The C word
When I hear the C word it makes my hair stand on end, my skin crawls and my tummy turns.. No I’m not talking about the one that rhymes with punt! I’m talking about Cancer! How can the multiplication of tiny cells be so devastating?
For those that don’t know, I’m originally from the North of England. I’ve been at large in North America for around 7 years. For various reasons, I hadn’t been ‘home’ for close to 3 years and through the generosity of some family members we were able to plan a trip. I have 2 small girls, under 3.5 and couldn’t wait to take them and introduce them to my extended family.
The weeks leading up to the trip were mixed. Mum started to feel ill and was having severe pain. She started with tests at the G.P and was then referred for an ultrasound, where they were going to scan her urinary system. From that she was then sent for a CT scan and an X-ray with dye to assess the viability of the tubes from her kidney to her bladder. She was then scheduled for a biopsy 2 days after our arrival.
So we tried to pack light and we made the 7 hour flight! The girls did pretty well considering. I can’t say the same for my butt cheeks which are still protesting, having had a 19lb baby sat on me for the duration of said flight.
When we got there it was clear Mum had deteriorated. The usual whirl wind was having difficulty getting off the sofa and couldn’t manage to play with the girls at all. She was having Morphine every 4 hours and counting the minutes between the doses. I stayed positive. Thinking back over my experience with Cancer patients, she hadn’t lost lots of weight. She wasn’t a funny colour. She was going to be fine..
She went in for the biopsy and they put in a stent ( a straw like structure to keep the tube open). Then came the bombshell. The Consutant said 98% that it was Cancer but we should wait for the biopsy results. We waited, clinging to a shred of hope. The next 2 days seemed like an eternity. Her pain increased rather than decreased and in addition to that her emotions were on a roller coaster. We all were!
I went with her for the appointment and we were all stunned when told that surgery would be the next week. He would take the kidney and the ureter tube out, plus surrounding tissue. We’d have to wait for histology to see how invasive the Cancer was. She would be in the hospital at least 10 days and require 6monthly scans to check that it hadn’t spread.
I tried to be strong, show her we could beat this. In the back of my mind I was crumbling. My Mum, my everything was under attack and I was supposed to leave when she needed me most. How could I do that, god forbid it could be the last time that I saw her..
She told me to go, the battle was going to be tough and having two little ones around would not aide her recovery. So I did as asked and I left with my family and a weight on my heart the size of a dump truck.
Now here we are D day has arrived. The surgery was this afternoon. The team worked for 5.5 hours to save her life. I’ve shouted at my daughters, actually I’ve shouted at everyone! I’ve eaten through the entire contents of the fridge and cupboards and my finger nails have seen much better days..but the wait was worth it. I’m told she’s been incredibly brave and the Surgeon feels that the Cancer hasn’t spread, but we have to wait for the results to be sure. I cannot express my gratitude to the surgical team for what they have done and also to all of our family and friends for their incredible support. I truly apologize for my grumpy behavior and hope I haven’t damaged any relationships beyond repair. Now we begin the road to recovery and fingers crossed, my girls will get to experience the same incredible upbringing that I did, with a woman who puts everyone before herself, is never too tired or too busy to play, who always has a smile and a kind word for everyone! Today is a day we all feel proud and oh so lucky!