Chocolate for memory and revisiting the past (Part 1)

Alone, Anger, Angry, Cancer, Diagnosis, Fear, Forgetfulness, Helplessness, Hospital, Memory issues, Revisiting the past, Triggered by trauma, Unfairness

Well it has turned into a funny week. No major events, slightly quieter business wise this week but nothing else specific. I have had a few (apologies) gynaecological issues again which have repeated a pattern from last year where I ended up having a myriad of tests, scans, examinations, ultrasounds and an endometrial biopsy. It was a very upsetting, stressful time for me resulting in having general anaesthesia to remove a fibroid and polyps from my uterus. My memory, or more like lack of it is rubbish. I am having one of those weeks that for me are usually affected by a stressful event or of doing too much. Neither of these are happening however I am forgetting things a lot more. I literally just drove to the wrong village. Luckily only five minutes between them however I was like “Sophie, where are you going?”. This is a new one for me as I have never written (in public) about medical issues. I am being so much more open and honest with how I am feeling, very honest in fact. Its a new feeling but it feels nice. It feels safe. It feels real so I am just going with it.

I had different bloods done yesterday and my doctor has referred me for an ultrasound to check all is working as it should. When it comes to checks and doctors, nothing of interest however when you throw in further tests and ultrasounds I have often been triggered into a mass of emotion and at times sheer panic. I don’t feel any panic as I do not feel there is anything sinister happening in my body (I really believe that) however it obviously does bring some things up or I guess I would not be sat here writing about this. About thirteen years ago following a lot of different tests, xrays and scans I went to a hospital appointment and was told there and then that they thought I had cancer. They told me that they thought I had Hodgkins Lyphoma and that although cancer, it was supposed to be one of the better cancers to have. I don’t think the latter part entered my mind, all I heard was cancer.

I received a myriad of information and within no time I was signing a consent form to be put to sleep for a biopsy in a few days. I was in shock and I was on my own. I rang my then husband crying my eyes out saying “they think Ive got cancer”. I didn’t really know what to do right then and there and we went to my mum and dads where my mum and brother were. We told them what the hospital had said, they obviously freaked out and my husband left me and went back to work. This latter point I will talk about in more detail in another blog as it is very relevant in how I view the world and the people that I now need by my side in the world.

Everything happened so quickly and I think within a few days I arrived at Blackburn Royal Hospital for my biopsy. I remember the early morning arrival like it was yesterday. We went into the tv room to wait, Everybody Loves Raymond was on tv. A gentleman asked me what I was in for. When I told him I was having a biopsy, he said something like “they don’t think you have cancer do they?” and I said yes. This man who I had never met was visibly upset. He did not cry however I could see the emotion in his eyes. I felt in that moment that this stranger really cared about me and it was nice and scary at the same time as it just emphasised the seriousness of the day.

I remember being in the operating room and a few doctors feeling around the lump I had near my clavicle and saying that he thought it was probably just my thyroid. He sounded like he was minimising. I don’t know if it was intentional to try and calm me however the next minute I was under. When I awoke, my then husband and brother were together standing next to my bed. They were talking and laughing, perhaps trying to make me laugh. I did not laugh. I know they were obviously doing what they needed to do to keep it together however hearing laughing and joking did not go down well with me and I shouted and got upset. I just had a potential piece of cancer cut out of me. Laughter made me angry. Laughing was the last thing that I wanted to do. I probably had cancer. I think I probably knew I had cancer. This was just the official diagnosis, the double check.

Within one week, we were in the hospital waiting room. I was so scared. I went through many scenarios in my mind. “Surely he wouldn’t leave me out here waiting all this time if I did have cancer”. “He knows I have cancer and he is scared to tell me”. Understandably I was not living in the moment waiting for what will be. I was overthinking. I was making up scenarios. I was going through everything that he was thinking. I was terrified.

We were told that I did indeed have what they suspected. I had Hodgkins Lyphoma. A cancer within the lymphatic system, sometimes described as a blood cancer. I had cancer. Me. We got outside the building and we hugged, a lot and I said “it’s not fair”. I don’t remember much else at that moment. Life changed. My life stopped in that moment. Everything happened so quick. My life changed from then on……..

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