Entry 4 - In Sickness and in Health
Updated: Nov 22, 2020
‘The couples that are meant to be, are the ones who go through everything that is designed to tear them apart, and come out stronger than before.’
My biopsy had been on a Friday afternoon, the following week, whilst at work on Monday morning I received a call from the hospital, they asked me to come in for an appointment on Wednesday.
I knew by then what I was dealing with, my intuition had told me. But to have received this call so quickly injected additional fear into me. In less than one working day I was being called back, there was no way this was going to end well.
I paused at my desk, what should I do now, do I carry on with the next 48 hours as usual? I felt tears fill my eyes and quickly headed to the ladies where I composed myself. Then I returned to my desk, stared at the screen, and couldn’t focus on what I was doing. Rak who sat next to me asked if I was ok. ‘I think so’ I replied.
After a few minutes, I turned to him and asked if he was free for a chat. We went in to a meeting room and I blurted it out. ‘I think I have cancer!’ This was certainly not a conversation he had planned to have on a dull Monday in the office, and he certainly didn’t know what to say back!
I told him about all that I had been through; he looked over and asked, ‘Why didn’t you say sooner. I would have picked up work for you so you could have some time off.’
‘I didn’t want to believe it, I replied’, but now, the results are here and I know what they will say.
He didn’t agree or disagree, he just listened. It felt good to share this burden with someone, someone who didn’t know my family, someone who didn’t carry the baggage and guilt that comes with the people we love.
After almost an hour, we returned to our desks. My team at the time were great, always ready for a joke, so they made comments as we sat down, which brought a smile to my face. I carried on as usual that day, and the day after, it was all I could do.
Wednesday came and Daddy and I went to the hospital. We sat outside the consultants’ room in silence, simply holding hands, no words needed to be said. Then came our turn, we sat down, and after the introductions were over the Dr turned to me and said,
‘Kreena, I am very sorry to say you have naughties in your breast.’
I found his decision not to use the word Cancer frustrating. Why try to dress this up in gentle words, just say it as it is. I became angry and annoyed and snapped back:
‘You mean I have breast cancer?’, silently he nodded his head.
Hindsight has taught me that the poor consultant was simply trying to ease the pain, but in that moment, all those years ago, nothing in the world could have done that for me, especially not the word naughties!’
‘I knew this is what I was here for, so it’s fine’, I continued with a strong face and stern voice. Just let me know what we are dealing with. I turned to look at Daddy for reassurance. His head was lowered and as he looked up his eyes filled with tears. In an instant my dry eyes filled and overflowed….
What had I done to us, what had I done to him, how could I possibly ease his pain?
From that day, even to today, a part of me always feels a sense of guilt, for all I have subjected him to. When we married and said, ‘In Sickness and in Health’, we NEVER imagined we would end up here … tested so soon.
The consultant went on to speak of my tumour, he advised me that it was aggressive, that there wasn’t just one, but there were two lumps in my breast. One measured 6cm, the second almost 3cm.
My mind wondered back to the GP, how did she not notice them when she examined me? By now, I could feel them myself, each time I touched my left breast a golf ball shaped object would come to my awareness. The conversation continued, ‘I’m hoping you won’t need chemotherapy. Chest wall radiotherapy and removal of your left breast is my recommended treatment plan’
I breathed a sigh of relief. That didn’t seem too bad, I would happily have the breast removed, I had no desire to keep it anymore, and radiotherapy….well that was doable – I wouldn’t have to deal with chemotherapy, I could be zapped and cut up and be done with it, how naive I was!
I advised him that I had private medical insurance and asked if that would accelerate the surgery. ‘Yes, he replied. I’ll be able to operate next week.’
With that we gathered our belongings and went into a side room with a Macmillan nurse. She talked us through the operation, advised me to read up on radiotherapy and wished us well. We were too shocked to ask any questions, we simply sat and listened, my body detached from the sound of the voices around me, Daddy’s the same.
We hadn’t told anyone about my tests to this point, and now knew that we had to share this news. I didn’t know where to start. I had spent my life being a strong, independent woman. Protecting those that I love from any hardships that came my way.
I had spent so many years watched Baa (your maternal grandmother), suffering, becuase of that I had decided to never show her my pain, to never bring sadness to her door.
How then would I tell her some of the worst news a parent could ever hear?
I decided not to, I turned to Daddy and told him that we needed to drive to Kent, and with that, we opened the car doors, got in, and drove.