So runny that I can't really choose when it is going to exit. Hence the nappies.

Having my parents around to help with cancer has been a blessing. I quite happily slipped straight into the role I must have once occupied of high-dependent demanding brat. 'I want...' and 'I need this NOW' have flowed quite naturally from my cancer-affected mouth.

So you're 29 and went shopping for nappies with your Mum, I get it

Mums are really good at this kind of stuff. Mum knew exactly where to get nappies and what sort would be best. And to prove I have almost completely regressed I let her pay for them.

I've come full circle. My parents have been there this year when I've lost control of my bowels, soiled my clothes, soiled my bed and soiled my dressing gown (I've soiled nearly everything you can legally soil).

They have handed me urine collection jugs, poo collection jugs, wet ones to wipe my bot bot and wet cloths to cool my vomiting body. They've given me cash. They have tried to feed me. They've bought me lollies. They have given me massages, cut my toe nails (bending at that angle was impossible for a while), served me food in bed and gone to the shop at stupid hours for a particular ice cream I've wanted.

Thanks to all the parents out there of 'young' people with cancer. We couldn't do it with out you.


  1. A very well deserved tribute to Jo and Ian. Next one dedicated to Sana/partners methinks...
    Also, curious to find out what are the places that can only be soiled illegally?

  2. Hi Ben, I just found you from the Cancer Connections website. Great blog! I also have the pleasure of having a cancer (CML) that typically affects males over 50 or so (I'm a 29yo female). Weird isn't it - I'm always looking for a reason, but I don't think there is one. Just lucky I guess. Keep up with the being rad :)

  3. You have just made me cry and laugh at the same time!! There were times during my treatment where I was completely useless. I am 31, it is a tough learning curve when you have to ask your Mum to shower you or ask your Brother to assist you because you are nearly passing out on the toilet. Letting them all pay for my things - well that was particularly hard... but there is no money tree in the hospital (we already knew there was not one in the backyard). In regards to being a demanding brat - I think there is something quite okay with that. At least we gave them something that they could do for us :) I imagine sitting by the sidelines feeling helpless would have driven one slightly mad... Michelle