Tuesday 4th March
Today at 12.30 I found out I had cancer. Oh how I wish it could be yesterday again. As my friend TCP says “Well that’s a bit shit.”
Practical things leap into my head. It’s the state of fight mode I went into after mum died. That’s how it feels.
I keep thinking how much I’d prefer it not to be this way.
Life can change on the roll of a dice, the flip of a coin – we all know this, all think we know this.
Then it actually goes and does.
You find yourself thinking “If it could only be an hour ago, two hours, a day ago, a week, a month, back when my biggest concerns were the regular, every day, garden variety worries of before. If only I’d missed the call, not responded to the text – I’d have had an another few hours of blissful ignorance. If I could just unlearn this piece of shit news. I would take more notice of what life felt like prior. Maybe I wouldn’t take timeout to smell the roses, maybe it would just be a work day morning like all those that came before, but I could try and capture how it felt, the not knowing”
You will think this on the drive to the hospital, where your brain is desperately trying to convince you that you misheard, or misremembered the news.
You will think this as you look out of the window, while MBS is explaining that sorry but you did hear correctly. Burt is not benign (MBS will not call him Burt), that he is a 17mm malignant tumour, Grade 3 of 3*. That tests will need to begin now.
You will mostly certainly be thinking it when you meet Breast Care Nurse 1 (BCN1) and subsequently create the black list**. You will think this as she fumbles her way through an explanation of treatments and fertility.
As you drive home.
As you begin to tell people.
There will be relief, numb relief, as Liam Neeson smashes his way through a middle of the road movie.
You will go to work the next day, where everything is different but nothing has changed.
You will wake up each morning, the sky won’t have fallen down and you will get out of bed, put one foot in front of the other. You will still worry about the little worries of life, be happy, be angry because this is now your new normal and slowly you will forget how it felt before.
The human brain is phenomenally good at rewiring, at surviving – at fight mode.
But then, when you least expect it, you will crash.
Please bare with me reader because just at the moment, just for a little bit, I have spectacularly lost my sense of humour. I think ! walked out of the room marked ‘Shock’ and in to the Red Painted Room of Anger and Pain. You had better believe I slammed that door shut too.
* Burt is quite small and he got down graded to 2 (champagne all round)
** Explanation to follow.