I was sitting in the kitchen earlier today enjoying the late summer sunshine reading the Sunday papers and listening to the radio when I heard Jamie Lawson sing his hit song, “Wasn’t expecting that”, on stage at BBC Radio 2’s Live in Hyde Park “festival in a day”.
Who would have thought that a song that ends with a middle-aged woman dying of cancer would be so popular? But that’s just what “Wasn’t expecting that” is about, isn’t it? A lot of people clearly love it. For the record, I’m not one of them. I can’t stand that song.
I guess it might be a cancer other than breast cancer that kills the woman in the song. It doesn’t matter. It’s all lovely, lovely, lovely, then the final few lines when they come are like a punch in the stomach. I guess you’re meant to think you weren’t expecting that. Clever, eh?
You could argue the song’s raising awareness about cancer recurrence. In breast cancer, recurrence is definitely an area that needs more attention (see Recurrence 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5). Even so, I really don’t like it; it’s just too sad, and as if that weren’t bad enough, it’s maudlin too. Take a look at the last verse (ignore the bad grammar in the first couple of lines!):
When the nurses they came
Said, “It’s come back again”
I wasn’t expecting that
Then you closed your eyes
You took my heart by surprise
I wasn’t expecting that
I rest my case. Now I know as kids we would all belt out the Terry Jacks 1974 chart topper, Seasons in the Sun, but that was then and this is now. I would have been a carefree 11-year-old in 1974; now I’m a 53-year-old who’s had breast cancer.
Incidentally, I’m back at the hospital tomorrow for my third cycle of zoledronic acid, the bone-hardening drug I currently have a dose of every six months to counteract the bone-weakening effect of letrozole, the anti-hormone therapy that I take daily to reduce the risk of my breast cancer coming back. Zoledronic acid, too, has been shown to improve survival in post-menopausal women like me (Breast cancer does indeed “come with baggage”), by reducing the rate of breast cancer recurrence in bone. I can’t believe it’s six months since I had the last round. When I see the oncologist tomorrow, we’ll also discuss my “trigger thumb“, a painful and really annoying condition in which your thumb catches or locks when it’s bent. It’s a known, although rare, side effect of letrozole and I’ve had it in my right hand for nearly two months now. Potential options include, it seems, corticosteroid injections and/or surgery. Hey bloody ho.
PS Jamie Lawson, if you ever read this, I love the rest of your stuff!