Firstly, I make no apology for the shameless attempt to increase my blog views with the most dramatic title possible, secondly, everything is fine.
It’s been a few weeks since my last bout of narcissism, as you can imagine they have been rather traumatic and although I did think about keeping you all in the loop on the unfolding drama Nathan and I thought it best to write about the experience as a whole once we’d had the nod either way.
All of my Doctors had reassured me that my type of tumour is………correction…….was a random mutation of cells which is unlikely to have been caused by genetic or environmental factors. What that means is that any tumours that appear in the other breast are effectively a new case of breast cancer rather than being related to the original episode. I’m told to be vigilant about reoccurrence in the original site (apparently even though I’ve had the breast removed and a temporary implant inserted, there is still a chance of residual cancer cells developing into new tumours) I also need to be vigilant about secondary metastasis where the cancer cells manage to evade the onslaught of chemotherapy and radiotherapy and find a new home in my liver, lungs, brain or bones (bones isn’t good, bones is game-over).
While every ache and pain does evoke pangs of dread, I have remained positive yet vigilant in my self-examinations and around 3 weeks ago I found a lump.
If I’m really honest, I ignored it for the longest 3 days before plucking up the courage to tell Nathan when it became obvious it wasn’t going away. That was probably one of the hardest conversations of my life (aside from telling my parents and sister about the original diagnosis), we have so many positive things going on in our lives - we’re about to exchange on the house of our dreams, Erica and Nathan are about to start new academic adventures in Ely and my career prospects seem ever more promising - we have absolutely everything to lose.
As much as I have slagged off BUPA in this blog, they were fantastic, I had an appointment with Mr Rashed within three days and he referred me to Mr Hajajj two days after that. Mr Hajajj is my Radiologist and an all-round genius, he spotted my cancer when everyone else said it “was nothing” so I knew that if there was anything there he’d likely be the person to find it. As he progressed from the examination to the ultrasound I listened intently for the clicks - I have learned that clicks mean that he’s taking images and that is not good - that was probably the tensest silence of my life, there is no suitable small talk in that situation and I think we all held our breath.
“My darling, there is nothing there”……. I could have kissed him and I think he was just as relieved as I was that I didn’t!
I’m resisting inserting a “learning” cliche but there is no more sobering experience than coming face to face with your mortality. I wasn’t scared about going through the treatment again and that made me realise that the fear the first time around was fear of the unknown.
This time I wasn’t scared of the sickness, the pain, the surgery, the hairloss, the strain on my relationships or the dent in our finances as I knew my enemy well and was damned as hell prepared to keep on giving it the fight it’s never had until it decides to leave me alone.
I’m terrified that cancer will take away the very things it had taught me to cherish. I thank God for them every day and will never stop doing so.