Skip to content

The story of George


This is the story of George, the cancer that lives in my boob

The weekend before we cut George out
Writing this, I’m lying inside a tented structure with rain falling on the tarpaulin. Tom’s bottle is making a shadow that looks like a giant breast in the candlelight. Earlier tonight he fell off the bed with a loud thump. This place is seriously dark so I spent a good ten minutes feeling my way around the bed, pushing my feet forward to find the screaming child. By the time Trev came to my rescue with a flashlight he, the screaming child, was back on the bed, no wonder I could not find him by shuffling around the bed. Normality. Everything feels so normal and its very very strange to think of myself as someone with cancer.

When I found out I spoke to God in the shower. I said “well this is a strange way to get us talking again” and we both laughed. I’m sure we both did, God has a sense of humour that’s for sure. In this short journey I’ve learnt that you need to speak to your higher power, you need a relationship there, even if it is just in the shower. I’ve learnt that you can view almost anything as an adventure and that perspective is easy to change if you really want and I’ve learnt that for any mom, any parent, everything is ok as long as your kids are ok. The Tuesday morning on which I would later receive my PET scan results, was beyond stressful with me driving like a crazy person through traffic to get Tom to the hospital. Strangely this experience really calmed me down. If ever you feel stressed out go sit on your hooter in traffic and wave people out of the way. It’s a great way to let off steam.

That PET scan thing
I also learnt a few things during the PET scan that you should know, if you ever needed one, which I hope you won’t. But if you do then please know that the worst part of the experience might be the music they make you listen to while you are supposed to relax your radioactive self (on a Lazy boy recliner with a blanket and a heater). This is more or less what happens: You can stay in your own clothes as long as you’re not wearing any zips or metal. A nurse lady arrives with the radioactive stuff (FDG) in a tiny metal box. They then take away your phone. (I was just about to start an audio book and when I asked if someone might then please have a real book for me she shook her head with a line of a smile on her face). We want you to rest she said. I almost kissed her even though I’ve forgotten what that is. Enter Kenny G, for a whole hour. A friend of mine got Abba and at the time I thought Kenny was worse, but in hindsight I don’t know anymore. Abba can really get on one’s tits. No pun intended. During my hour of Kenny I allowed my mind to go places and I knew without a doubt that there is so much to look forward to. I have to teach Kai every single Chuck Norris joke, because that is his kind of thing. I want to see Bailey be the strong beautiful woman she is already growing into. I want to see Tom play the harmonica, on stage, with a beard and with girls throwing their bra’s at him. I need to see my kids out in the world as actual people and I need to make Kev understand that ‘strawberry blonde’ is not a colour. It is simply denial.

Fast forward through all the saxophone one person can handle, into the machine you always see on TV. They tell you to lie really still, to not move even a bit. All the time I had that terrible feeling my brother and I used to get in church. We went to an old school NG church (en gee, en gee, en gee – sorry a lame old one but I had to), with really hard wooden benches and little to no space to stretch your legs. And of course when you cannot stretch and move them, that is exactly when you really need to stretch and move them. Don’t focus on the elephant right? Don’t eat the marshmallow! I also had an itch on my upper lip the entire time. It took superhuman willpower to not move my legs or scratch my lip. Twenty odd minutes of this willpower pass and then they inject you with Iodine and you really wonder if you’ve just wet yourself and then it’s all over and you get off the bed or whatever and you scrutinise the faces of the people behind that window to see if they might give away anything. And then you wait. I lied about Kenny G being the worst. Waiting for the results are the worst. And that is where friends come in.

Telling the kids
Telling the kids was an even bigger non-event than telling them they’re getting a brother was. It went something like this:
Me: “So you guys, mommy has a germ in her boob and the Dr will have to cut it out”
Kai: “You have a German in your boob!”
Mad, crazy laughter and then we all went to sleep and I tried again a few days later.
Me: “Remember I told you about the germs in my boob? Bailey, are you actually chewing your toe nail? That is so gross. Please focus kids, I’m going to be away for a few days and I need you to be good for Daddy. Bailey, stop digging in your nose! What is wrong with you two today?” Sigh, try again.
“After I come home the Dr will give me some medicine and it might make my hair fall out”
Bailey: “Can you get rainbow hair?”
Me: “Eyes, eyes, look at me. Don’t be scared if I look sick some days ok?”
Kai: “Will you be green?”
Me: “Perhaps, but I’ll also be home a lot more”

Friends & Family
Otto von Bismarck said “Love is blind, friendship tries not to notice” and Winnie the Pooh said “It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like ‘What about lunch?’ I cannot even begin to explain and so I won’t. I also won’t talk about SuperSal here, as she, like my friends, deserve a blog post all on their own. One day I’ll write about this and tell you about the food delivered, the impromptu coffee breaks and laughs, not being able to find my car, bra shopping for a mastectomy and friends who are sad that they are not closer. Really sad.

I’m excited for tomorrow as the war has started. And also because I can’t remember when I had 5 days to myself where I could just read and sleep and abuse drugs (not that I have ever abused drugs before). I know of quite a few moms who are a bit jealous. This is part of the journey, it will not define me but it will make stronger and wiser.



  1. Hi Karen, you are immensely brave. Although I don’t know you but hear about you often from your friend (my Neighbour). I think about how you have faced challenges and here another one. Hope to meet you some time and give you the biggest hug ever. Be strong keep your head up. Thinking of you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: