Susan Morrison: Why would I celebrate my 60th with a cruise when chemo is far more exciting?

The Yorkshire husband wanted to cruise the Norwegian fjords ' but the risk of passing icebergs was too great for Susan. Picture: Disneyland Parks/Getty Images
The Yorkshire husband wanted to cruise the Norwegian fjords ' but the risk of passing icebergs was too great for Susan. Picture: Disneyland Parks/Getty Images
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This week marks 60 years of me. It’s a big birthday. People say I should mark it. Go on a world cruise. Get a facelift. Have a midlife crisis. Well, obviously it’s not really midlife. That would mean I’d only be at the halfway point and aiming to reach my 120th birthday, and I know for a fact that the Chancellor has not calculated for that level of pension payout.

Given the fact that I’m collecting cancers the same way Rod Stewart used to collect blondes, it’s highly unlikely I’ll even get a decent use out of my bus pass. These days I look at a lengthy box set and wonder what the chances of reaching the end are.

I could celebrate my 60th by ­running off with a toyboy, I suppose, but technically I already have one. The Yorkshire husband always likes to point out that he is now younger than me, because he arrived on Planet Earth six weeks after me. 1959 was a good vintage.

A cruise is potentially dangerous. My long-running fascination with the RMS Titanic would lead to me sitting in a lifeboat wearing an ostrich feather hat and handing out song sheets with the words to Nearer My God to Thee on them.

The husband did suggest a cruise, incidentally. He wanted to go to see the Norwegian fjords. That’s just asking for trouble. Me, leaning overboard screaming “shipkiller!” at icebergs.

A facelift? Well, given the amount of time I’ve spent under the knife lately, I’ll pass on that. I did a DIY version lately, anyway. Duct tape. Worked OK. Couldn’t actually shut my eyes, or breathe for that matter but hey, you pay for beauty, don’t you? So, crisis but no cruise, no facelift and no toyboy on my arm.

Fortunately, once again the mighty NHS came galloping to my aid. What could be wackier than having a wild new experience that’s crazy, unbelievably expensive and not something you’d buy yourself. Yes! The day before your great landmark 60th birthday, let’s do chemotherapy!

Yes, hurrah, let’s spend a day at the Edinburgh Cancer Centre a building full of good intentions, incredible science and best of all, wonderful people, all wrapped up in an exterior probably designed by an 80s architect awash with awards who thought that what people with cancer really needed was a building that looked like a cross between a nuclear bunker and the tomb of an Eastern European dictator.

It doesn’t matter. You never see smiles like these anywhere else. They are dealing with people who have had the words cancer and chemo thrown at them, the witch curses of the 21st century, and yet the staff in this place stare the down their patient’s fears with courage and kindness in their eyes, like this was a lifesaving treatment of its own. And it is, in a way.

Part of the chemo involves a chemical with a name I can’t pronounce. To be fair, I can’t pronounce most medical things beyond paracetamol. It contains platinum. Earlier I was treated with silver nitrate. I’m starting to worry that the Yorkshire husband might be planning to have me melted down for scrap.

Gove succeeds where ‘just say no’ fails – cocaine is now so uncool

What exactly is a ‘caretaker’ prime minister? The English had caretakers in their schools. We had jannies. Does this mean Treeza goes around sweeping up after girl’s netball practice and making sure the lads aren’t smoking behind the bicycle shed after school?

She’s just looking after us right now, isn’t she? Giving care isn’t something I’d have put particularly high on Treeza’s skill set. Nice enough woman, I’m sure, but she reminded me too much of Mrs Cassidy, my PE teacher back at secondary. Her cure for everything, from period pains to ebola, was a swift run around the sports field, rain, hail or shine.

I once tried to get out of gym by chewing soap and pretending I had rabies. It didn’t work. What did happen was that I spent 30 minutes boaking up like a sailor outside a waterfront shebeen after a 24 hour binge on something nameless, whilst trying to explain why bubbles were coming out of my nose.

What if someone declares war on us? I mean, she’s not really the one in charge right now. Can we just send a note saying check back when the new head takes over? After Mr Gove’s admission I can imagine that lines are being handed out and detention given.

To be fair, in one fell swoop young Michael has succeeded where a thousand public health campaigns have failed. Cocaine is now seriously uncool.

Mind you, so is jogging. It must be hard to be politician trying to keep fit. No sooner have they donned the joggy bottoms and the trainers than the entire press core is outside their front door. It’s as if they knew…