Today ‘s August the 13th, 2014. Today’s my 12th wedding anniversary. Today’s a good day.

Exactly one year ago I woke up alone. I was devastated. I went into surgery that day. The day before I had been able to fly back home from a holiday that I had spent mostly in hospital. My husband and kids had to stay, the planes were booked out.

But others were with me. Friends. Family. My doctor.

I knew that my doctor was back in Germany with his family, but I also knew that he was still on holiday leave. Before I went into the theatre, the last thing that I heard was an anaesthetist telling me that “they were waiting for the chief physician”. I was able to reply that my doctor was still on
holiday leave but was told that he had been phoned and was on his way to the hospital – just for me.

My fears left me. Gratefulness flooded through me. I was safe.

What had happened? At the beginning of my holiday the radiated skin had had enough. A rejection of the implant had been initiated, the skin had opened up to release the implant to alleviate the pressure. This started within a day, within hours actually. It was accompanied by massive
backache, by exhaustion, by fever. The breast had a visible tiny hole that was surrounded by red-hot skin.

It started on Tuesday, August the 6th. I was spending time with my husband and kids in and around the pool, when I saw a tiny discolouration on my right breast. I knew immediately that something was wrong but was completely unwilling to accept it.

The next morning I felt crappy. The discolouration had deepened, the skin had begun to glow. My local friend phoned her doctor and we went to his practice together. He examined me and was visibly both shaken and clueless. He said that he would send me to hospital, but not the local one.
He suggested a hospital about 60 kilometres away. I was desperate. I went back to my holiday home, knowing that something was VERY wrong, but unwilling to fully accept it.

The next day we went to collect some oregano in our favourite valley. I had to just sit and rest. It was then that I decided that I had to act. Around 7pm that day, Thursday, August the 8th, 2013, we arrived at a tourist practice that we drive past every day, because it is situated on the beach road. The young doctor looked at my breast, took my temperature – and phoned her boss. He arrived within minutes and made it extremely clear to me that I needed medical attention AT ONCE.

For about two minutes I gave vent to my desperation, but not in front of my kids. We phoned our flight company, but they were completely booked out and said that there was nothing they could do for us. Then we went to our holiday home, packed my things and hit the road again. It dawned upon my kids that I had to leave them and stay in hospital. My older boy, then eight years old, went silent, my little boy, just six, was inconsolable. He could hardly breathe between his sobs. My husband was amazing. He talked to us, pulled himself together, even smiled. Added some sort of “normality” to that highly unnormal situation.

I was overcome by a feeling I have known ever since my first diagnosis. I went completely calm. Exuded strength and confidence. From our house the distance to the hospital was about 70 kilometres on a road that runs through the mountains. For almost two hours I managed to comfort and console my three boys, my husband included. I convinced myself of the necessity of my actions, my decision to hand myself over to others.

I have been extremely confident and positive throughout ALL of my hospital stays, ALL of my appointments with doctors, ALL of my six operations. Because this is what makes it at all possible for me to not only keep my chin up, but to enjoy life. My confidence and constant gratefulness have helped me more than once in times of dire distress.

And again I was rewarded. The doctor who welcomed me at the hospital was warm-hearted, reassuring, lovely, funny, and his English was excellent. I wouldn’t have been able to communicate all the complicated facts in Greek. I sent my boys home with a light heart, knowing that I was being
looked after very well indeed.

My room was more than pleasant. I could sleep a bit, with a cross-over of a cocktail of three different intravenous antibiotics working their way through my body. At that point it was assumed that bacteria had entered my breast.

The following days were spent mostly in bed. The food was outstanding, the view from my balcony beautiful, the temperate perfect. But although I always pulled myself together, the load on me was excessively heavy. My breast opened up more and more, I didn’t have a flight back. But I had to
keep myself going. I knew that I couldn’t let myself go. So I cried for exactly one minute, than stopped.

