D Day (part 1)

Friday 6th September 2013

The day of my results swung around and, once again, we dropped the boys with their nana and made our way to the Linda McCartney Centre. And, as is always the way with us, we half ran from the car park weaving through the smokers at the front entrance (hate that), charging past the poor buggers in wheelchairs, hot footing it past the hobblers and those annoyingly slow people who somehow manage to take up the full width of a corridor no matter how wide the corridor is. I almost take out some poor sod who was browsing the glasses display outside the Eye Unit as David pulls me along behind him, his hand firmly in mine.

That will be one of the things I remember most. David never let go of my hand.

It's not that we like running. It's just that we are always late. And I mean always. I genuinely worry about our wedding day so much so that I have decided to stay at the venue the night before to ensure that, at least I, will be on time. I love my dress (more on that later) so much that, if David is so late that the registrar starts getting pissy, I will marry one of the guests. 

Anyway we dash up the stairs to the 2nd floor of the LM Centre and I breathlessly announce that I have (had) an appointment at 10.30am.

The receptionist asks us to take a seat so we do. I look at the other people waiting and I know that some of them will leave with bad news today that their worlds will never quite be the same again.

I reckon I'm the youngest person there. I look (and feel) well. My skin still has a lovely post baby glow and my hair is still thick from the pregnancy hormones. I pick up a leaflet called "It's Cancer. You're bound to have questions".

I put it down again. It's not cancer and I don't have any questions.

A few minutes tick past...i'm getting nervous again now...I go to the loo (they always shout for you when you're in the loo). They didn't. A few more minutes drag by then a nurse shouts my name and....this is it. David grabs my hand and the nurse leads us down a corridor to a room with a bed, a computer and 2 chairs. She asks me to strip to the waist and put on a gown.

Hang on a minute, I think, this is a curved ball. I consider saying "No" and that I want to hear my results in my own clothes but then realise it doesn't really matter and I get into the gown. I sit on the bed and David sits next to me. We play Eye Spy, we play a word game he makes up. I'm starting to go slightly stir crazy when a consultant arrives with another woman who is not introduced.

David takes a seat and I stay on the bed as the consultant asks me about the abscess and examines the offending breast. She then takes a seat and says "we've established the extent of the abscess and can treat that with anti-biotics. The area underneath we have found some early cancer cells"

She said something else but I don't hear it. I stare, unblinking. I can see David in my peripheral vision but I can't look at him. I will fall apart. Right here on this stupid bed, in this stupid gown. I want to put my own clothes back on. I want to run out. Back past the hobblers, past the smokers, back to the sanctity of the car. I want my boys. 

She says again it is "very early cancer". She introduces the other woman in the room. She is called Jean and she is a Macmillan Cancer Nurse. I look at her. I have a cancer nurse. I look at David and, as expected, the tears come. And how. 

The consultant and Jean give us a few minutes so that i can get dressed. David hugs me like he will never let go and I say "I have cancer". 

"I know" he says. And we stay like that for a full minute.

Jean and the consultant come back in and I feel strangely calm. I need to listen this time I think. I have to know how to fight this.

The consultant gives my early cancer a name. It is called DCIS. I'll google that to death later I think. She says the results came as a surprise to them and that they were not expecting to find any cancer. That does not make me feel any better. Why oh why must I defy these odds and yet I can't win the lottery? I vow to buy a ticket for that nights EuroMillions draw in the WH Smith's at the hospital.

She says there are more tests to be done, that they are as certain as they can be that it is all DCIS, and therefore not invasive, but i would need more tests to be sure.

She says that a lumpectomy, which removes just the DCIS, may be an appropriate treatment or that a full mastectomy might be more effective but that those sorts of decisions could wait for another day.

"Take them both off" I say "I don't care about them. I only care about my boys"

And, with that, the tears come again.

Jean stays with us for a little while to explain DCIS in more detail. I like her a lot. I decide that if I really have to have a cancer nurse then i'm glad I have her. She gives us some more literature to take away and tells me I will need to come back the following week for more diagnostic tests.

Strangely I now don't want to leave. I don't know what I will do when I leave the hospital.

But soon we are in the lift and I am on my phone to my mum "Can you come up please (they live in Manchester). I have cancer"

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Latest comments

20.12 | 20:45

Hi Dave,
Thanks for the kind words.
I did indeed work in North Cyprus back in the day - Turkbet?
Donna

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18.12 | 11:06

Hi Donna, remarkable, uplifting and inspiring read.
Did you ever work in North Cyprus around 10 years ago?
Dave

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15.10 | 17:15

Hi Donna, you are so inspiring. I have just had my 2nd mastectomy 8 days ago out of choice, first one was 5 months earlier as small cancer found.well done you

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30.09 | 15:12

well done for finishing EPI!

I can't send a longer response on here but would like to share my experience of CMF at dvfox76@aol.com or the forum on macmillan.

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