So this is what a slice of my bowel cancer looks like. Its been preserved in formaldehyde and embedded in a wax block. The mouldy green fringe is actually dye to delineate the edges under the microscope.
It is quite profound for me looking at this still slide of flesh that has wreaked havoc with my life. It is uncannily like a slice of agate and would not look awry on the end of a pendant. Squint my eyes and it could be an aerial view of a desert island in the ocean. Look again and its sushi. I wonder if eating cancer gives you cancer?
It certainly doesn’t look as malevolent as it is. The face of cancer.
Liam does not want to see it. The lab gave it to me with instructions to keep it at room temperature but Liam was appalled when he found it in our fruitbowl (in a sealed box I hasten to add). He has a point I guess as our 2 year old has developed a penchant for tearing open packages ever since she destroyed her first advent calendar earlier this month.
Its pretty creepy. Especially as this is what is still inside me and will kill me unless a way of stopping it is found. I’ve got 22 slices left in the lab and this one is going to China to get analysed. The information these slivers of flesh hold could save my life. Which is why I am not making it into jewelry. Yet.
Although it is really tempting to frame it and put it up for auction along with the 80 other pieces of art going under the hammer on Thursday to raise money for me.
There is actually a real agate in the auction. Its a beautiful work by Rachel Adams – she has laser etched the stone to look like a circuit board. I imagine my tumour getting decoded like this when it gets to China. I wonder if Rachel would like to collaborate with me on my future cancer jewellery range…
My 5 year old son said to me today, after meeting Santa in Ikea, ‘you know when your life feels like a dream mum but its actually real?’ Yes I know that feeling. There have been so many beautiful dreamlike happenings around me recently that I don’t know where to start.
Since I was told this cancer is incurable my friends have been devising ingenius and fun ways to raise money so I can pay for experimental treatment (as yet still unknown but I promise it won’t be a boutique holiday to the Caribbean). The other day I met two strangers who were collecting money for me at a Christmas craft fair. I really wanted to scuttle past them anonymously with my head down but I forced myself to stop and thank them and behave like this was a perfectly normal event. And at my eldest daughter’s violin concert there was a little girl collecting money in a can – again for me. Mora thought it was hilarious when I was asked to put money in the can: “But she IS Claire!”
It is so humbling. All these kind actions from so many people that I don’t even know. Its like many invisible hands are lifting me up and pulling me back from the abyss. And it really is like that. Despite my prognosis I have very few moments of despair. And I think I have to thank all these people – many who I don’t even know. I’ve been told there are people in Peru who are praying for me. I’ve always wanted to go to Peru.
Maybe its working! I had scan results last week and – after 3 dreadful clinic appointments where I was told there was more cancer each time and the world seemed to be caving in on me – this time the news was good; I have no new cancer. Just the bits that we know about already… my future jewellery collection.