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Sunday, May 22, 2016

The thing about blogging is that 3,250 posts is never enough. Inevitably, some life-changing and potentially defining moment comes out of left field and drives you to put aside the pressures of work, shove the kids in front of the TV and write that 3,251st entry. An event so pivotal and unexpected that it cries out to be documented.

Yes, it’s true. I’ve beaten Amelie at table football.

Oh, and Lisa has cancer.

You should have seen my third goal though. It was a screamer. Straight through the defence like a Beckham free kick and into the back of the net. It’s no wonder she went off in a huff.

As for Lisa, it transpires that the small and insignificant spot I’ve been looking at on the end of her nose for the past year or so is actually a basal cell carcinoma. And not acne, as I helpfully suggested. With hindsight, it was probably wrong of me to suggest that the reason it kept bleeding every couple of weeks was because she was picking it in her sleep, although I stand by my assertion that the root cause of this condition is her habit of twitching her nose when she’s trying to make a decision.

It’s ironic, as I’ve always assumed Lisa would be diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency rather than skin cancer. She avoids sunbathing like a vegan avoids steak, and is often tempted to convert to Islam just to give her an excuse to cover up more. So she’s definitely putting the idio into idiopathic here. I can only assume she stuck her nose out of the window once during the long hot summer of 1983 and is paying the price now.

Let’s face it though, this is a woman for whom disaster has dogged every step. And most of those steps have taken her headfirst through glass-fronted sideboards, down steep hills and over cliffs. She can make walking on a level piece of tarmac look difficult. She even managed to follow up her cancer biopsy last week with a trip down a kerb...

I wouldn't mind, but the school run is actually a slow walk.

Anyhoo, it's important to respond sensitively to these things and not make the patient feel that it's somehow their fault, which I think I achieved there. The good news is that having received the cancer diagnosis six days ago, I was able to take the day off work on Friday to attend Lisa's follow-up appointment with a consultant plastic surgeon. It was just as well, as having been told to take a seat in the waiting room, Lisa strode straight down the corridor in the wrong direction, and would probably still be wandering aimlessly around the hospital had I not been there.

As it transpires, however, following her nose in the future will only lead Lisa to the surgeon’s pedal bin. It seems the carcinoma may have infiltrated deeper than first thought and was never likely to respond to the course of Savlon I suggested. Lisa’s been referred to the specialist unit at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, where she’ll undergo Mohs surgery to remove the end of her nose, followed by a forehead flap reconstruction, which sounds mildly concerning until you look at its Wikipedia page. At which point concern turns to horror.

On the plus side, the outlook is extremely good and she should make a full recovery within months. I’ll also be able to perform a new version of the ‘My Dog’s Got No Nose’ joke at dinner parties. But those considerable pluses aside, it’s not good news, and Lisa’s understandably a bit miffed.

But as luck would have it, we already had a holiday booked for this week, so as I write this, we’re getting away from our worries and stresses on the banks of the River Tamar in Cornwall, staying in a tranquil and relaxing farm cottage. It’s just a shame I couldn’t lie about Lisa’s age and get it paid for by the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

The kids are doing their best to introduce the locals to the concept of noise, but our first twenty-four hours have been a constant delight. The cottage comes with its own football table, which has provided at least one of us with a moment of joy, and we even had a few visitors at our back door this morning...

So give it a few days and Lisa will have caught mad cow disease.