Thursday, 23 June 2011

Breathe out ... so I can breathe you in.

"Breathe out so I can breathe you in
Hold you in ... and I wonder
... if everything could ever feel this real forever.

If anything could ever be this good again."
-Everlong, Foo Fighters

This is my husband Dave, in Bali last year.

                                American burgers built my arm

I like that I'm capturing him in a mirror. He didn't know I was taking the photo. I always notice things that he doesn't know that I notice.

Last Friday, he doubled over in pain from "a dodgy burger" ... we thought the pain would pass, but it didn't. He had it all night. As soon as I opened my eyes on Saturday I said, "How's your tummy hon?" And he just said, "Stuffed."

Usually, if a person has a tummy ache .. it's just that. When Dave gets a tummy ache, we think it is his cancer back. He was in a LOT of pain. So we called Tim over to mind the boys while we went to the first of three hospitals all weekend.

Dave, like every other human on the planet, has many faults. One of the more noticeable ones is arrogance. He was all, "GREAT. Now I have to go on chemo for another six months."

Can you see the arrogance in that sentence? It translates as, "Great ... now I have to beat cancer AGAIN."

We sat in stinky, stinky hospitals. Holding hands, looking at each other. I instantly grew angry. At people, at the world. I bitched about everything. I got road rage, I attracted all the arseholes. The world is FULL of arseholes, when you notice them.

I was putting my armour on, protecting myself from the fall - told myself I didn't care. Told Life ... "Fuck you, Life. You didn't surprise me this time! You'll never surprise me again."

I will never be taken by surprise in life ever again ... a Syrian army could abseil onto my back deck. The world could explode and shatter into tiny pieces. My fucking dog could look up and start asking me questions. And I'd just be, oh, sure Mischka. Whaddup?

I was thinking about the odds of the cancer coming back. In the past week, Dave and I have spent a lot of time in emergency waiting rooms.

                              I looked at this sign a LOT.

We waited hours, man. Whole catastrophes occurred and were resolved. We sat there watching bad TV. I wondered, what number did Dave come in at? IF he had his tumours back, surely that would be Number 1 - Life Threatening? But not really - a bleeding car crash victim has life threatening injuries. We weren't even having an emergency. I mentally put him in at Number 3 - Urgent.

Because it was. What if it's back? Horrible thoughts came - to both of us I'm sure, not that Dave would ever tell me his. Mine were things like, Well, at least Rocco knew his dad for three years ... I'll let Dave have the downstairs bedroom for his chemo wing this time .... What if it's mestatised ... And one that I'm particularly in awe of, in its utter selfishness .... I can't go to BlogHer now.

It was all a waste of time - the doctors were useless, not ordering the scan that I knew he needed. Sending him away with heartburn medication. Dave was presenting with the exact same symptoms as last time - "I can feel it in there, hon." It was terrifying all over again. I just kept thinking, over and over in my head like a mantra - "Life? You can suck my dick." It was very calming.

Finally, on Tuesday we got the Holy Grail of an appointment with his proper oncologist. The sky on the way down was so ominous, like it wanted to tell us something.

I just wanted to punch it

Free parking again. The free knitted beanies again. Sitting in the cancer ward. The same cancer ward I had just put art up in with Vee last month. I wasn't supposed to be back so soon, GOD.

                   All of these people have cancer, cancer, Spanish dancer

We live in a world where signs like this are needed. People = arseholes.

After a mere 1.5 hours, we were led into another waiting room. The same one we waited in a little over three years ago, when Rocco was fully grown in mah belly. I sat next to Dave, and started singing "Mem-ories ..... like the corners, of mah mind .."

I always know when Dave has passed the point of reason - when he joins me in song. "Of the way .. we were."

HA. Waiting for a potential cancer diagnosis can be FUN.

At the moment we walked in, Max rang me so I answered straight away. He wanted to know if I'd gotten him some Warhammer (HOW EXPENSIVE IS THAT SHIZ?!) I knew Max was ok so cut him short. Sorry kid - cancer trumps you right now.

I watched as the same doctor who originally diagnosed Dave, those years ago ... spoke to us. I remember his eyes. He's an odd kind of guy. I wonder what oncologists do on their days off? Does he go thrillseeking? Or just read boring books and play backgammon? He spoke for a bit, then simply pointed to the bed - which meant that Dave was to lie on the bed.