I listened to and watched Tim Minchin’s DVDs ‘Ready for this?’ And ‘Tim Minchin and the Heritage orchestra live at the Royal Albert’ 24/7.  It was a good thing to do, because it kept me from losing control, from giving in to fears, from becoming incapable of acting, of looking after myself. Today my sciency Minchy bit is my advice to focus on somtheing that makes it hard to feel dejected, because sometimes dejection robs you of the strength to keep going. I´d be grateful for articles or studies on this phenomenon.

So I surfed the internet for flights. On Saturday I was able to book at flight back to Germany that would take me home two days later, on Monday, August the 12th. Ever since then I have promoted ‘weekly Minchins’ and ‘prescriptions of Tim Minchin’. Haha!

I asked my husband to try and enjoy the holidays with our kids as much as possible and to refrain from visiting me every day. When they came I made them leave quickly. I couldn’t keep up my strength for the boys for more than half an hour. My husband did as he was told. I am massively grateful to him for his ability to trust me beyond question, without dispute.

I think that he has never, in the past two years, eight months and 23 days doubted my genuine strength, confidence, optimism, positive attitude. I love him even more for this.

So today is our eleventh AND twelfth wedding anniversary. Let’s party!


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Teaching elephants how to fly. The principles of evolution and why it is almost impossible for strong believers to accept scientific premises.
An hour ago I read the commentary thread that resulted from a post by the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science that quoted from Neil deGrasse Tyson´s Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, in which deGrasse Tyson talks about evolution as a scientific theory. Some of the comments made me jump. They are so completely nuts that I can hardly believe it. It appears to me that evolution is among the most misunderstood things in the world. Mostly these nutters´ brains seem to have been poisened by religious indoctrination AND a lack of education.
I wouldn´t talk to a creationist about morality, ethics, beliefs, science, evolution and the like. Talking about these things to a creationist is like trying to teach an elephant how to fly. Just as much as an elephant doesn’t possess the needed structures for flight, wings, a creationist doesn’t possess the nerval structures needed for understanding scientific evidence that has to do with, say evolution of life forms on earth.
I mean this in a purely neurobiological way. If certain patterns of thought have never arisen, if indoctrination from an early age has taken place, the brain has been shaped in a way that makes it difficult to process new ideas.
Whatever ideas and thoughts we come across, will always be treated by our brain on the matrix of our often-used thought patterns.
A good metaphor for these patterns is an old motorway, very much in use, with few entries and exits, and virtually no junctions.
Only if we keep up mental flexibility, we will force our brain to form SEVERAL thought motorways.
Religious, or self-declared spiritual people often call scientists narrow-minded, a reproach which is at best ridiculous, at worst an insult and a massive self-delusion.
Scientists must, by definition be broad-minded and open to new ideas.
They need to command a whole network of thought-motorways to process, intellectually digest and integrate new ideas.
Spend an afternoon on wiki-fucking-pedia (thanks go to Tim Minchin in “Storm”), read articles such as en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introduction_to_genetics
or
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introduction_to_evolution to enlighten your brains and build new thought motorways.
I ask my pupils to remember that there are billions of questions out there that we either cannot answer today (but maybe another day) or that we haven’t asked yet.
I ask them to consider that it’s often quite impossible to find a simple answer to a complex question.
I ask them to keep in mind that our lives today are different from the lives of our ancestors and thus require a few new questions to be asked.
I ask them to keep their chins up in the face of doubt.
To embrace doubt.
To enjoy figuring out.
To clap their own shoulders for searching for (not necessarily finding!) answers.
I beg them to look around and be curious.
To enjoy difference.
To NOT be afraid of things and people strange to them.
I applaud them for being able to change their minds if enough evidence has
been presented to them to modify their point of view.
I challenge them to understand that they are responsible for their words and for their
actions.
I remind them that they cannot hide behind other people’s standards.
That ethics and morality cannot be shopped online.
That these things don’t come tailor-fitted.
I offer them place and time to talk and to think.
This, among other things, is what makes life good, maybe even meaningful.
Yours, philosophically,
Maid Manu.

