Wednesday, 27 February 2013
Firstly, even though a visit to this poor neglected blog has been long overdue, I'd like to wish you all a very belated happy new year. Yes, I know that we're almost in March already. Yes I know. And for all I really know, I could well be addressing an audience of only, well, er myself. But the beauty of the blogosphere is never knowing whether you're really writing posts to ease some discomfort or tension within yourself or possibly touching the heart and soul of a stranger thousands of miles away. So even though I may no longer have an audience, let us pretend for this moment that I do. Since my last visit I have been through Christmas (way too much cake and turkey) and a new year that saw me temporarily become a single mom for a month while my partner worked his way through each state of America photographing people and places there. Oh, and I had a scan. I don't use this word lightly. My bouts of scananxiety have been well documented in the past. But the preparation of a scan, when i know that I'll have to mentally and physically prepare my body to receive possibly the worst news of the year so far, never gets easier. My heart still palpitates and my imagination runs wild. Fight or flight is what they called it when we were roaming the savannahs. Only this time there's nowhere to run to.
This time round things were more complex. After a failed attempt which happened to take place on my birthday, I finally got a scan. Previous to this, I was told that the clinic didn't have a referral letter from my doctor and I had approximately ten minutes to get them to fax it over or that nasty radioactive stuff that they pump into you to see where those sneaky c-cells might be hiding out, would run out. Well, as you can imagine, I perspired my way through the next few minutes, desperately trying to contact someone, anyone, who could help. When the letter finally arrived... it wasn't enough for them to go on and I left the clinic a shaken and traumatised woman who had abstained from a hearty breakfast (rules is rules) and was now badly in need of some caffeine. My birthday, on a lighter note, went swimmingly well. I celebrated all 44 years (which felt more like 24) on this planet with my two favourite human beings. We had lunch, an exhibition, cocktails (juice for the toddler !) and cake and then it was back home for a warming meal and a night in front of the telly. Bliss ! The following night I threw on a little red dress, met a couple of friends and went to a private members' club for dinner. We all drank far too much wine and spent way too much money and it felt great.
But back to the scan. After a few nights of imagining the very worst case scenarios and thinking that every ache and pain that I felt in my needle punctured body was indeed a recurrence, i was surprised - no absolutely quietly ecstatic - to find out that the scan was a good one. No change since the last scan (which is good news, believe me) and some of the possible areas of concern (like the suspicious spot that had previously lit up in my lung - which turned out to be a mild case of pneumonia) had resolved itself. How does it feel to be so relieved that you can't quite bring yourself to celebrate ? Well, it wasn't so hard to force myself to guzzle down a glass of the finest red wine I could find. Nor was it hard to eat the gooey slab of chocolate cake that evening that a colleague had given me at work. So, it was a reprieve for another three months until I have to face it all over again. The new normal of being a metastatic breast cancer patient should be renamed 'the new surreal'. It would be a hell of a lot more honest and even though this term might sound like a new catwalk trend, well you never know, it just might catch on.