Let’s get this clear from the start. My definition and your definition of the ‘C’ bomb may be different!
I’m not talking ‘C’ for Cancer. Oh no, I’m talking dirty. I mean really dirty. The ‘C’ bomb that no one really likes to use unless there’s absolutely no other word on this planet that could possibly convey the utter venom you need to describe a situation, or thing!
I’m talking ‘See you next Tuesday’ in very polite terms – if you get my drift!!!
After my discovery, on the Monday morning I shot down to the Doctors and thrust my boob into the hands of a lovely female G.P. She had a poke and a jiggle and confirmed she could feel a lump whilst trying her hardest to reassure me that because it ‘moved’ it probably wasn’t anything sinister. That said, owing to my family history, she referred me up to the Breast Care Unit insisting that she didn’t think I had Cancer. She instructed me to sit tight, and I would receive an appointment through the post to be seen within a couple of weeks. Now, I’m not the world’s most patient of people, but two weeks?!!
My appointment date came through for exactly two weeks to the day. I took a bestie with me to hold my hand. I hopped on to the examination table and lobbed my naturally lumpy boobs out AGAIN so the consultant could have a good feel. He lingered (not so lovingly) over my left boob, asking me if I had knocked it / hurt it / done anything out of the ordinary. I hadn’t and all I could think to say was that I had worn a new underwired sports bra whilst running. This surely must be the root cause of the drama! I was whisked off into a small room for an ultra-sound. Right boob – check! All looking good! Left boob – Hmmm. The radiologist hovered over the area of thickened tissue. I recall hearing the words ‘shadowing’, and then suddenly another radiologist appeared as if by magic from behind a curtain. They then moved the machine to under my left armpit. One of my Lymph nodes was enlarged.
Another moment of WTAF. This one swallowed me whole. Suddenly a Breast care nurse came in and started to hold my hand as needles were being introduced into the game and biopsies of my boob and lymph node began in earnest. After a few samples were taken, and a metal marker (some form of metal piece of shrapnel) was left inside my boob, I wobbled back into the consultant’s room waiting for him to come in. I mean you know don’t you, it doesn’t take a genius to work out what was going on! I remember he said to me, “Well we now need to wait two weeks for the biopsy results, but would you like me to talk to you now about treatment for Breast Cancer or shall we wait until you have your results?” Reeling from what had just happened, and while knowing the inevitable, I still couldn’t bring myself to hear the words. Not then. Not yet. It was all too much to swallow, with nothing to wash it down with!
Another two weeks later, and there it was in black and white – Diagnosis – Invasive Lobular Cancer Grade 2. One Lymph node involved. On paper. On the desk. Staring up at me.
I met immediately with the Oncologist. He threw at me my treatment plan, telling me that I would need six months of Chemotherapy, followed by Surgery, three weeks of daily Radiotherapy and Medication for what sounded like an eternity. Oh, and by the way, I wasn’t going to be able to look after my children as I was used to, I would lose all my hair, I would be very unwell and I would lose my finger nails. Now I don’t know about you, but that’s quite a lot of information for a girl to digest in one go, and without a bottle of wine to chat it over nicely with?! It was Valentine’s day after all!!
Now, I’ll be honest – the ‘C’ bomb is not a word that has ever sat comfortably with me. I have heard it so many times in different situations and really, If I heard it, I would screw my face up and hide behind a slightly opened eye cringing at just the sound of it.
Oh, how I have changed! I think I ought to put it out there. I am not an obscenity blasting wench with no decorum or consideration for others. But every so often I find a good swear word does seem to set the scene a little better than “Golly Gosh” and “Meanie Head” – they just don’t seem to cut it anymore!
A couple of nights before my diagnosis (and believing I may have to be off the alcohol for some time) I sat with one of my closest friends throwing back the red wine. There was a lot of drunken chat but one thing that came from it was the inaugural naming and shaming of what was to become my cancer. It only seemed right and proper that if something was going to take up squatter’s rights in my boob for a short period of time, then it should at least have a name. And that is where my love affair with the C bomb started! Cora the C***y Cancer! It sounded perfect! It had a ring to it. If I’m honest it reminded me of the character Cora in Eastenders, and she was a hard faced old battle axe that no one really cared for. It fit nicely. And as for the ‘See you next Tuesday’ middle name – I could spit it out with venom at the pissed off-ness of my situation while introducing a little bit of humour into the situation.
And so humour then became the name of the game. Humour, acceptance, and a huge bloody pair of big girl’s pants were going to be needed as I took an immediate sharp turn left of the highway of my life that was, and into the spaghetti junction named Cancer. With so many signposts I had never seen before, and with no control over the direction I was headed in I just had to let and try to suck up the ride!