C is for Cancer, X is for Courage

Of the wayward monikers our mum bestowed upon each of her three daughters, Ximena (Mena) definitely got the top spot over Anouska (*waves*) and Tarien (the middle one) for name awkwardness. You try sitting in a waiting room, listening out for someone to call that mouthful out. Zim-mee-nah… Hex-zim-mennah… Sacagawea.. Jeez, Mother. Give your kid a chance. You know that bit, on Four Weddings and a Funeral? When Rowan Atkinson tries to say ‘Sinjin’ or ‘Singeon’… see what I mean? Can’t even spell it. But yeah, there’s a lot of that for Mena.

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Anyhow, I’m digressing, soz. These days ‘X’ not only stands for my sister’s dodgy initial, but for everything I think is marvellous about her, not least her courage.

It’s another big week for Mena. Tomorrow she will have the scans that will take a detailed look at what exactly is going on inside the mass occupying her right lung. We know there’s a lot of cancer in there, there’s also fluid and infection and other nasties her body is trying to deal with. In my last vlog about it ( https://anouskaknight.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/fabbo-friday-feeling/ ) I was a little overwhelmed by the fact that at last… AT LAST… Mena had received some positive news from her oncologist in that, after changing around her cocktail of drugs and crossing every finger we had between us, the scans had finally shown a reduction in the size of the mass.

The mass. Not the tumour.

A fact that dawned on me with a swift kick in the guts shortly after I posted that vlog.

So on the evening before these more detailed scans will take place, the fronds of anxiety are starting to creep back in, ever thick and fast. And if I think on how hard it is at times for the rest of us to plaster a smile on it, I can only imagine what Mena’s thoughts must be like to deal with before she falls asleep each night. This Thursday night coming will be bloody awful for her, I should think. Waiting for the results to hit on Friday. But we’ll never know because she’ll never say.

Because Mena is courageous. I know this because instead of falling to pieces (which incidentally she has never done) she keeps it together so the rest of us can cling to her calmness like a raft. At a time when I tell you now, I’d be milking the cancer card for every favour, scrap of sympathy, cooked meal and foot rub going, Mena is always just chilled. Always ace, always facing her illness beautiful bald head on.

So whilst cancer has taken the letter C in our world, it hasn’t taken the top spot. Because around here, folks, courage very definitely got crowned with the X.