Friday 13 June 2008


Yesterday afternoon Davy had an appointment with the oncologist. Everyone says that he is a very nice man and he is, in fact he’s a very, very nice man (I mean the oncologist, not Davy. Although I am not saying that Davy is NOT a very nice man - oh! hang it up - I'm digging a hole for myself here).

The doctor had been concerned because the chemo nurse said the treatment was taking it out of him and he wondered if he was strong enough to continue. He had been on the brink of postponing last weeks’ session, but the blood test was good so he decided to continue.

He said chemo was, after all, a very toxic poison designed to kill off the cancer, but the wider implications are that it kills off good cells too, so it was not to be taken lightly, particularly so soon after major surgery.

He was, therefore, very pleased to see that Davy bounced back well after last weeks session and has even put on weight. So it’s full steam ahead.

Last week I asked the chemo nurse about scans. Everyone we have known with cancer has regular scans, but Davy has only had one CT scan and that was before Christmas. The nurse said that it WAS usual to have regular scans, but some patients didn’t have to have them. She suggested, and Davy agreed, that I should ask the doctor, which I did.

“I know I’ve mentioned this before, will Davy be getting any scans?”

“Yes” - I sensed a certain evasiveness.


Davy stepped in “She is more worried about this than I am” (the way he said it sounded quite patronizing and is SO not true!)

The doctor answered “We may decide to do a scan towards the end of the chemo just to get a base-line”

“Oh right" I started babbling "I wondered that. Because I guess you would normally know the base-line, but because of the way it went with Davy having the operation first you have no base-line”. I smiled at Davy “He’s fobbed me off again hasn’t he?”

“No really, I’m not fobbing you off, but scans are not always appropriate. They saw no visual evidence of the cancer having spread during the operation, but that is no guarantee that it hasn’t and because cancer was present in two of the six lymph nodes examined chemo is being given as a precautionary measure.” He glanced at Davy “You are the patient, if you want a scan I’ll arrange one, but it really won’t be helpful.”
Davy grinned sheepishly. “She has been banging on about scans for ages and once she gets an bee in her bonnet she won’t let go of it.”

The doctor again stressed “But what do YOU want?" (was he having a go at me?) "I think we may do a scan a couple of months after the chemo but if it eases your mind I will arrange for you to have one anytime you want.”

Davy shrugged. The doctor continue “But would you really want to know if the cancer has spread? There isn't anything we can do about it apart from what we are already doing and it might just worry you to know that, for instance, it’s traveled to your liver. To be frank, you are probably best not to know”.

When we were in the car I said “Thanks for that, you made me sound like the woman from hell”.

“No I didn’t I was only saying you were concerned for me”

“Well that’s not the way that it sounded to me. Now the GP, the Uro-Oncology Nurse Practitioner and the Oncologist all think that I’m some sort of mad women.”

He then had the audacity and bravery to say “If the cap fits!”.

He was relating the story to his friend on the ‘phone last night and they were both laughing. “…so he said he is giving me a very toxic poison that will make me extremely ill, that I may not need, it may not work anyway and could even kill me, but he said he didn’t think I should have a scan because it might worry me!”.
I could hear gales of laughter and said “He doesn’t believe you”
“Ann said you don’t believe me, but it’s true”. More screams of laughter. It was at this stage that we ALL got slightly hysterical. Rab my friend, if you are reading this, it is the gods’ honest truth, it’s just the way you tell ‘em!

But enough about us. My friend sent me this with the comment “And even after the menopause I still get the same feelings - just no need for the pads!!!!”

This is an actual letter from an Austin woman sent to American company Proctor and Gamble regarding their feminine products. She really gets rolling after the first paragraph. It's PC Magazine's 2007 editors' choice for best webmail-award-winning letter

Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your 'Always' maxi pads for over 20 years and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the Leak Guard Core or Dry-Weave absorbency, I'd probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I'd certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favourite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can't tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there's a little F-16 in my pants.

Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered from the curse'? I'm guessing you haven't. Well, my time of the month is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I'll be transformed into what my husband likes to call 'an inbred hillbilly with knife skills.' Isn't the human body amazing?

As Brand Manager in the Feminine-Hygiene Division, you've no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customers monthly visits from 'Aunt Flo'. Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying, jags, and out-of-control behaviour. You surely realize it's a tough time for most women. In fact, only last week, my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her boyfriend's testicles into a George Foreman Grill just because he told her he thought Grey's Anatomy was written by drunken chimps. Crazy!

The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in Capri pants... Which brings me to the reason for my letter. Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi-pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words: 'Have a Happy Period.'

Are you f&@*ing kidding me? What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness - actual smiling, laughing happiness is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you're some kind of sick S&M freak girl, there will never be anything 'happy' about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and lock yourself in your house just so you don't march down to the local shopping mall armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory.

For the love of God, pull your head out, man! If you just have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn't it make more sense to say something that's actually pertinent, like 'Put down the Hammer' or 'Vehicular Manslaughter is Wrong', or are you just picking on us?

Sir, please inform your Accounting Department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flex-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bull sh*t. And that's a promise I will keep. Always.


Wendi Aarons

Austin , TX


Laura Jane Williams said...

That letter is SO FUNNY. You just so know she has the PMT from hell! said...

You think PMT is bad. Wait 'til you get to the menopause!

Anonymous said...

Men just don't seem to get it do they?!!! Very funny letter!

CJ xx

Sandi McBride said...

Very very funny...about the letter...I had also noticed that little happy period garbage...but as for your Davy, when he's done with his Chemo I'd give him a good swift kick! Men! I get the same treatment from Mac at the Doc's...what is it with them anyway that they're afraid to admit they're afraid????

Maggie May said...

AHHH! I have seen the funny letter somewhere before!

I do empathize with husband's comments about the cancer & his cool way of saying, "It's not me that worrying!"
That struck a cord as it is what I get. It is a sort of trick to make it look like we are so neurotic & they are so cool!

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

That letter made me laugh out loud - how true. What man could ever understand the reality of the period? And as for the debate about the scan - I really feel for you. You just can't win! M xx

aims said...

Great great letter! How I do not miss periods. I happily had a hysterectomy when I was 30!! Hooray!! Damn things..

Now - have you heard of Chemo Angels? Have a look - I think it is a wonderful thing they do.

Just wanted you to know I've been thinking about OG a lot lately - especially writing about Cid these days. said...

Crystal, I am just wondering if men are the missing link? What do you think to that theory? said...

Don't worry Sandi, I am at this very moment putting on my tackety boots to comply with your suggestion. said...

Again, my wise Maggie, you are perfectly correct. He doesn't like to make a fuss. He would rather get himself into trouble with me! said...

What the doctor actually said makes sense Margot and he said it in such a reassuring way. It wasn't until we thought back that we realised the full implications. said...

I hadn't heard of chemo angels aims, but I had a quick look at their website. The trouble with us Brits is that we like to keep a "stiff upper lip". Our friend in Seattle goes to a cancer support group and finds it very helpful. I will follow this one up. Thanks.

Penny Pincher said...

Oh god the dreaded men o pause...

Fingers crossed re the chemo - meanwhile think positively. We could all be walking around with all kinds of rogue cells multiplying - better to continue in happy ignorance till something [or not, as the case may be] rears its head. Deal with one thing at a time.

Cyber blog hug [0] 8-x)

Liz Hinds said...

Brilliant letter!