In the Easter holidays I had a mole removed from my back. Not for the first time. No-one was particularly worried. Not my GP, nor the consultant at the hospital. I was told I would get a letter in about 6 weeks with my results. Fine. Sorted. Finished.
Fast forward to 14 days later (the day the stitches came out) and I get a phone call out of the blue saying could I come to the hospital TOMORROW at midday to discuss my results?
So now what? Do you:
- Cry (on your poor unsuspecting friend who is visiting)?
- Phone your Mum?
- Phone your husband?
- Think that you have cancer?
I did all of the above although not in that particular order.
Then followed 18 hrs of mental torture with this never-ending cycle of thoughts ranging from the bleakest through to the embarrassingly hopeful:
- It must be really aggressive to have got the results so quickly.
- Maybe the results are inconclusive?
- Imagine me without hair.
- Think how much you love your children and how you must treasure every minute with them and not get cross and shout at them.
- Can I be as strong as I need to be?
- The mole has gone – it will be fine.
- How will we manage without me working?
- Why me and my family again?
- I was just getting everything sorted.
- What about my children – what will happen to them now both parents have had skin cancer?
- It must have spread.
- I don’t feel ill?
- Should I make an appointment with my GP ready for when the stress got on top of me and the depression hit?
- I HAVE CANCER!
I slept quite well that night. Surprisingly.
As I do I hid on the morning of the appointment. Didn’t drop the children off at school and cancelled running with a friend. I couldn’t cope with people and having to put on a show. I was far too tearful. Even a fairly innocuous text from my friend made me cry!
So I went for a run. On my own. Out in the middle of nowhere. As far away from people as possible. Into the countryside. Loved it. Felt strong. Felt alive.
As I headed back towards home I felt everything closing in on me. The pressure, the stress, the unknown, the worry.
Once showered I chose to wear clothes that I felt nice in. Not sure why really. Suppose I needed the boost.
On the way to the hospital I was remarkably calm. My friend had made sure that I had plenty of ‘easy’ knitting to do whilst waiting. (Bless her, she is the BEST) Even so I was very serene. No sweaty palms and most amazingly of all, I could concentrate on the knitting. My husband was not so lucky. He had been through it before and needed to know the details. I was a bit naive, expecting it to be terrible or ok-ish. He knew more.
Of course we had to wait a fair while but, for me that was fine. When we were finally called the consultant was lovely. She confirmed that yes it was melanoma, (a surprise to even her!) but that it was ‘the best sort’. It was mainly on the surface and had not started to go any deeper so really this was the start – and the end!
So there we are:
the best bad news you can have!