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Un-awed, dis-respected, under-esteemed, de-loathed or under-feared personalities of world history. And why I can understand Angelina Jolie very well.

Today I was harshly judged for putting on a “Manu-show”. Whatever that is.  In the past I have been judged for many things. Here is a list of the more curious things:

1. Fab: You are so intelligent. When I am with you I feel dumb.

2. Yep: You are such a cordial host. This cannot be true. It must be a front.

3. Or this one: You and your husband are always so happy together. Who are you putting this show on for?

What can I say?! Guilty as charged. Probably those who judge should examine their judgements and opinions.

Lovely Tim Minchin says that opinions (and may I add “judgements”) and arseholes have something in common, in that everybody has one.  And Tim has a remedy: examine your opinions (and may I add “judgements” again) even more thoroughly than your arseholes. (From his speech on the occasion of receiving his Honory Doctor of Letters):

That brings me back to my topic. I´d love to travel back in time once the problems of temporal mechanics have been resolved, and to re-name people of historic impact:

– Bernard the Impaler, who then, instead of turning into a complete arse, could become the world’s first Transsylvanian playwright.

– Lord Kevin Lloyd Webber, who would be knighted for his ground-breaking findings in the research of first names and their impact on the future lives of kids.

– Benjamin Hitler, whose littleness in every respect would be reflected in his stature AND his first name.

– Queen Candice I, who would be heiress not to powerful Britannia, but to elf and fairy country.

– Micky and Minnie Cockroach, who would meet a sticky end under one of Black Pete’s shoes.

Ah, and of course I would transport myself back to way before the 21st November 2011 to find out that I had a group of bloody cancer genes, and to have my breasts removed BEFORE the cancer would break out.

Yes, Angelina Jolie was in her right mind when she decided to have her breasts amputated INSTEAD of unwillingly (but genetically pre-destined) following in her mother’s and her mother’s sister’s steps on a path that leads to most certain untimely death. It is quite … let me think for a bit, what was the word again… ah, yes mind-fucked how people judge her for something that doesn ‘t call for judgement.

You can judge someone for the positive or negative impact they have on other people’s lives.

You CANNOT judge them for being female, old, black, gay, Jewish.

But you can judge them for being female serial killers, old Nazis, black racists, gay rapists, Jewish fundamentalists.

And please, please, don´t judge me for being intelligent, cordial, and happily married. If I was an intelligent cynic, a cordial hypocrite, a cheating wife, you might as well judge me…

I for my part don’t judge Vlad the Impaler for his awful first name. I judge
him for the horrors he commited. And on the other hand I judge Astrid Lindgren for her literary and political achievements. What she achieved for childrens’ rights was absolutely ground-breaking.

I am not sure about Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber. Generally I don’t like musicals very much, but that’s not his fault. I DO like the modern arena version of JCS, though. But actually, I have no idea what kind of person he is, which is why I don’t judge him at all, really. But I bet you there are people who don’t like him because he is an eccentric.

And I definitely don’t judge Angelina Jolie for her decision NOT to most definitely get breast cancer. I think that what with the simple fact that it was mathematically very likely for her to become ill some day, she made a rational decision.

After my cancer broke out, my sister asked me to have my genes tested. And as it is, I was tested positive for chek2, a group of genes that cause either breast cancer or pankreas cancer.

My sister was tested negative for that gene combination, but if she had been tested positive she wouldn’t have hesitated but have had her breasts removed as a precaution.

And she would have done it so quickly, you couldn’t have said “genetic breast cancer”. And I guess that she would have had to face a few undisguised arseholy reactions for her decision.

I read a few comments from obvious arseholes that made me furious after Ms Jolie had made her decision public. But one of these comments made me especially irate.

