I have read a lot about scanxiety and now know through experience that it is so real. The wait between my latest CT scan and the results day was filled with so much emotion and anxiety. A part of me didn’t want to let myself think or hope that everything was going to be ok. I didn’t want to be let down.
The day finally came so Ash and I went to meet our friend Sophie at The Christie. As we sat in the waiting room there was nothing except laughter and happy chatter from the three of us – a feeling I definitely didn’t expect to have based on how I felt last time I was sat in that same waiting room.
The consultant I saw seemed so indifferent to me and the whole appointment with him was bizarre! He rushed the news of my clear CT scan and seemed more interested in any questions I had for him. I didn’t feel like I had much faith in him after he told me that he was certain I hadn’t had an ovary removed (I have since double checked and I am definitely one ovary down!). All of that aside, all I really cared about was hearing my fate and I sat there trying to read my notes as they sat on his lap. On hearing the news I was CANCER FREE I felt a sudden rush of relief and I could taste the celebratory champagne!
I immediately felt like I had my life back and I forgot for a while about all the struggles I am still facing because the joy I felt wiped all of them away – for a few moments I was just me again.
The feeling I had as we walked out of the doctors’ room is indescribable. I was so happy and I kept saying those words out loud – ‘I’m so happy!!’ I was almost too shocked to say much else. I had no idea cancer could turn out the way it did for me, the only stories we tend to see and read are those of despair, sadness and death. My journey has been difficult, but I have done the worst bit now, I have kicked cancers arse (!!!!) and I hope that people seek comfort in knowing that just because you are diagnosed with cancer it doesn’t always mean that the end of your life is just around the corner.
I celebrated over coffee with Ash and Sophie in the hospital restaurant, again with Ash when we got home and again with some of my family that night. If someone had said that less than four months after finding out I had a cancerous growth that I’d be sat drinking champagne (with a full head of hair) after receiving the all clear – well I would never have believed them!!
It still doesn’t seem real to me that I’m cancer free and that I don’t need any further treatment. I know that I have overcome ‘the beast’ as I now call it and I am so happy and relieved that it’s gone but I still struggle daily with different things that crop up and reality hits – popping my happy bubble once again.
I cry at least once a day to the point I can’t breathe and more often than not it is over something small and insignificant. For example: I cry at Desperate Housewives, yesterday I cried because I had to rip a pair of my leggings down the front because they hurt my tummy and my scar and – this is my favourite reason to date – last week I cried because I took a bite out of a doughnut I had just given to Ash and all he said to me was ‘you could have waited until I was ready to eat it because all the sauce has run out of it now’. These silly things then result in me having lengthy meltdowns because actually I’m not sad about a pair of leggings or a doughnut or a TV programme, I’m sad about the fact I’m fed up because I’m still in pain, my brain is tired and I am still so full of terror and shock.
I want to be completely fine again and back to my normal self but there is so much I still need to get over emotionally, mentally and physically and there are no rules about how long it will take.
As well as all the tears and the good news I have recently experienced, I find myself feeling a bit guilty. A part of me feels guilty that I have come out of the other side of cancer seemingly unscathed and I find myself worrying that people think I am milking it for all it’s worth – which of cause is a load of crap, but I do, I feel almost ashamed that I have been so lucky compared with some people.
I have to remind myself that although cancer didn’t take my hair or any of my external body parts, cancer has changed my life, it has changed me as a person, changed my body on the inside and changed my ‘normal’ mind!
Cancer doesn’t just disappear on hearing good news, you have to pick up all the shattered pieces of your life and try and piece them back together again – which is made a lot more difficult when a lot of the pieces just don’t fit anymore.
I can’t think about my future past the next scan which is now less than three months away. Whether or not this changes in time I don’t know, but for now this is how I cope. I didn’t know cancer was in my future and even if I had done I wouldn’t have been able to stop it from trampling all over my life– as hard as I would have tried! So sometimes I think it’s ok to not look too far ahead because really what difference does it make anyway?! Enjoy what you have at the exact moment you have it because you never know what’s around the corner.
‘Even when you think you have your life all mapped out, things happen that shape your destiny in ways you might never have imagined.’ – Deepak Chopra