Wednesday, 16 November 2011
The Waiting Game (Again)...
Apologies for my absence of late, but I've been a bit busy trying to juggle a well-needed break in the Canary Islands with baby A's new sleep patterns (which involve him waking me up in the early hours of the morn by banging his head against the cot in a worrying fashion - and then laughing when he realises that his trick has worked !).
I know, I know. I have plenty to write, plenty to catch up with. Plenty to tell you.
But first of all, let's start with my own situation. I'm currently experiencing another bout of scanxiety. And this time it's warranted. Just after my return from gloriously sunny Lanzarote, I had a CT/Pet scan done at Harley Street hospital. I always get a big jittery before scans but this time, and for reasons unknown, I was feeling very scared. Symptomically speaking, apart from a few aches and pains which I've put down to the trauma of the year's chemo and surgery marathon, I feel ok. I make sure I walk regularly and I eat very, very well. But the tightness and tenderness in my mastectomy side of my body is still around which has always bothered me.
So, while I'm lying in the room after having had a cannula put in and given a dosage of the radioactive stuff, I'm listening to some chill out music and I'm trying hard to chill out but mind starts to play the 'what if ?' game. We're all familiar with this anxiety-ridden pastime which usually occurs when there's something that we're uncomfortable with or more accurately, scares the living daylights out of us. And that's when our mind takes over the rest of our body and really starts to go out of control. 'What if it's back ? What if it's widespread ? What if it doesn't respond to treatment ? What if it kills me before I really get the chance to start living again ?' The 'it' dear reader, surely needs no introduction. And as much as I hate to brood on things that are out of my control, this neurotic way of thinking has a way of sweeping me up at times.
So by the time I reach the scan room, my stomach is in knots. I look for clues in the speed in which my body moves through the chamber. This time it seems uncharacteristically slow. I look for clues in the way that the technician asks me when I'm due to see my doctor. I scan her face for expressions of sympathy or concern, but I find just an unreadable smile. So, the next day when I've calmed down a little and am thinking of the herceptin dose that I need to be given tomorrow (which is in fact today), I decide to call my doctor's secretary to see if she's had the scan results back as yet. I leave a message on her answerphone and I get a pretty damn quick and urgent call back. Her sec tells me that she needs to see me tomorrow night. I tell her that I'm due to have herceptin in the morning and will have to wait around in the hospital all day. I ask her if there's anything wrong. I call my doctor but she's not picking up. I leave a message asking her to call me. She doesn't. Her sec calls back. She's spoken to her and my herceptin has been rearranged for the afternoon. She'll try to come in as soon as she's finished her NHS clinic. I ask her again, if there's anything wrong. All she tells me is that there is something that is 'not quite right' with the scan. I wonder if she realises how long I'll hold these three words in my mind, circulating them around my head like marbles. I call my partner and tell him verbatim what has been said. He comes home straight away. I call my sister and ask if she can babysit the following day. But the words cannot come out. They won't come out. So instead I dissolve into tears. I tell my partner that I can't go through this again, so soon. I've barely recovered from the op. My fingertips are still tingling from the taxotere. My hair is still well, barely there. He hugs me. They are both so positive. They talk about false positives, inflammation and scar tissue. Maybe it's nothing at all. I reply that I know my doctor well enough by now. I know that she wouldn't give me reason to worry unnecessarily unless she had to. I also know how much she hates to be the bearer of bad news. It would be unethical to give me such bad news over the phone.
So there you have it. I'd love to tell you all about my hols and how we almost didn't make it due to me leaving the passports on the train (chemo brain strikes again...!), I'd also love to tell you about the current state of my hair and how interesting I'm finding it when I'm sometimes mistaken for a young black man, but... everything's on pause until I sort this mess out. Please think of me, or better still pray, chant or do a rain dance for me. It could be something, I hope it's nothing. But I'll keep you posted. For sure.