Today is the day. It is 6am and I am up and ready,waiting for a lift to the hospital. I feel pumped (although a little grumpy as it is early to be fair). I am ready for this and have been waiting a long time to get this lump out. It is the start of something now, and I have been ready for it for the last two months. The car journey (with my dad) is very quiet. We have no words to deal with this. Which daddy ever wants to take his daughter into hospital to get an operation to get rid of cancer. That entire sentence doesn’t need to be in any bodies vocabulary does it? We are a traditional daddy, daughter pair and I don’t want to be the person who is bringing such pain to his heart.
7.15: At the hospital the call comes out for me and I am led through to the surgical centre by a nurse who felt like false cheer was what I needed this morning. I wasn’t buying it and my grumpus mood probably showed. I wanted to get this done, it was something I needed to do, but I didn’t need to make light of it or inane small chat with a complete stranger. (I was worse than hormonal!). What did perk me up was the fact that the first nurse swapped out and was replaced by a young nurse who had completed the Great North Run two days prior! She was walking like John Wayne and I honestly had empathy with that having done the run a few times, so my mood perked a little bit. (My little wicked self also chuckled at the first nurse having to sweetheart a colleague to deal with me as she couldn’t!!).
8.00: I’m waiting in my two hospital gowns (one front facing, one back facing – the glamour), thrombosis socks and the cheapest pair of totes socks, for the anaesthetist and consultant to come round. I’m harbouring the remnants of a cough from the cold and desperately trying hard to hide it. The anaesthetist came in first and spotted my skulduggary straight away. After a run through of the mandatory questions (how much do you drink? Not enough!!) he brought up the ‘cough’. Thankfully, after a good listen to my lungs he prescribed me well enough to have the op. I have never sighed a bigger sigh of relief. My consultant was in next and again, the limpest hand shake in the world preceded him asking me a lot of the same questions again. But he did confirm I was second up for surgery and the first one in front of me wouldn’t take long. I was on my way! I was getting a lot of messages from friends and family and to be honest time has never passed so fast. I was welcome for the distraction, and in no time I was being called to have a walk by the tallest female I have ever had to walk alongside in my life. I’m little, but she made me feel tiny!
9.15: I was walked along a maze of corridors. Medical equipment and beds lying all over the place, the bowels of the hospital, all the while in the fetching gowns and totes until I entered the outer chamber of the surgical room (I’d imagine there is a proper term for that) where I would be put to sleep. The female nurse who walked me along was lovely and didn’t try to over chatter which considering my mood by that point was a blessing. As I laid on my back, staring at the minute hand of the clock ticking round I breathed deeply waiting for the sleep to come and knowing that when I came round I would be ‘cancer’ free. The lump would be out.
12.30: I was back in the surgical ward pod, and blubbing. Why do I always wake up from anaesthetic blubbing?! It wasn’t even because I was aware of anything at that point, it just appears to be my thing! The poor nurse was still struggling with the act of walking. My blubbing didn’t help her day!! I haven’t cried a single tear about this whole craziness, not one. And I knew this would be the first tear I cried as it appears I am making this my thing. But it still annoyed me that it was involuntary and I didn’t want to yet. This damn cancer wasn’t going to make me cry.
The next thing I knew, as time flew by quickly, I was getting picked up after a cup of coffee and an Hovis biscuit (gone are the slices of toast!). All I knew was my armpit, boob and arm were all in agony. I had a brief look and the plaster was over half of my armpit hair. That was going to feel like a pretty wax when it got taken off. I made it home, entertained the parentals for an hour so they could check I was still alive, then went to bed from 3pm to 7pm. I woke up in terror that I hadn’t said goodnight to my baby (she was at the parentals for the night). Reassured that I hadn’t missed it, I rang and had a lovely crazy chat that involved a lot of questions by me, unanswered by her and requests for me to sing Edeilby (Edelweiss from Sound of Music!) over the phone. I’ve never been so happy.
That night though I finally have the realisation that the Cancer is out!! I might feel battered. But I am relieved, the Cancer IS OUT! I know its only the start of a journey, but by god it feels good that the actual pesky cancer lump is out of my body. Its extremely psychologically positive and I am going to hold onto this feeling for a while…