Week 9: what's this got to do with #BreakingTheSilence…
… well bear with me.
It’s now been 2 weeks since radiation treatment ended, but what a roller-coaster of mood swings. On the surface there is the day-to-day management of the ongoing symptoms, although just in the last day or so, the drooling has almost stopped (yay!), except for late in the evening (I’ve no idea why 🤷🏼♂️).
What has been more stressful, though, is that after talking to my consultant over the phone (because of lockdown, fortnightly consultations are being done this way) I tried to reduce my oxycodone from 20mg to 15mg every 4 hours, but after one day, the pain levels were so intense I upped the strength again. Which made me frustrated and a bit angry that I got it wrong. This then led to me and David having a massive argument on Friday night about my eating (I’m really sick of these meal-replacement shakes). I stomped out of the house for my daily walk, and went up to our 24h Tesco (even though I’m meant to be shielding) to get some gloopy food that I could eat, but when I got there, at 10pm, there was a queue of over 60 people snaking round the car park. I went home, but that made me really angry as well; the impact of lockdown on so many people is devastating.
Added onto this, I also disappointed myself by saying that I would help take over the TIGER in STEMM twitter feed for a week, but then I had to pull out last minute due to feeling crap, leaving someone else to take over, which I feel really bad about, having felt I let people down. I know that no-one thinks this, but that didn't stop me from thinking that at the time. Having said that, Sean did a fantastic job on Twitter, in the lead up to International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia, & Transphobia…, which is today. (#IDAHOBIT)
So on Saturday / Sunday morning at 4am, I decided I to take more control over eating. I started to make up meal plans for the week to reduce my dependency on David cooking for me. Saturday I ate soft-boiled eggs, cauliflower cheese bake (baked by David), rice puddings etc. Every time I swallow is sore, but hopefully by pushing this I can get back to a normal life faster.
In every blog I’ve mentioned David this, David that, David the other, as without him, I really don’t know how I could have gotten through this period. When I insist on going out for my daily walks, he’ll come along, especially if I’m not feeling too good. I have no doubt that I drive him up the wall with my expectations and demands. But the point is, I don’t feel fearful about talking about David. I am lucky in a way that’s not true for everyone. Across Europe, LGBTI rights are being challenged like never before.
There have been several important reports this week alone showing that discrimination against LGBTI people in Europe is on the increase. In one survey, over half of the 140,000 LGBTI European respondents felt that they “are almost never or rarely open about being LGBTI”, and 60% of respondents “often or always avoid holding hands with in public with same sex partners”.
This is 2020 people.
Imagine being fearful of the most natural expressions of liking someone else in public for fear of being attacked.
And if you are trans or intersex, even your whole right to exist is being debated, especially within some toxic LGB quarters. Ending this post promoting International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia, & Transphobia feels right, because my blogging as a gay man, who talks openly about his partner, is a social and political action, and my lifestyle is not there for others to comment on, cancer or no cancer. In the aftermath of Section 28 and the 2004 Reform of the Gender Recognition Act, so much progress has been made on LGBTI rights in the UK. For example, if in the unfortunate outcome that I had become serious ill with this cancer and was admitted to hospital, for David to have the right to be by my bedside was only recently won in law a few decades ago. Looking at countries like Hungary in this time of Covid19, we can never be complacent that those rights are here forever.