A woman wrote that she condemned Angelina Jolie for her decision and couldn’t understand it at all, as the cancer might not have broken out before she turned 70, and she said  something about a decision by someone named “god”.

Wow! What an idiotic idiot. And what a ridiculous bit of faithful carbon. So, obviously at 70 it is okay to get cancer, especially if a “god” decides for you to do so.

Then I would thoroughly recommend for that woman to “contract” some cancer as a present for her own 70th birthday. She could book a trip to Japan or to Tchernobyl. The radiant atmosphere there would definitely help her achieve her goal.

Or she could pray for some cancer. I have never heard of anybody who has prayed away cancer successfully, but it might work better the other way round.

Well anyway, there are only two ways to explain these nutters’ behaviour. Either they are really heavily religious and in their tiny brains there is no space for logic and rationalism.

Or they are plain dumb.

I can literally HEAR some people cry out loud “blasphemy”!

“Would you be so kind as to stick it up your rear ends?!”, is my reserved and very classy answer.

Others, who are also anything but tolerant will say that it should be up to everybody to think what they may. Ahem, let me think. Think, think, think, think, think. Nope! I still think that these judgemental people are idiotic arseholes.

For idiotic idiots’ idiotic behaviour watch Tim Minchin’s Sacredness:

Enjoy.

Yours, judge-mentally,

Maid Manu.


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Why Darwin is the more intelligent choice. And why Intelligent Design is dumb.

The theory of evolution, of natural selection is beautiful, comprehensive, coherent, and RIGHT. And I am not at all passionless about it. Monika, rock on!

It is ridiculously obscene and inanely insolent how people like the Intelligent Design (ID) fan Michael J. Behe attempt to challenge others by claiming things like:”Prove that a wing/a vertebrate eye/ the immune system is NOT irreducibly complex. NOW. If you can’t, there must be an intelligent designer! Ha!” There are at least four answers to that.

# One: Because not everybody can explain complex biological facts off-handedly, doesn’t mean that the latter don’t exist. Just as much as there are laws, ALTHOUGH I cannot quote from them, because I am not a lawyer. But I still have to accept the laws of my country. And still a decent person has the right to agree as much as they can with Darwin’s theory of natural selection even though they are not necessarily biologists.

# Two:  ID people/creationists make ME their creator, because if I cannot explain everything to them right now, THEIR god comes into existence. Hurrah!

# Three: Science goes on every day. Yes really! Nope, scientists have not found answers to all the phenomena there are. But then, we haven’t DISCOVERED all the phenomena there are. But hey, good thing is: scientists are incurably curious. Just because some phenomena haven’t been fully explained doesn’t mean there is no scientific explanation.

# Four: Why do these people think that they are right if I am not right.

Alright! Good. So then let us find a nice way of tricking THEM.This is sooo cool because it is sooo simple. Ahem, clearing my throat: I hereby challenge all creationists/ ID fans to come up, off-handedly, with a fully explained example of one of god’s mysteries PLUS a list of all scientific attempts at explanation they have been able to exclude. NOW!

… Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Nope? Okay, then natural selection MUST be the one and only right answer. Oy! Stop whining. I love being a spoilsport. Stop getting on my tits.

But what does Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection mean? When you talked about it in school (IF you talked about it), did you understand it well? And did it put a big smile on your face because it is so beautiful and coherent? Well, if not, then my introduction to Darwin’s theory might be a good reason for a big, fat smile in a few minutes. Dig in. Enjoy!

Darwin’s theory of natural selection. An explanation for scientists and others. (I)

By the way, before I begin, let me tell you that the meaning of the term THEORY that we use in everyday life hasn’t much to do with the meaning of the scientific term. In every-day life it is often used pejoratively, which it most certainly is NOT in scientific contexts.

Let me give you an example. People often say things like “But that’s only theoretical. You have no idea if it works out if you put it to practice.” Strange, ey!?

In the world of science something has been put through a vast amount of tests before it has reached the status of theory. The theory of gravity is quite a good example, for most people can easily agree that they put it to the test successfully almost all of the time.