I mocked him behind his back and made Dave laugh.

                              Dave gets a physical, physical

I adored how Doc T's shirt was hanging out. It made it more informal - like, things were going to be ok. Then he spoke:

"I don't think it's lymphoma again."

Suddenly, that doctor was the hottest guy I have ever seen and I wanted to straddle him like a pony.

He looked at me.

"... and to keep everybody happy, I'll order a full CT scan anyway."


That's all I'd wanted for five days now. Only that scan would set us free. The doctor looked at me like he had looked at me three years ago.

"Where's your baby?" I told him he's not a baby anymore - he runs around destroying civilisations.

We all laughed.

Dave got the scan yesterday - he tried to put it off til Friday, grumbling about missed appointments and other such stupid things. We sat here last night ... at 10pm, he turns to me and says, "Oh - the doctor rang, did I tell you?"

"Ahh, no hon."

"Yeah - shit sorry I thought I told you - the scan's all clear, it's not cancer."

He forgot. To tell me.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a husband to ignore. BECAUSE HE FORGOT TO TELL ME THE RESULT.

Still no word on the cause of the pain - it could *actually* just be bad stomach cramps. Sometimes things aren't as bad as they seem. What?


There's a scene in one of the best movies ever made - Mel Brook's History of the World .. where the Romans smoke a joint and get all disheveled. "Um, I'm gonna walk round here in a circle."

I've been walking round here in a circle since Friday. The relief is washing over me, man. Everybody needs a cancer scare, to get grateful.

You reading this right now - you don't have cancer! Do you know what a miracle that is! Stop being so scared to live your goddamn life because there's people in the world aching to live theirs.


  1. Everlong is one of Mr Curious' favourite songs. It was the last song played at our wedding.

    To your post. Breathe out indeed.


  2. So glad he got the all clear. Even if he forgot to tell you. WTF?

    Perspective. I needed it. Thanks.


  3. You scared the crap out of me. Hubby just had what was suppose to his last chemo. He had a ct scan earlier in the week and has a pet scan next week. Now all we do is wait. Is this the end..or does it go on.

    The thing about cancer is it never ends. It's always on your mind and you can never truly let go or forget it.

    I hope you kicked him in the balls for not telling you

  4. Thank goodness for freakin' happy endings. I almost had to skip to the end to get the answer because you were dragging this out.


    That's how you must of felt.

  5. OMG. I couldn't breathe reading this. I know the point of writing is to build suspence and let us experience a bit of what you felt. But freaking hell, eden. I was so scared for you.

    I've seen up close when it's been the worst ofnews. I've waited in those rooms, stared at the clocks, watched the tv with no sound waiting for specialists. Gone through the asshat ED docs waiting for someoen to just listen so we can see the people we really need to see.

    I've seen it be bad news and I can't begin to tell you how fast my heart is beating right now that it is not. He DOESN'T have cancer and I want to punch him in the stomach (you know, give him something to really whine about) for 'forgetting' to tell you.

    Breathe, enjoy that relief. I want to believe that enough bad things have happened to you. You've done 'em. You've had your quota and now you can live your life (I know I know. It doesn't work like that, but for a second, while I sigh in relief for you, let me have that moment).

    He DOESN'T have cancer.

  6. You know what would have made this story even better? If you'd humped that doctor's leg like a dog. Am I right, or am I right.

  7. I hear you, gotta make the most of this life! x

  8. Okay, I am tearing up a little bit here and I am finally breathing for you. Thank god or whatever deity you believe in.

    Breathe out, breathe in and go out for a huge family dinner to celebrate the fact that it was only a stomach ache.

  9. Eden, I'm reading this and feeling the heartache of your past week - cancer sucks - big time. Will give you a hug in person on Saturday xx

  10. So so glad you both got the all clear.
    That boy needs a slap for not telling you though. Good golly.


  11. My chest is tight after reading this, Eden, oh my goodness, I cannot even begin to understand how stressful that would have been for all of you. Breathe, run amok, have a hell of a time at Blogher, you so deserve it x

  12. I. Love. You. Straight up.

    I love that you took photos. I love the image of the doctor who looks like he was put in the dryer (the doctor not the clothes...). What's with the baggy, too-big clothes? But you're right, what a hottie: he told Dave that Dave doesn't have cancer.

