.....is apparently a scary place to be. If you've spent 2 weeks with your head in the sand like me, anyway.
So far I've had 3 trips to hospital this week.
Monday - Orthotics (for a new false boob fitting)
Tuesday - CT scan of chest and abdomen
Wednesday - Oncology
Monday was easy peasy, all running to time, got to go back in 2-3 weeks for another fitting if the size I need has arrived as nothing in stock.
Tuesday, was okay but a bit scary. Amazing machine and in some ways quite fascinating. Had to drink a litre of something vile tasting which helps the Doctors see what they need to see, got semi-disrobed and had a cannula put in so they could put the contrast/dye in for the actual scan. This had some really weird side affects - I am incredibly glad they told me about them before we started!
For some season, the injection of the dye makes you feel like you have wet yourself - a really odd hot feeling, which rather unnerved me shall we say! (CLENCH). I also got a huge hot flush and funny metallic taste in my mouth which was slightly easier to deal with. None of these feelings lasted for more than 2mins, but wow. Weird.
All ran to time though, despite it being an incredibly busy unit. Lovely staff as usual.
Wednesday, and time to meet my Oncologist. It's another big department, and although I was trying to be bright and breezy I didn't pull it off all the way through. For the first time, I've actually been confronted with the reality of Chemo and the potential side effects, not to mention (and I hope this doesn't sound as awful as it feels), the amount of people I saw that actually look ill. I don't feel like one of them, and I don't want to be one of them either.
My oncologist make take a while to get used to - he isn't as naturally upbeat as my lovely surgeon. I had a sort of "pop quiz" when I first went in, asking me about what I had had done, checking that I knew what grades my cancer is, checking I understood about the seriousness of my lymph nodes being positive (3 of 16) ..... you get the drift. I know that it must be very useful for him to know what my level of understanding is, but the questions over whether I knew why I was being offered chemo, and whether I thought it was the right thing to do etc did throw me.
Anyway, we got along well enough. I didn't have to ask whether I could be fitted with a Port - he took one look at the veins on the back of my hand and asked whether I would object to having one fitted. Phew. I know that some people have to fight to get them put in, and spend ages trying to get veins more visible for cannula insertion, so this was a big relief. I won't lie - I don't like the idea of it being in me, but I can see how it might be a godsend once it is in there.
The other "entertaining" bit of advice was that if my children or husband become poorly, I should keep my distance as much as possible..... erm okay. I can understand that if the children get something nasty and infectious (although they have already had chicken pox which is the only thing I can think of right now) that I should stay away, but common colds? I don't see how it is possible.
Oh yes, and the emergency card with the list of chemo related side affects that they recommend a telephone call to the department for. That's fun to read too.
It's weird isn't it. I don't feel ill, but potentially I am ill, or at least, the medicine has the potential to make me ill.
Suddenly it is all very serious. Again. I'm finding it harder to laugh it off.
I won't lie, I'm worried about getting the CT scan results, and about the bone scan that I have booked for Monday night. They are just routine appointments, for staging the disease, but I'm just keeping my fingers and toes tightly crossed that they don't find anything else.
I don't know if I caught my lump early. I have no idea how long it had been there. It's a bit embarrassing really - how could I not have noticed sooner? What damage have I let happen in the meantime, how far has it spread via my lymphatic system?
I went on the Younger Women's Group facebook page tonight, which is a group set up by local ladies under 50yrs of age with Breast Cancer. In the short section I looked at on facebook, there were no less than 3 deaths reported - all under 45, in the few months. The most recent was a lady of 27yrs, whose cancer had spread to her chest wall, arm, and lining of her lung. Shit. She was 7 yrs younger than me. Poor girl.
I'm sad to say I never met the lady in question, Rachel, but it sounds like she was amazing - she raised a lot of money for various cancer charities in Norfolk and carried the Olympic torch this summer too.
Cancer is such a vile, sneaking, cheating disease. It isn't honest. There's nothing tangible that you can fight against. The only real option is the surgery, the medicines, and the radiotherapy, and I don't want them. Not really. But then I don't intend to bloody die yet either.
Argh. Melodramatic much.
Dark thoughts for a Friday night. For any night.
I just need to keep focused on starting Chemo, and on starting stage two of the battle, and keeping a positive mental attitude.