I’m making the clackity noise again. I’m rattling the keys of my minimalist keyboard and sitting in front of a nice big monitor and really really trying to recall the biggest moment of my life.
I suppose some sort of dramatic music should be playing at this point. I’ll wait while you go ahead and play some, or imagine some in your head, or whatever. I’ll keep making the clackity noise while I wait.
I suppose I could reel off stories of my past, and the dramatic bits and all that jazz, but in truth I have only one that I really remember. The day I was told I had cancer.
Please note that the word is ‘had’, not ‘have’. I had cancer. I don’t have it anymore. I’m one of the lucky ones, if having a form of cancer that is eminently treatable and curable and only needs four months of chemo and some surgery can be viewed as lucky.
I’ll bore you to death with the stories of how difficult these posts are to write, but they are true. Quite why, I don’t know, but they are difficult to get down out of my head and onto the glowing pixels in a little window on my monitor. I think one of the reasons that it’s so hard is because I’m a truly awful typist, and I keep misspelling words and having to go back and correct them all the time, which frankly is a pain in the backside.
So, clackity, clackity, I was told on valentines day in 2011 that I had testicular cancer, and not only was it in my testicle but the little swine had been on holiday up my lymph node system and had decided on establishing a little pied a terre in the lymph nodes in my back. I can’t recall the exact name of the place at the moment, but a wikipedia link will tell you all that you want to know and probably too much.
I could go on in a suitably Mills and Boon soft focus way about the moment, and the emotionally charged feeling and all the adrenaline in my system that was triggered by the dumb lizard brain that thought a fight or flight reaction was a good way to try and flee the thing that was growing inside me, but that wouldn’t do the moment justice. I was scared. Really fucking scared. Sorry for the swears, kids, but I was fucking terrified and thought I was going to die. There’s just no other way to put it.
Lisa and I clung to each other like we were on the deck of the Titanic and the band was still playing while any foundation we had was slipping and sliding away underneath us.
That, for me, lasted about a minute. Then, like a TV gaining focus when it’s been banged on the side or sworn at, the dull beige colours of the ward I was in snapped back into focus, the clearly thinking part of my mind got its’ shit together, and we started asking questions.
The speed at which I was whipped off the ward and into chemo belies the stories you may hear about the failings of the NHS – within two days I was in Mount Vernon Cancer Centre and chemotherapy was underway. The only reason it took two whole days was because of some complicated surgery stuff which is too boring to go into here.
So, in summary for the tl;dr crowd: Once my pain started getting worse, I was in hospital straight away. I had lots of scans and blood tests, then told I had cancer. Two days later, I was in a dedicated treatment centre and on chemotherapy.
Cancer may seem scary when you’re told you have it, but once the healthcare system starts rolling, you just cling on for the ride.