I met my replacement oncologist the other day after my original oncologist went to Italy on leave to study breast cancer.  I wonder if Italian tumours are any different from Australian ones?  That awesome Mediterranean diet and lifestyle obviously isn’t enough to prevent breast cancer there either.

I have begun preparing for his return later in the year. And in order to converse more adequately with him about what he may have learnt in his time away from the great priority of saving my life, I have prepared a brief Italian/English translation list.  I’m sure there could be quite a niche market for Italian and English speaking breast cancer patients to converse in breast cancer clinics across Melbourne.  After all, Melbourne has benefited greatly from the post war Italian Diaspora.  An additional benefit of this is if I happen to visit Melbourne’s culinary Lygon Street, I’ll be able to tell some of the restaurant owners and chefs what has been keeping me busy in the last few months.  So here it is…

My Incredibly Useful Breast Cancer (Italian – English ) Translation List 

  • Cancro – Cancer
  • Tumore – Tumour
  • Carcinoma Mammario – Breast Cancer
  • Ho il cancro. – I have the cancer.
  • Radioterapia – Radiotherapy
  • Chemioterapia – Chemotherapy
  • Teste calve sono il nuovo nero.  –  Bald heads are the new black.
  • Ho leccare lavica ulcere della bocca. – I have licking lava mouth ulcers.
  • Oh Signore per favore fermare il mio cuore batteva da corsa! – Oh Lord please stop my racing, pounding heart!
  • Che diavolo hai fatto a me oncologo? – What the hell did you do to me oncologist?
  • Il cancro è un bastardo! – Cancer is a bastard!
  • Vampate di calore!  – Hot flushes are a bitch!
  • Per favore qualcuno mi spari adesso! – Please someone shoot me now!
  • Protesi mammarie puntano alle stelle quando, recante.  –  Breast implants point to the stars when laying down.
  • Petto di espansori tissutali deve essere stato inventato da un uomo.  –  Breast tissue expanders must have been invented by a man.
  • La pizza  –  Pizza
  • Caffè latte  –  Cafe latte
  • Hai avuto un grande testa a forma di. Im piuttosto mi sorprende!  –  You have got a great shaped head.  I’m quite surprised!
  • Wow sei bellissima per qualcuno che ha il cancro!   –  Wow you look great for someone who has cancer!
  • Contrazione capsulare può baciare le mie grane!  –  Capsular contraction can kiss my grits!
  • Tamoxifene è una mucca necessay.  –  Tamoxifen is a necessary cow.
  • Dimenticate pre e post menopausa, la menopausa è ORA! – Forget pre and post menopause.  Menopause is NOW!
  • Steroidi succhiare!  –  Steroids suck!
  • Dexamethosone può mordere me!  –  Dexamethosone can bite me!
  • Chemioterapia è craptastic!  –  Chemotherapy is craptastic!

 *Please note, I’m getting the last eight quotes imprinted as t-shirt slogans for breast cancer patients.  I might even extend the range for all cancer types.

My new oncologist has helped me get over the resentment of being dumped for some breast cancer sabbatical (read Mediterranean holiday).  Fortunately, she is a wonderfully endearing and gorgeous Laura Linney look alike, except she’s a decade younger.  Laura played Truman’s wife in the film “The Truman Show” (1998).  I have always had a special place in my heart for her as an actor.  Sometimes in the writing of this blog I feel like Truman, as people are waiting for the next instalment or expressing to me that they feel they know me more intimately through the writing and more than they do in real life. This is both bizarre and funny at the same time.

My new oncologist. T’was love at first sight.
Image from http://www.contactmusic.com
Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Practice Safe Sun Awards
New York City, USA – 29.06.11

Extraordinarily, I only just made the connection that Laura Linney played the lead in “The Big C” (Click here) television series, as a woman called Cathy living with stage IV melanoma. In an interview for the Los Angeles times last October (click here) she revealed why she was drawn to such a role…

“I was very aware of cancer from a very early age because my mother worked 12-hour shifts at a cancer center in New York for much of my childhood years. And seared in my memory is her dressed very much in the way I was dressed in “The Truman Show,” actually — it was in the ’60s, and there were the stockings and the white shoes and the little hat. She really looked like an angel to me. And she would become very close to the families she was working with, and sometimes people would get better and sometimes she would come home and burst into tears because someone had passed. I became close to the families as well.

So I learned a lot about how no one is entitled to a long life. I mean, you hope for it, but it’s not a given. And it affects the entire family. And it affects the people working with you in hospitals, and it’s never far away. That someone going through a struggle, a real struggle, is not far away, no matter where you are or who you’re talking to, if it’s not right in front of you, it’s one step away. It’s always made me very aware that I never know what someone’s going through, so I tend to give a lot of people the benefit of the doubt.”

So there I was, having met my replacement oncologist for the term of my chemotherapy.  And she is the splitting image in both appearance and mannerisms of one of my favourite actors who happens to be the lead in a series called  “The Big C” and whose mother was a nurse in a cancer hospital.  Uncanny, don’t you think?  Who would have thought I’d get to trade my original oncologist for many future candid and endearing discussions with a gorgeous version of Laura Linney. Things have a way of working out!  And just for the record, I have not watched the show Parenthood yet. Okay!

After the hideous side effects I experienced from my first round of FEC -D chemotherapy,  my real life version of Laura Linney, the oncologist,  assures me such side effects are normal and I am apparently doing very well.  I have been given the go ahead to keep exercising. She has promised to reduce the dosage of steroids for my next chemo round to reduce the agitation I experienced and prevent me from pacing the hallways of my house at all hours as occurred for 5 days with infusion one.

The steroid Dexamethosone is used as an anti-nausea drug for cancer patients and is given in the days after chemotherapy is administered. It is also extensively used for a range of other medical conditions. When taken orally, it is 26.6 times more potent than the naturally occurring hormone cortisol. Like I need any more of that stuff in my body!   Since my nausea was only terrible for one day the dosage of Dex as it is affectionately referred to in forums has been reduced.  Hopefully the agitation won’t be traded for days of nasty nausea.  I would hope the other four nausea drugs I take will be enough. Tuesday morning will reveal all when I visit the hospital for my second health spa experience in three weeks.  Living it up.  Go Me!

Miss Linney has also agreed to delay my third round of chemotherapy by a week so I can support Mr Cool in his tenth Ironman Triathlon quest and have a long awaited holiday with family.  We have been planning this trip for a year.  Delaying chemo is not the optimal gold star treatment standard, but it happens all the time for a variety of reasons and she assures me that a one week delay is okay.

I am one busy stalker with all of these wonderful cancer treaters and healers coming into my life.

Love you Laura!

Eternally yours,


Just for kicks… here is the lovely Laura Linney as Truman’s wifey.