Patricia Brown Clinic

'LIFE' Blog

'LIFE' Blog

Strawberries, Cancer and Big Macs

Posted on May 19, 2016 at 11:45 AM

It had been a few days since my CT scan and I'd heard nothing, which you think is going to be a good thing, well you hope. My asthma had flared up and the wheezing was starting, I've left my asthma before thinking it would get better, but learnt the lesson a few times the hard way that it doesn't, so I booked an appointment with the nurse, it was booked for 2:45, funny how you remember. It was a lovely sunny day and I distinctly remember sitting outside in the garden before leaving for the appointment. I didn't feel well by this point, I was tired most of the time and the waiting for results adds more stress to it. I don't think I had really thought of what if this really is cancer? I think I was already getting into the 'deal with it' frame of mind. As I was waiting in the doctors waiting room, a lady I know who had just been diagnosed with cancer walked in to the reception. I don't know what it was or why but my first thought when I saw her "it's going be me too". Then the nurse called me in, did the usual related to my asthma problems, then said the doctor wants to come in see you. This didn't sound good. When the doctor comes in and sits next to you sympathetically you know even more so that something is wrong. He explained that the CT scan had picked up a mass in the chest and that he would be referring me. But he also made clear that all my organs looked perfect so it looked like if it was cancerous, which even though it pointed too, would need further tests to confirm, the important thing was it look contained, rather than it had spread. I can only describe this as a surreal moment, you can truly think it is cancer, you can have experts telling you it likely is, but thinking it and knowing it are two totally different things.

 

 

Everyone handles this moment differently I suppose, I didn't cry hysterical, I for once didn't know what to say. You are shocked, your head is far to fuzzy for questions at this point. You don't think about yourself, your worry is other people. How would I tell my parents? The worst thing in that appointment was seeing my partners face. He said the worst part was feeling out of control, that he wanted to make it better, make it go away but not been able too. The nurse and doctor were amazing and I was told I could book an appointment with my doctor in a few days time when it had sunk in, with my parents to ask any questions. Then we left the room, it all seemed a blur walking to the car, and once in that's where we both had a little cry. We had walked in just a normal young couple with jobs, friends, families, our little furry family with our dogs and our life together, in minutes that seems all thrown upside down. All the things you are thinking of doing, places you want to go seem gone. How will you get through this? Where will it take you both? Funnily enough our plan was to call in the doctors then go Marks and Spencers to get some food for tea and some strawberries, I must of been craving them or something! In the car I remember my partner saying a few times "but we were just going to get strawberries" this is where you find the strange alien thing of cancer merging with normal life, all you want is normal life. All we wanted was to come out the doctors with a prescription, go get the strawberries and get on with normal life, but no instead cancer has barged in and took it away from you, from you all. Everything seemed a blur, I remember we were hungry and of all places ended up in Macdonalds! I went to get a table, my partner got in the queue. As I sat waiting in Macdonalds, I remember it been busy, I guess I knew what the saying of 'time standing still' meant, because in them few moments time really did seem to stop. Everything seemed hazy, the noise of people was just background noise and it really was that feeling of there been so many people around but you are on your own. My partner said he felt exactly the same, people were saying excuse me but he didn't hear, didn't hear them call our order. It was just strange, there are no other words for it, just strange. I cant remember what we talked about, if we even did talk. When we got home my partner went in the bedroom, he had held it together so well for me, but he needed that bit of time to let it out and I left him to it, he said he was phoning his parents and work, which he did but I knew he needed that time, it isn't just your 'journey' and your feelings, its the people around you too. You have to appreciate that they are going through emotional pain and anger as well. I think the hardest part for them is not having the control, they want to fix you but they cant.

 

 

That night we went to tell my parents, that was hard, really hard but actually once its out and you've all had time to take it in, I think you all start to rally round to dealing with it. You will feel all emotions, but I do think in general you go one of two ways, I think you either get emotional and angry, which is of course is totally understandable, but I would say try not to get into this, its an emotional bottomless pit and its exhausting. I know its so hard to tell you how to feel, but I can only advise that its going be a tough few months, but in way you have to help yourself out and try keep going otherwise you will just make it a longer and tougher few months. I found that I went emotionally numb right from the start, I just emotionally detached I think. I wasn't in denial, its a funny thing with the human race, that if you are constantly down people seem to get it, however if you are upbeat even in these circumstances you are in denial! I can say I was never in denial, I knew exactly the position I was in, but I just thought get on with it. All the feeling bad in the world, getting angry, this wont change the fact that you have cancer, like I say its just emotionally draining and is of no benefit to you. Also be respectful and considerate of those around you, I know this can depend on the relationships you have with those close to you already, but just respect that this is affecting them too, they aren't going through it physically, but they are emotionally and they can suffer with emotions and feeling out of control too. Just talk, communicate and let them know what you do and don't want from the start. In the early days I chose to call it a 'problem' and chemo 'treatment', like I say I wasn't in denial I just wasn't ready to wear the cancer label at this point.

 

 

As it was early days and I didn't have the definite results in I decided to not tell many people, it was just easier for everyone I felt, I think at this point only my parents and partner knew. I couldn't see the point in telling people, when I didn't know all the facts. I have to say out of the whole experience this waiting time was the worst, once you have your results even when its the 'c word' results you know what you're dealing with, you have a plan and you can get on with it. Before this its all the 'what ifs'. This is the part where you really do need to take each day at a time, you might feel low and overwhelmed but you will get past this and you will find your strength. You will also find that surprisingly normal life can go on, you may feel out of control, like you have lost your normality but adjust to the changes and you will find it again, sometimes you have to put a little effort in yourself, but it will be there. You just need to look hard enough.

Categories: Cancer and Me

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