    And Dave didn't tell you. I think that is so beautifully arrogant. Enjoy yourselves, guys xxxx Grousest update evahhh!

  13. thank fuck it was a good result! Had me on edge there.

    Why is it that men 'forget' to tell us the important shit, but can crap on for hours about other stuff that really, who gives a toss about? Think he owes you bigtime for that blunder!!

    Ok, resume normal breathing pattern now.


  14. The fact that he forgot to tell you speaks volumes! A peacefulness has taken over him. You can handle anything, and with fucking awesome humor to boot!

  15. I love you, Eden. Because you put shit in perspective. Because you put this out here. Because you sing cheesy songs in intense situations.

    And because you love "Everlong". That song should blow anyone's mind.

  16. OMG you are all too quick! And why aren't you all in bed?? I'm staying up all night, to celebrate.

    1) I took photos in the hope of posting them in a blog post about our near-miss. AND I GOT TO DO THAT.

    2) So sorry, did not mean to build the tension up! There is no WAY I would have posted about this if the news was bad, I assumed you would know that. I just made an ass out of you and me, Computer. Maybe just me.

    3) I forgot to write the bit about when we both sat down in the doctors, and he raised an eyebrow and said, "So?" We had been told it could be 'faecal build-up' ... so I blurted out - "Well, he's either full of shit or full of cancer." AND THE THREE OF US LAUGHED SO HEARTILY. Because cancer is funny.

    4) Swear that doctor is getting hotter by the second, HUBBA.

    Thank you for your love and your warmth, Computer. I feel so so much better.

    But Life can still suck my dick.


  17. Thank God for the good news, Eden! So happy to hear it...

  18. coz he wanted it to appear casual: oh btw, it isn't cancer … he didn't want you to know he had been shit* scared: thank holy flick it ain't cancer … (*or is that fecal scared?). MEN! xt

  19. I was knotted in my gut reading that.
    And I wasn't there.
    But I've sat in my share of this rooms, and bloody emergency wards..... Holding my Hubba's hand & wishing I was somewhere else.
    But he's never had cancer.
    Nor have i.
    But Dave has. Now he doesn't.
    But he didn't TELL you the result...........for a while. Shit!

  20. Ignore is probably better than junkpunt.
    So sorry you went through it, but so, so glad it turned out the way it did.

  21. so i want to ignore you for making me wait until this post to tell me he was fine.

    so happy he's fine.
    i really should live my life.

  22. Yup... That would be life fucking with you - just keeping you on your toes.

    "You reading this right now - you don't have cancer! Do you know what a miracle that is! Stop being so scared to live your goddamn life because there's people in the world aching to live theirs."

    Yes'm. I have quite a bit to be getting on with. Life has this way of slowing you down sometimes, you know?

  23. You are a fantastic writer. Given the subject of your post I hesitate to say thanks for sharing - but thanks.

  24. I think you are a pioneer. Eden, inventor of EXTREME BLOGGING. Read only if you can handle intense emotions and regular adrenaline rushes.

    Thank goodness for a minor plumbing problems.

  25. Eden, I am so glad I have found you and your blog! You make me feel somewhat normal for the crap I feel about my hubby's health problems. Reading this post I knew exactly how you were feeling. A simple tummy ache might be something worse for Dave; a simply fever is almost always something worse for my hubby. Thanks for sharing and just being you!

  26. And to think when you were doing this (the photos, the hot doctor and the cancer) I was having a personal crisis over which new jeans to buy. But it's ok now because I think I might have just decided to get a life. You pretty much told me to.

    Go you. Go Dave. And go possible faecal build ups.

  27. Thank you thank you thank you for this post ---- Firstly,congrats on the no-cancer diagnosis... brilliant news. Secondly, thank you for your very brave and very funny honesty. My 44 year old husband nearly died last year due to liver disease- one we didnt know he had until it was wayyyyy too late. He is lucky to have gotten a transplant and is doing great, but I know all too well the waiting in hospital rooms, waiting on doctors, test results, etc... and how stressful and weirdly familiar it all can become. The part you wrote about your selfish thoughts? about not going to Blogher? THAT is the part I am thanking you for your honesty. I had a similar thought when hubby needed a procedure done that meant i missed part of a work trip. I felt such guilt over it- but you know, that's just life and we are only human- sometimes we have these very human thoughts and its okay to acknowlege them for what they are. Thank you for that--

  28. So damned glad he's ok Eden!

    BTW, love the Foo Fighters song.

