At last a plaster people can see

Monday 15th June, biopsy day! We had all agreed the plan the day before. Up by 8, breakfast, chemo tablets and leave the house just after 9.15 as per instructions as we had to be there an hour before the appointment. The other instruction was to wear loose clothing. Mom and I arrived as planned, on time and checked in at reception. There was an unusual amount of people around the desk as they had had a new computer system installed and it wasn’t going too well, theirs was broken.
We were told to go into the ultrasound waiting room. Mom and I had brought newspapers and started to read what was happening in the world outside of cancer and tests, like either of us really cared but you have to go through the motions of passing the time away with something. Mom always choose the ‘Daily hate’ Tory scum loving rag blah but she justifies it by saying she just likes doing the crosswords in it. If Steve was with me he would have chosen the Independent (he is the brains of the house) and I had chosen the Mirror as there are more pictures than words and I like the agony aunt column.
The last time I had been in the Xray department with my mom was the day I got into the gown of shame to be told the CT scanner was broken and the nurse that had to tell me that day did not have an easy time from me. So we sat in the cold clinical waiting room with just one piece of wall art to look at and waited. Why the hell did I have to be here an hour before, I just didn’t understand at all as 1/2 hour had past and nothing had happened apart from the other two people waiting had been called through and with no one else in the room but me, surely I was next.
Then she appeared, the same lady who had to tell me the CT scanner had broken one my previous visit. She reminds me of a lady who works in my store, small thin Asian lady who suffers with a lack of confidence. I have been told I can be intimidating and these sort of people just bring out the worst in me as I could chew them up and spit them out for breakfast. She saw us waiting and I could instantly read her mind, she was thinking, oh no it’s her again. She walked towards us and started to explain about the new computer system “it’s okay I know, we have been told” I said in my shut up and go away voice. Unsteady of her appropriate stance to take with me she then said “are you waiting for an ultrasound scan?” I was tempted to say why else would I be sat in the bloody Ultrasound waiting room for, but I didn’t, I just replied in my sarcastic voice ‘yes’. She then asked me if it was for my neck? What the hell does it have to do with you was what I wanted to say but again didn’t and just replied yes. She then hurried away as she could tell that we were never going to be best friends. My mom laughed as she knows me too well and said “you couldn’t write it could you but I know that you will” and we both laugh at that.
A lovely Australian nurse turned up next however for the past 20 minutes mom and I had tried to complete various puzzles in her daily hate and it had turned us into a pair giggling girls over everything. One of our giggles was over my tummy as I was in my leggings, t-shirt and cardigan as per instructions, loose clothing, oh and my best bra of course. My tummy however is getting bigger everyday and in the right position in leggings it looks like a bouncy castle when you shake it. Steve says I’m mad to worry about it but I do as all of my clothes will have to be replaced soon at this rate. I’m a size 8 bottoms and a size 10 on top on average which I know is not big but us girls do worry about wobbly bits. As I wobbled my tummy for my mom to make her laugh I did share with her the irony of it all, was I the only person to get bowel cancer and actually put weight on! That’s just weird isn’t it? My mom mentioned to the nurse that it was cold in the waiting room and was she was offered a blanket, oh the shame, I couldn’t let her sit with a blanket over her, so it was agreed that she could come into the ultrasound room when I went in as it was warmer in there.
Anyway back to the moment and the new Australian nurse was asking why we had turned up an hour prior to the appointment? It turns out after a few phone calls that with my letter I had been sent a very old instruction information leaflet and that they didn’t even know that it was still on the system!
We were then taken through to meet Dr Woo, who looked about 15 years old and resembled Psy. The nurse said that he was a lovely man and that he looked after his team. I think that this was code for ‘he’s a great laugh pissed at the Christmas Party when Gangham Style comes on as he can do all the moves.
Dr Woo was lovely and with trolley assembled and bed maneuvered to get into my neck with ease he started taking biopsies. The local anesthetic helped ease the discomfort and he prepared me for the gun shooting noise that I would hear when he was doing the deed. It sounded like an ear piercing gun. I lay there as still as possible as we mustn’t make a fuss. A single tear rolled from my right eye and the lovely nurse asked if I was okay. I thought back to the nasty colonoscopy incident and thought, what a contrast. Do our nursing teams really understand how much their kind words mean to us? Dr Woo took two biopsies and that was it, job done. The nurse said that I’d been so good she was going to give me a sticker but I didn’t get one. I did however get a plaster on my neck, wow a plaster everyone can see, excellent I thought. If you have a visible plaster people can see there is something wrong. There aren’t any plasters for cancer and heart break so it’s hidden away from everyone.
Dr Woo asked me how I had found the proceedure, I replied that next to major bowel surgery it was fine, which made him smile. Mom then decided to tell them that they would be appearing in my blog. OMG mom you can’t tell them that, but of course she was right. For me to reach the people I want to help they are actually the people I need to be talking too.
We had to wait for 1/2 hour to make sure I was okay, so back in front of reception in the busy Xray department we waited. One of the main problems with hospitals is that they are mainly full with sick people, all at different stages on life’s journey of shit. Outside it’s another lovely sunny day with the majority of people just doing normal stuff and for some the day is just full of pain, tests and worry. There was a traffic jam of hospital beds all trying to jostle into position their patients in order for whatever tests had been ordered. Then a trolly went past us with an entourage of medical staff and machines, whoever was in that bed was obviously not well at all and as the bed went past us it was a young man who, as predicted didn’t look well at all. His poor family was my only thought, his poor mom.
We were eventually told we could go 🙂 I was soon back home, in my garden with a coffee and a fag. The sun was out, the birds were singing and I was back home and safe. You would think I would be happy but mom and I just sat silence. The bitch of it is that going into hospital and having tests reminds you that you are ill. I have cancer and when you say it or talk about it, it slaps you in the face again. The other elephant in the room is that we are all now back to the waiting game and we all really don’t want these results.

After two coffees and another fag I text Rebecca, Emma, Alison and Nicky to make them laugh about the fact that I almost had a sticker for being a good girl and that the blog would be up soon (my biggest fans see) And then I’m sad again, not the cancer thing but the fact that it’s stock take in my store today and for the first time in 4 years, that’s 8 stock takes I’m not there. I’m missing it, I’m not there to help Emma and I’m not there to shout at Troy (my Operations Manager) who I do like to shout at occasionally and on a stock take it’s kind of traditional. I’m sorry Emma for not being there. Will I be there for the next one in 6 months? you bet I will 🙂

On the phone to Nicky, with my plaster :-)
On the phone to Nicky, with my plaster 🙂

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Married to Steve, I have two children - Rebecca and Richard. Steve has two children, Lauren and Chris. Rebecca lives with us (nurse Rebecca) and my mom Judy also has become nurse and housekeeper but lives in the West Midlands. My son is in the Army and comes home when he can. I am 47, born in 1967 and I was told I had bowel cancer on 22nd Feb 2015 and this blog is my journey through it. I hope it helps you as you were the reason I started it.

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