It’s official – I’m a wimp. I can no longer take the fatigue that “only affects some women – no one knows why”. I’m off work for a bit. I’m feeling somewhat sunburnt and my breast appears, at least to me, to have swollen by a full cup size. Just waiting for the gross and embarrassing fluid leak now – ergh.
The good news is I’m beginning to decipher the lingo. PRP means Primary Reference Point, the first of my five tattoos. (Have I mentioned I’ve been tattooed? They’re a bit ordinary. I was hoping for a bluebird or dolphin, or even the names of my five children, but no, they’re just dots.) The remaining tattoos are SRPs – c’mon you can guess that. Supe means superior and base is the baseline. The numbers are units of measurement – millimetres, I think. They’re all mapping coordinates which is kind of fitting given my status as a tourist in Cancerville.
BUT, I gotta tell you, this exclusive language is nothing compared to the language used by women who write on radiotherapy forums. Way-hey, now there’s some cool lingo. I did some research early on to see if anyone had deciphered the language but no, they’ve created their own instead. We’ve got RADS, DX (which I thought was a mail delivery service), SNs, and other stuff. Jim Stynes would be proud of these women. They are residents in the region of Cancer, not trippers like me, making it their business to understand everything about their disease. They’ve subsumed the medical language and reinvented it – a resistant discourse, if you will. Check this excerpt from someone who was discussing her diagnosis and treatment, “…MX, 8 x FEC, 15 rads grade 3, 2cm with 4/12 node involvement”.
Lordy, where’s my Lonely Planet phrase book!