A few days ago I was puzzling over a reference to a BMX , and just could not make sense of it. This BMX was in fact a child’s bike, and not the Bilateral Mastectomy which was my first thought. That is when I realised how much my mind has been skewed by this whole breast cancer ride. I know it has been distorted in many ways, but it was fascinating to realise how many elements of our conscious and sub conscious it affects.
I remember when BS used to be the polite way of saying Bulls**t . Now the first think I think of when I hear or see BS is my wonderful Breast Surgeon! Earlier if I saw a reference to US, I would think of the United States, but in the post diagnosis life it is Ultrasound. And of course a PET is another type of scan with no resemblance to fluffy kittens.
And what about the glorious rich new vocabulary I have gained? I have become familiar with the normal reference ranges for various blood work as well as all sorts of procedures, danger signs and conditions related to cancer. I am familiar with talk of lesions and nodules. I even see an endocrinologist every 3 months now. A what? So what on earth does he do for a living? I had never heard of an oopherectomy before but now would consider asking my oncologist (sweetly shortened to onc) if he thinks that would be a sensible prophylactic measure. Oh, there are a heap more new words in my active vocabulary, a whole new language on the tip of my tongue!
Of course, none of this new knowledge features on my CV. (CV? Is that one of the tumour marker blood tests?) I think that is because those of us who wear the cancer equivalent of beer goggles know that although we have different associations, that this does not apply to those not wearing the breast cancer glasses. And that is another element which serves to isolate us just that little bit more from our previous, or other life. However, that is also exactly what bring the familiarity and support in those spaces such as our online friendships and blog communities as well as the waiting rooms we spend too much of our lives in.
We quite literally speak the same language! It must be maligno-lingua!