They agree so easily because they experience gravity somehow. But there is a problem there. Many people think that if they cannot see or touch or at least feel (experiencing gravity comes closest to feeling, especially if you stumble and fall on your face or if you drop a rock and smash your feet) something, it’s not there.

Which is a ridiculous misconception of our own senses. Is infrared radiation not there because I cannot see it? Well, certain snakes CAN. Is electricity non-existent because I don’t possess an electrical sense? But some fish do. Is the earth’s magnetic field a lie because I cannot detect it with my own senses? Lots of birds can.

Please, don’t mistake your own senses for the top of the senses pops. Yes, we human beings can smell, but there are large numbers of other creatures whose sense of smelling beats ours by far.

You want an example? Okay: 1. some sharks, whose sense of smell is plain massive: they can detect one “smellable” molecule in 10,000,000 (ten million) molecules of water. We can´t! 2. dogs, who can smell cancer cells.

3. And yes, we can hear, but could you hear a tsunami wave that is miles away like elephants can? Well, I couldn’t. But elephants neiter have a sixth sense, nor do they possess the long lost knowledge of the ancestors, they simple have an anatomically and physiologically  different hearing range.

And there are more examples, of course. And they are all of them NOT magic. For more look here:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/salmon-use-magnetic-fieldbased-internal-maps-to-find-their-way

Let us from now on use the term ‘scientific’ as an exclamation of happy, happy happiness in the face of scientific greatness, or whenever we come across anything as beautiful as the sense-abilities that are the products of the processes of evolution!

I promise that I will use ‘scientific’ frequently, at least once every day, from now on. Let’s practice our exclamation. SCIENTIFIC!!!!!!!

A good place might be a hospital, where you will most definitely come across patients whose lives have been saved thanks to modern medicine. Or whose broken bones can be seen on x-ray; or whose bacterial infection has been defeated by the use of penicillin. Shout “Wow, this is scientific!” Nudge others, make them shout it, too! Hug doctors, tell them what a good job they’re doing. Show your face on demonstrations that deal with the working conditions of doctors and nurses. We desperately need these people and we need them strong, well-paid, content, awake.

Write to the pharma industry and thank them for their research and their science. Did you know that the development of a new penicillin derivate costs between 500 million and 1 billion €?! No peanuts. But do you know how much you pay for them if you need them? Under ten bucks.

And you know why it is so fucking expensive to develop them? Because all those people involved in the process make damn sure that the new pills have been put through tons of tests, so that they really cure people. And do you know how much people like Behe do to heal others, to develop medication and treatments that work? That save lives?

I haven’t come across a single type of medication that can be used to cure cancer patients or to stop deseases like bacterial infections or that vaccinate millions of people developed on what´s written in the bible, or the muttered verse of the religious, or by god.

Okay. If Behe is so religious. Is he also a religious apologist? Mr Behe, why should I be interested in a god who very obviously doesn’t give a fuck about me? But scientists do. Doctors do. Whatever your answer is, it is definitely not prone to help you find an exit from the following dilemma.

If your god is almighty, it would be very easy for him to cure me, or rather to ensure that I wouldn’t become ill in the first place. As I became ill, this proves that he isn’t almighty, or, that on the other hand, your god doesn’t care about me, and then there would be no reason for me to care about him. And again. I have proven your god to be either an arsehole or completely irrelevant.

GOOOOAAAAAAL! Strike! I have scored.

Yippee!

The theory of evolution through natural selection (II)

By definition all life forms consist of cells. One is enough by the way, such as in bacteria.

Our bodies are made up of trillions of cells. Inside every single cell, each one of which is quite small, there is an even smaller structure called nucleus. And inside the nucleus there are genetic building blocks called DNA. Every day quite a few new cells have to be built because the old ones have been used up or damaged or done a good job but have grown old.