  29. As if seeing the world through sober eyes didn't give me enough to be grateful I have more reasons!

    Eye of the motha fuckin tiger EDEN!!!! I'm so fawkin happy for you guys right now.

    Love your hubby's arrogance and your wacky self.

  30. This blog post (and all its comments) are a whole load of hope all packaged up. With a bit of blokey arrogance chucked in for good measure. xxx

  31. I was putting my armour on, protecting myself from the fall - told myself I didn't care. Told Life ... "Fuck you, Life. You didn't surprise me this time! You'll never surprise me again.

    I held it together till I got to this one.

    Then all hell broke loose.

  32. Best get Dave to the TORLET. Best news I have heard ALL week. If I could punch you, I would. X

  33. You are so so right! I have a lot that was making me feel *stressed* but now I think I will go drink a cup of concrete. To toughen the f#*k up. Thanks :)

    So glad everything was okay!!


  34. I'm very new to your blog. Been reading a little while, never commented. This seemed like a good place to start!
    You're an amazing writer and this post left me speechless. Read it in bed last night and while I didn't comment then, I knew I'd have to do it first thing this morning.
    Your writing is such a breath of fresh air. Glad to have found you.

  35. Ok I am going to come over and punch Dave for you, sheesh!
    So, so, freaking happy the results are good.

  36. I went through a full range of emotions reading this post - anxiety, fear, more anxiety, glee. That was exhausting. I can't begin to imagine how the week went in reality. Take care citizens of Edenland.

  37. Oh, E. I am so glad that Dave's okay. I wish that the threat of cancer wasn't there to haunt you. Much love like always.

    Um, I feel kind of odd to say this (cuz I may just be losing my mind), but do you see the angel in the clouds? His face is clearly there in the top middle and there is a an arm stretched out like he is opening it up for a hug. It gave me goosebumps when I saw it. (Tell me you see it!) Sigh.

    I think you had someone(thing?) looking after you that day, E. He was trying to let you know it would be okay...

  38. What an amazing narrative punctuated by the most perfect pictures.

    Such relief - no cancer!

  39. Of course it's not back. I wouldn't mess with the Riley family twice.

  40. Breathing out now.

    Dave and G are doppelgangers -- really -- and the two of them would get along famously.

    Just reading you before I'm offline for three weeks...


    Love, as always,


  41. Teared up - AGAIN. Think I'm needing calmatives ahead of Edenland in the future!

    and like Glowless said - Who'd fuck with the Riley Family twice - plus, you're all likely to send Rocco out to DEAL with things from now on and that's just plain scary...

  42. Had a cancer scare last month...I agree. It kicks you in the ass.
    You rock. You are truly gifted in your blogging. You keep it real.

  43. I like a story with a happy ending. Enjoy blog her.

  44. First, PHEW!!! Glad there's no cancer.

    Second - can't the fancy oncologist afford pants that fit?

    Third - I think you ought to go out and buy yourself an expensive new car, and then bring it home and say "Oh, did I forget to tell you I was going to buy a car?" (Or you could cut him some slack, because it probably took him a loooong time to become nonchalant about it - but that's not as much fun).

    So happy for you - especially since you now have the "He's totally full of shit" statement to throw out in all social situations!

  45. Hi Eden, you write so beautifully.I felt reading that i was right in the room with you.

    I always feel that i have no time to make comments and that anything that i might write would pale into insignificance next to your free form eloquence.

    But wtf it really only takes a minute (even when i accidentally deleted it the first time... mmm such a wizz on the computer) and i wanted to let you know that i sometimes come and visit your blog and it is always so inspiring.
    I'm so glad that Dave is o.k. jx

  46. When we found out my mum had cancer late last year, after I had all the freakout thoughts about the possibility of not having my mum around any more, the one thought that I still remember (because of how selfish it was) was "Oh. Now I'll have to miss flying to Sydney to watch the Roosters play in the NRL Grand Final." I've decided it has to be normal to have one selfish thought (right?!), because otherwise, what kind of person thinks that :(

    I'm SO glad that Dave's cancer isn't back. Eleventy billion HUGS.

