I get another one of those early morning calls from the Prof. They always unnerve me. I never know quite what to expect so early in the morning. The pathology results are in. And, apparently, they’re “extraordinary.” Apparently, I have a form of Papillary Cancer that is usually only found in children and is really rare in adults! Great! So now I have kiddies Cancer!
He tells me that most cancers form lumps or tumours but this type is made up of little strands that in my case have formed over the Thyroid. Hmmm. There was also Cancer in some of the Lymph nodes but he’d been expecting that. So had I. Anyway, to cut a long story short, he assures me that despite the pathology the prognosis remains “excellent.” That sounds good so I’ll take his word on it.
Even though the news is not bad, on the contrary, under the circumstances, it’s really quite good, the news unsettles me somewhat and I feel suddenly heavy and overcome by the whole Cancer thing. I know this is purely psychological. But it just feels like a black dog is following me around all morning after I get that phone call from the doctor. Apart from the kiddies cancer bit, nothing is a real surprise, we knew there was Cancer in the thyroid and in the lymph nodes but hearing the news and the pathology seems so final. Like a life sentence. I focus all my energy on all the negative parts of the conversation and don’t allow myself to dwell on the excellent prognosis. Because,I don’t want to be extraordinary. I don’t want to have Cancer. I just want things to be like they were before. BC. Before Cancer. I feel tainted by this Cancer and violated that it has entered my body without my consent. Moreover, I feel that it’s a label I have to live with forever. Cancer patient. Cancer survivor. I feel like I’m always going to be followed around by a big black Cancer shadow. And, I just want it to go away.
You know, in hindsight, I see that harbouring such negativity is quite frankly exhausting! It drains you. It’s so much easier to look at things on the flip side and find a positive. For a start, when you find something good in a bad situation, you can give yourself a pat on the back, and say “hey, well done you, that’s pretty perceptive!” Not to mention, you can revel and bask in your new positive knowledge and the focus on the positive outcome you have discovered. However today, I just cant see the flip side. I want to but I can’t. So I wallow in my own self pity instead. Not a very constructive use of my energy at all.
I meet my friend Nicky who is also a GP. It is good to see her. Even though, I bend her ear well out of shape! Still, it is good speaking to her because she’s honest (as my friend) but also very knowledgeable and pragmatic (as a doctor,) and I really respect her medical and personal opinions. I do feel a whole lot better after seeing her. Plus, there’s something quite therapeutic about being a lady that lunches!
Later that afternoon, after my nana nap, there’s a delivery. It’s the most beautiful arrangement of bright yellow roses that are the floral equivalent of a floral ray of sunshine. They’re stunning and they’re from my friend Tracey, who is actually on holiday in New York at this very moment. I’m thrilled with the flowers and incredibly touched.
I also recognise that there’s a pattern emerging. I’m at my most negative when I don’t know what’s going on. Knowledge really is power. I just have to hang in there because next week I’ll see the Prof, Anne the Endo, my lovely GP and the nuclear medicine team who will be responsible for my follow up treatment and then, everything will become clear. The black dog that’s following me around isn’t Cancer. It’s just t my fear of the unknown.