When new cells are made, they need a nucleus each. And in the nucleus they need the building blocks called DNA. New DNA is made by copying the DNA of another cell. As the DNA is bloody long, it is very probable that the copy contains slight changes, meaning that it is not an exact copy. A change in the genetic information is called mutation.

Mutations never have a direction, they happen accidentally, and it cannot be predicted in what part of a DNA molecule they may take place.

Mutations of the DNA of an egg cell or sperm cell cause changes in the individual that originates from them. Why is that so?

for two reasons.

# One: All the cells of the growing individual are made from the original sperm cell and egg cell after fertilisation. Thus, they all carry the same DNA.

# Two: The DNA is the blueprint for other molecules that are movable and can leave the nucleus. Their name is mRNA. The mRNA is translated into chains of amino acids that form proteins. These proteins either form small structures or larger structures throughout our bodies, or they form molecules called enzymes that help in biochemical and physiological processes inside and between cells.

A mutation of the DNA can lead to a more functional or a dysfunctional enzyme.

Or it can lead to more or less functional structures.

Some mutations are repaired by repair enzymes that constantly check the DNA for changes, but not all of the mutations become undone.

And this is the reason why evolution can take place at all. Because the slight changes that individuals carry in their anatomy or physiology or behaviour as a result of certain mutations may grant them an advantage in their given environment, so that, for example they can find the yummier food, date the hotter chicks and have plentier offspring.

And it is plain to see that only those who multiply will pass on their genes, whereas the less fuckable will die unfucked and just rot. To be continued …

For more fun and knowledge log on again next week when it`s time for “The weekly Minchin”.

Yours, evolutionary,

Maid Manu.


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Why science rocks and informed cancer patients have it better.

I have come across an awful lot of people who give up when they HEAR the words cancer, chemo, radiation therapy. Who have horrible images in their minds that appal them completely. But who, at the same time, have no clue what cancer really is, what a chemo does, how radiation therapy works. I have talked to people who tell ME, that if THEY got cancer, they would reject treatment, go on one last trip and die in a dignified manner. WHAT??? I don´t even know what that means.

I have been molested by normal people and a doctor/charlatan, who think that mistle therapy would be a good idea for me to try out. On my objection to pseudo-treatments like “mistle therapy, submerged knitting, hand laying, etc.”, I was told shit like: “But, Manu, you cannot expect anything like clinical studies in questions of cancer treatment, because that would be unethical, wouldn’t it!?” And again, WHAT???

People constantly offer me faith and alternative medicine, thinking that on the one hand my life is completely pointless the way it is, and that on the other hand the amount of treatment that medicine offers is not enough.  Although I am still alive AND very healthy after surgery + chemo + radiation therapy + hormone therapy. After more than two years and a DOZEN trips to England, Italy, Greece and the USA (not just ONE last). So there. And I have received my treatment in a very dignified manner. But to die early because you decide against a treatment that people in other parts of the world would kill for is not dignified, it is plain stupid.

Education and knowledge are good solutions to a life in ignorance. I am a teacher, I can’t help but teach, explain, enlighten. That’s one of the reasons why I started a blog: I want to inform others, promote science, offer a good helping of optimism WITHOUT falling for promises of salvation. In my blog I attempt to explain in simple language what radiation therapy does, how chemo works and the like. I am a BIOLOGY teacher. I must mediate between the world of scientists and that of other people every day. I can speak both languages: science and every-day.

But of course my blog is also my way of dealing with my life since day X. My treatment has not been a walk in the park, or, to put it the German way: life’s not a pony farm. But I love every single second of every single minute of every single hour of every single day of my life. Because I still have one, thanks to science.

For your weekly sciency Minchly amusement I would suggest his best-known and award-winning beat poem Storm in which he argues with a shitty hippy who believes in alternative medicine and fires off silly platitudes like “a sniper using bollocks for amunition”.

Yours, scientifically,

Maid Manu.


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How radiation therapy works.