  47. I've been thinking of you & Dave.
    I am so relieved the news was good.
    I had everything crossed even my eyes :).
    Though you took a while to get to the point I had to read every word and breathe it in.
    I live what you do - so you know I get it.

    I can't believe Dave didn't shout it
    What the ?

    I love your last line... what is stopping people ?

    Westmead has no beanies - how sad is that.
    Inifinity hugs !

  48. Hi Eden, I've been reading your blog for a few weeks and you are an amazing writer. Like many others I held my breath while reading this. Glad Dave got the all clear.

    My 2 year old daughter's name is Eden and she's one tough cookie, she spent a month in hospital a year ago clinging to life and now it's like she knows she's a miracle and she lives every day to the max, it's amazing to watch, not to mention exhausting!

    All the best to you and yours x

  49. It gets better. It doesn't go away but that constant looking-around-the-corner-so-cancer-doesn't-sneak-up lightens up a bit with time. Been there, done that.
    Two things struck me most was that you posted a couple of amazing posts during all of this. There you were holding your 'stuff' together and yet you had the strength to still make us laugh. You are an amazing young woman.
    The 2nd was that all the doctor had to do was point at the bed and Dave laid down. You might want to work that to your advantage.
    I'm just sayin . . . .

  50. Foo Fighters, cancer and Mel Brooks history of the world. There is no one else who writes like you do, all guns blazing. You rock!! And if we are quoting Foo Fighters:

    Echoes and silence patience and grace
    All of these moments I'll never replace
    No fear of my heart, absence of faith
    And all I want is to be home

    Glad that Dave is OK, glad that you wrote this post. Glad that you made me think... as always.
    Take care xoxo

  51. Geez. hon. You had me on the edge of my seat.

    And there's me...complaining of a sore throat this morning. Pffft.

    I'll go get over myself now.

    SO glad everything's ok. xxxxx

    PS Isn't that typical of men? The old "Oh, I forgot to tell you..." Hello?!

  52. Well a-fucking-men to that.

    Now, after I scream fuck you cancer a bit I'm off to get on with my life.

    Because I can.

  53. Thank God for stomach cramps hey? And? Men. Honestly! (Thank God he is okay though).

  54. I love this post, I love your blog, I love that you guys have kicked cancer's arse and I love that the Doc had an untucked shirt (totally cool). Really happy for you that you'd had such an amazing end to your week. xx

  55. Eden you need to read the last line and apply it to yourself darling ...

  56. Thank the heavens. I don't know you or your family but still can't help but care. I knit like crazy, I'll find a place to donate my knitted stuff now.

  57. Fuck.

    First, I have no fucking idea what urgent is cause I waited in the waiting room for almost 7 hours after a stroke.

    Second, my DAD had lymphoma (hodgkins) when I was a kid. He is like a billion years old now. They gave him 3 months. Suck on THAT cancer.

    And Third, I have never ever met anyone that knows of History of the World. I fucking LOVE that movie.

    Can't wait to squeeze the life outta you woman.

  58. So glad everything ok. Prayers for you times a million.

    Your last few paragraphs struck me hard. I just went thro a cancer scare. Ovarian cancer Dr thought. Tests came back clear but for a week I thought it was the end. Desperately wanted to give myself a hysterectomy just to get it out of me. Told my husband that I was going to go get one first thing if tests were positive.

    I still have to have a CT scan of abdomen just to check it's not something else but I'm feeling positive it's just my ovaries and God giving me a kick up the arse for being to blasé with my life.

    I didn't cry or be scared or show I even cared to anyone for the entire week until after I knew results. That night I cried by myself so no one knew how scared I was that I had nearly lost it all.

    Perspective and a fucking wakeup call. hey?

    Your strong Eden. So strong. Do u realize how strong u r??

  59. I needed to copy n paste your last para and I saved it in my phone, to remind me. I can read it in different ways, but it gives me a kick in the butt when I need it. Thanks.

  60. The best part of my blog, hands down ... the comments.

    You are the best part. And you always will be.

  61. Seriously, I went all weird in the guts reading that... until the end, when I let it all go...
    Thank fuck x

  62. I have been in those waiting rooms ...... I had cancer ...... NO BLOODY PICNIC IS IT !!!!!!!!


Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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