On the worst day of my life, it rained, all day, torrential, non stop rain. In hindsight this was probably the right weather for the sort of day it turned out to be, but at the time I didn’t really appreciate it. It was Friday. On Wednesday we had been to see my surgeon to get the results of my latest surgery. He confirmed that they had found cancer in the lymph nodes so I would need further treatment. I had already resigned myself to chemo and radiotherapy so it wasn’t a shock. We left the room with him saying that it was very unlikely that it had spread and he would arrange a routine CT scan prior to seeing the oncologist. The scan was planned for Friday.
Friday came and with it the rain. I decided it was ok to go for the scan by myself, my husband had been by my side for every other appointment, but this was just a scan, no need for him to miss any more work and besides, there was some urgent stuff he needed to do. I downloaded a couple of albums onto my phone, plugged it into the car and set off. Positivity was to be my new watchword – so I’ve got cancer, its raining and I’m stuck in traffic, but I can appreciate the moment, listen to some music, sing along, observe the world. The international stamp collectors shop I’ve never seen before, the runners, soaked to the skin but smiling (that used to be me I thought, I loved running in the rain, but I’ll do that again, this is just a blip a few months and I’ll be back to doing the things I love). I’d taken my book – so what if I have to wait for the scan, I will read my book, again, something that is a pleasure. I even chatted to the other patients, I’m not normally a chatty person, but why not, we are all in this together, feeling ridiculous in hospital robes, dignity gone, a bit afraid, camaraderie helps.
Immediately after the scan I was told that my surgeon was here today so he would be able to give me the results. My new found positive energy was still there – that’s great, no waiting for results, I’ll read a bit more of my book and………that is when my breath stopped, I literally stopped breathing – This is NOT good news. I had to remind myself to breathe, I could feel panic rising in me, there was no way out of this, he was on his way down now, I was alone, I wasn’t prepared. Fear was my overriding emotion, I had to sit there and consciously control my breathing.
Suddenly it seemed as if the waiting room had emptied, everyone else had gone, just me, was this on purpose, I’ve no idea, but I was alone and scared and I had no way out.
So it was alone, unprepared and in a silent waiting room that I received the news that was to change everything. The cancer had spread extensively. I should be in extreme pain? Am I? There is no cure. It can be treated. Do I have any questions? No, all I wanted to do was go home where I felt safe.
I went out into the rain. I remember thinking – what is the point of putting my umbrella up now. I got soaked walking to the car. It was only when I got into the car that I started to sob, alone, in my car with the rain pouring down I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.