Before you read on, you should probably have a look at “About”, “Checklist for The Cancer Club” and “A prescription of Tim Minchin”.

This week’s “Weekly Minchin” is the video sequence on “Morality, miracles, Tony the fish”, which you can find on his DVD “So fucking rock”. Enjoy! There Tim talks about how enjoying sciency things instead of magicky ones doesn’t mean to turn into a cynic.

Radiation therapy isn’t one of the magicky things but definitely falls under the category “sciency”. Even though you cannot see and feel the radiation, believe it or not, it’s there. But how does it work?

Our bodies are made up of trillions of cells. Inside every single cell, each one of which is quite small,  there is an even smaller structure called nucleus. And inside the nucleus there are genetic building blocks called DNA. Every day quite a few new cells have to be built because the old ones have been used up or damaged or done a good job but have grown old. A good example are cells that line the inside of our digestive system, which are simply rubbed off by the passage of our food. Or certain blood cells. Other cells in our body grow very old though, for example our brain cells that can get as old as we get.

When new cells are made, they need a nucleus each. And in the nucleus they need the building blocks called DNA. New DNA is made by copying the DNA of another cell. As the DNA is bloody long, it is very probable that the copy contains slight changes, meaning that it is not an exact copy. A change in the genetic information is called mutation. Many of the mutations that happen accidentally every day are discovered by molecules that check the new DNA building blocks for copying mistakes. These substances are called repair enzymes. It is good we have them because some of the mistakes could cause severe problems.

So far so good. But what does all this have to do with radiation therapy? Well, to cut a long story short: cancer cells cannot repair their DNA like other cells. At least they are not as good at it. So it would be quite a smart idea to damage the DNA of cancer cells. The good news are: accidental copying mistakes are not the only way to cause mutations. There are actually chemical substances and physical processes that have the power to mutate DNA building blocks or to simply damage DNA. Amongst these are UV-light, radioactivity, certain substances AND the radiation that is used in radiation therapy.

The cooperation of several scientists, such as radiation doctors, physicians, technicians and the like ensure that when YOU are given radiation therapy, the used radiation will destroy the stupid motherfucking cancer DNA. And as the cancer cells don’t have the necessary repair enzymes, the only thing they can do is to say “Hasta la non vista, baby”!The team of experts can ensure this by taking 3-dimensional pictures of that part of your body that has to be treated during radiation therapy BEFORE radiation begins.  They make very complex calculations based on these picture and this way can help avoid radiating YOUR good old body cells. But if a body cell and its DNA comes in contact with the radiation it has all the necessary enzymes to repair the damage. Hurrah!!!

Of course my despription cannot replace a proper conversation with YOUR doctor. But I have made the experience that some scientists find it difficult to express complex processes in a way that non-scientists can understand them. AND on top of this they HAVE TO inform you about all the possible side effects, even though some of these may have a probability of under 1%. But they may scare you shitless with their seemingly endless list of what MIGHT happen. If I were you, I wouldn’t  want to be scared shitless, so I’d ask MY radiation doctor if s/he still recommended the radiation therapy to me AFTER s/he had informed me about the risks. And if s/he said “yes”, I would ask her if s/he would recommend this treatment to her husband and her kids, and if s/he said “yes”, I would go for it. So there.

I didn’t think twice when I was offered radiation therapy. And I didn’t ask friends or family what they thought I should do. I asked the experts!!! They had all the knowledge I needed, and when they said it was a useful treatment, I trusted them. Yes. That’s what I did. But I am NOT an expert, I am just a patient patient.

Ah, and Tim Minchin. Usually the radiation sessions are quite short, at least mine took only a few minutes each. But you have to lie absolutely still, which some people find uncomfortable or even discomforting. A good pastime could be a Tim Minchin song that you could sing in your head if you are very excited. This way time will pass so quickly that you will be out of radiation before you can say “Tim Minchin is fucking hilarious!”

Yours, radiantly,

Maid Manu.


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