Happy Deathday, Eric.

August 15th, i.e. today, is the one year anniversary of my surgery to remove Eric the enormous tumour, and this event has rather unfortunately scribbled itself in the calendar of my brain in Sharpie over the other thing that I always used to think of on this date, my nephew’s birthday. Sorry, Mitchell… if it helps, I don’t have a cake for me either. I do have fudge though. Yummy, yummy fudge. This is a horrible day for me now, so, no, a finger of fudge is not enough to give myself a treat. I have a bag of the proper stuff from Bath.

I first started mentioning Eric shortly before surgery on my podcast – do go back and have a listen if you haven’t yet (oh, and as me and my bubble were drunkenly watching Horrible Histories last night on YouTube, you will be glad to know I still point out my ‘gynaecologist’, Simon Farnaby. Oh, and if Simon Farnaby himself were to ever give me any fudge to say sorry for resembling my gynaecologist so much, I would still not like it in fingers, because… gynaecology.)

A year on, Eric has left his legacy on my body. I have no giblets whatsoever, so I am reliant on patches which keep me as sexy as a Jaffa cake, and just like Jaffa cakes, you remember they exist about once a year, get through a few boxes in quick succession, then feel sick, then you don’t buy any again for ages. Whereas without the patches, I am Cream Crackers, which, you know, you’ve always got in, but they are very, very dry, and you need lots of butter, and chutney with your cheese to make a decent snack out of it, and then you realise you’ve run out of butter and the cheese is too sharp and it really hurts your mouth and you cry… and of course, the wonderful thing is, I only have access to the Jaffa cakes for another four and a half years and then I am not allowed any more, because apparently after that time, they can be a bit…. carcinogenic. No more smashing orangey bits for me! Only the painful scraping of butter on crackers.

I’m beginning to think I shouldn’t have skipped lunch.

Oh another thing is, many women will tell you when they are a bit Jaffa it’s harder to regulate your mood or lose weight, and then the GPs really play that down as though what people commonly find out about their own body is wrong, and therefore it’s probably just you, and it’s your fault.

“Stop eating your emotions, woman!”

“I’m not! I’m eating my euphemisms!”

Of course the Plague is making it very hard to see what is dragging me down right now – stress about the whole situation going on around me, or my stupid body, but at the start of Lockdown, I quickly lost 5lbs. Then I regained those 5lbs. And another 15lbs.

It’s probably cider. But then again, cider does go very well with cheese.

Anyway, I have to be really careful and watch what I eat a bit more than I used to. And stay hydrated, because I can have issues with how I’m digesting things even a year later, though of course, I’m much, much better than I was. A week before surgery, I was grabbing free pizza at work with no heed for any consequences because the surgeon was taking my fat pad to remove lymph nodes for testing, he said, so I was going, “Free lipo next week, woo hoo!” Only to realise when the scar was healing that the surgeon had basically only taken some of the fat pad on my left side, leaving that side skinny, and a bit chubbier on the other side of my belly button, making my belly sag like the cartoon mouth of a sad bear. A year on, it’s still like that.

Also, I’m pretty sure I remember someone saying the scar would fade a lot in about a year and just become silvery. It has not. It is fat, purple and livid, like Alex Jones. Sometimes it itches. Sometimes it feels tight. Sometimes it hurts. I can see it like a cord through my thick Giljan band t-shirts. I’m kind of getting used to it though. Plus, every time I look down and see the scar Eric left behind, it reminds me I am alive when I might not have been…. and that I need to fight for the things I love and have worked for, I have earned my spot, and life is too short to let other people walk over you. Also, that I may have actually died and all this weird stuff happening in 2020 is basically my Purgatory, like The Matrix, or The Good Place or something. Anyway, sorry if you’re having a bad time because of me, but just think isn’t this better than the ennui of bliss?

I’ve now run out of fudge.

Bushfest 2019 was my last gig before surgery. Eric is basically filling the skirt of my dress here.

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