Three days ago I had my appointment to discuss the results of my recent biopsy. And three days ago, the dreaded C word appeared back in my life. “Its a cancer”, my consultant said, as I sat down in her office with my friend Mirela by my side. “It’s a little bit of cancer, 6mm of it” she said. Fuck. I had hoped and prayed that the little area which had grown over the last six months was fat or scar tissue.
I don’t remember how I felt but Mirela said that my face went yellow. It’s a massive blow to be told you have cancer 2.5 years ago and it felt like another blow, but more of a slap, the second time round.
The 6mm area is right near where the stitches are and exactly in the area where the first lump was discovered. Too much of a coincidence? Probably not. According to the consultant, it may be that some cells were left at the original surgery and that they have grown very slowly. ‘Grown very slowly, which is a positive thing’ – I guess in these situations we hang on to the positives no matter how minute they may be.
Apparently it’s a grade 2 (also better than 3 or 4) and they’re doing more tests to establish the exact type. The initial biopsy shows no vascular invasion, another small mercy, meaning hopefully it is just localised.
How little words like ‘localised’ can take on such a big meaning. We talked about what might happen next and of course the protocol is to exclude that it has spread anywhere else. CT scan and PET CT scans to be scheduled. Deep breaths. I remembered the dread of going through the PET scan 2.5 years ago, the fear, the waiting, etc
One step at a time. I’m hoping that the body scans come back clear. The previous lump was 4-5 times larger, had not spread elsewhere in the body (aside from my lymph nodes). Now we are talking about a much smaller area with no lymphs affected. This is giving me the hope that the rest of me is fine. I mean, after all – I would have had some symptoms right? I feel fit and healthy physically – which is what is so depressing about the whole thing.
I was talking with a friend in Germany and we agreed that cancer is a headfuck. Aside from the physical implications, it really can send you into a spin. Plus there’s this whole stigma attached to the diseases which I don’t think has changed much since the 80s. Also, drugs haven’t changed that much and we are still trying to handle this with the same poison. A friend of mine has researched clinics in Germany and Switzerland which use immunology and other methods to treat people and regardless of what happens. I will consider some time at these places to reboot my body and strengthen it, make a change.
Emotionally I feel strong at the moment. I have had the most amazing support from a totally unexpected place and my friends, work colleagues and family have also been incredible. I feel very very lucky.
And – whatever it is and whatever needs to be done, I will handle it. One day at a time!