Not the best year of my life … continued

I woke up feeling better.

The pain in my upper left back seems to have subsided at last. I had assumed it was a muscle strain from playing softball but it was hanging around for a lot longer that it should, making me think it too was cancer.

I guess I’ll find out tomorrow.

I drove into work to get my laptop so I could work from home for the next couple of days. It was odd seeing the people there, buzzing around their normal days in their cancer-free bodies.

Everything looked slightly different, like I had a filter in front of my eyes. The world felt a bit further way, and the sounds echoed more, as if I’d moved into an extra dimension that only I knew about.

I was going to be in and out of work for the next couple of days, and would be quite distracted, so I sent a couple of emails to tell people I’d be available on and off until Wednesday. My boss smelled a rat and said as much in her reply, and so I decided to level with her so she could think about how it might impact my commitments over the following weeks.

Continue reading “Not the best year of my life … continued”

Getting a cancer diagnosis

They say the day you get the diagnosis is the day the bottom falls out of your world, but that didn’t happen to me.

It didn’t feel like I’d fallen off a cliff edge, into a sickly battle for my very survival; it felt like I’d been handed a memo containing a useful piece of information.

This was probably more due to the skill of the doctor rather than my stoic emotional control. She was warm, but also professional and precise, so much so that I didn’t feel anything other than gratitude for her having found it, and curiosity about what happens next.

“We found a tumour,” she said, debriefing me on the colonoscopy results.

“A tumour?” I answered, impressively calm, “Do we know if it’s benign or malignant?” expecting her to say that she didn’t know and that they would need to do a biopsy.

“I’m pretty certain it’s malignant, although of course we’ll need to check”

I nodded as she explained the next two tests they needed to do, and then how my treatment protocol would be decided.

“We meet on Thursdays,” she explained, “we have a board of doctors who decide. It’s most likely to be radiotherapy at first, maybe some chemo, so we can shrink it before we attempt surgery”

I nodded and thought it all sounded like a bit of a bother, but nothing I couldn’t handle.

As we left the Doctor’s office I had said the word “cancer” out loud, just to see if it broke the spell, but I still felt calm. I joked that I had the bad luck to get cancer of the arse, not a cool manly cancer like cancer of the muscles, or cancer of the chiselled brow – no, I get a tumour up my rectum.

If there was one thing I was going to do during this whole cancer debacle, it was to try to handle it in the sort of way that people would talk about with awe afterwards. They’d say things like “he never lost his sense of humour” and perhaps even use the word “brave”, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Continue reading “Getting a cancer diagnosis”