We start at the beginning. It seems to be a common theme that everyone who has had cancer has a specific and unfaltering memory of where it all began. For me it all began at a party in 2006, brace-faced and bracing myself for an event I felt very privileged to be invited to.
The story, when I tell it to new people, is relatively simple. In a nutshell, I got really drunk (yes…underage for anyone who is better at mental arithmetic then me) and, quite literally, fell on it. I had to be picked up by my Dad, who watched me wailing about in the front seat of the Volvo, insisting that I had either been spiked or had had an allergic reaction, the symptoms of which closely resembled being completely battered.
For any 15 year olds who have stumbled into this situation, try to avoid the pitfalls of ‘downing a cup of vodka’ to impress your friend’s older brother. They will not care. You will look like an idiot.
Upon arrival, back at home, I fell violently up the stairs and landed with my hand pressing into my lower abdomen. I remember this because this was my first knowledge of ‘Edna’, the smooth and previously unknown mound on the right hand side near my hipbone. The rest is a fuzzy mess but I remember keeping my hand there for a while, trying to assess whether I had noticed this mound before. My first reaction, endemic amongst many teenage girls, was ‘I’m getting fat’. Why in one specific area…I’m not sure, but surely that was it.
I have spent many an evening with my parents debating whether it is a great thing I got smashed and had to be forcibly removed from a party in front of my parent’s friends. Otherwise, who knows when I would have found Edna. It’s not a convincing argument.
Either way, this is me below in the blue dress (the theme of the party was green…who did I think I was?)
I’d like to slap me in the face too.