But I digress. Despite the overly simplistic 'I was sick and now I'm cured' tone, the good thing about the programme was the attitude of the patients at the Marsden Hospital. Some looked so relaxed that you'd have thought they were waiting for cough mixture. Even though everyone talked about how nerve-racking it was to await scan results, most of them seem to accept their condition with grace. None of them looked like me. They didn't have the anxious, drained, paranoid expression that seems to accompany me before, during and after each Pet/CT scan. They didn't look as if they experienced the nightmare 'what if' scenarios that assemble in my mind in the early hours of the morn when most of you are still sleeping. Instead of making me feel inadequate, I felt inspired by their dignity and vowed that on the day when I arrived at the hospital to hear news of my fate, that I too would have the courage to keep my composure.
But hey, this is real life and this is me that we're talking about. Unfortunately, I don't do dignified. Unfortunately, I just don't have the patience. As soon as I saw one of my team of doctors appear after only 5 minutes of me waiting (why did she appear so quickly ?) after the very brief how do you do's, I began to cross-examine her. 'Had she received my results ? what were they like ? why not ?' I have to admit that I barely gave the woman time to return to her consulting room before I began firing questions at her like a prosecutor in court. She actually had no idea and went off to investigate further. Returning with a piece of paper, we went through the results. As she read out the findings to me, I realised that she may as well have been speaking a foreign language. There were lots of references to uptakes and FDAs ??? and non-Fdas and suchlike. So much so, that by the end, I was no wiser. Had my cancer returned ? was there no change or had my body improved ? She told me that it was a good result. My own consultant had just confirmed this, she said. I guess I was expecting to see a piece of paper with just four words written in the middle: 'NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE'.
But, she reassured me that the scan was good. And while I sat outside waiting for a blood test, I was relieved to see my consultant walking down the corridor who also confirmed that the results were indeed good. There had been no significant changes, and as she was grinning from ear to ear while she said this which I can only take to interpret that to mean that it must be good news. So it seems as though once again I live to fight another day. To be honest, I'm still not sure whether there is cancer in my body or not after reading those results, but if they're good enough for my doc, then they're good enough for me too. As I left the hospital, both smiling and shaken at the same time, I thought about a quote that I'd seen in a newspaper article about metastatic breast cancer. One woman described her primary diagnosis as a 'sprint' and her secondaries as a 'marathon'. But I disagree. To me, it's like hurdles. You jump over one, freestyle your way through life again and no sooner do things get back into rhythm, there's another hurdle waiting for you once more. But on that day - the day of my scan results, I made a toast to Life in all its weird, wonderful, worrisome, scary and surprising guises. I bought some red wine, coffee and teacakes to celebrate (bang goes my caffeine-free, sugar-free, alcohol-free diet again...) my leaping over another hurdle in my never-ending race to stay ahead of the game.