We waited for what seemed like an eternity in the waiting room until they called my name. Lou came in with me this time and we both sat in front of an older lady (I forget what her name and job title was) along with Claire, one of the breast care nurses.
She asked to examine me (the silly looking white boobs out again!) so stepped behind the curtain and she felt about and agreed she could feel the lump too. She then felt under my arm pits and around my neck area saying she couldn’t feel anything else.
I then sat back beside Lou. I could tell from the serious look on their faces that they weren’t going to say something positive. I knew ‘that look’ only too well. Only 18 months previously I had sat in a hospital room clutching my sister’s boyfriend’s hand so tightly it could have dropped off, with two Doctors giving us the terrifying news of the potential consequences she could face as a result of her fall, whilst she peacefully lay in a coma in intensive care. I thought our family had seen the back of those worrying days.
The lady told us how they grade lumps initially on a scale of one to five. One being normal and five being definite cancer. She said mine was graded between three and four. Lou instantly grabbed my hand and held it in a comforting grip. ‘We are concerned about it’, she said. Once more the tears began to fall. How could this be? This is not what they were meant to be saying. It felt completely surreal, like it wasn’t happening to me, like I was in a dream (or a nightmare).
They said they wouldn’t be doing their job if they were to tell me there was nothing to worry about. She asked if I had any questions. Now I’m a forward planner and like to be organised, but I hadn’t really contemplated this moment at all beforehand and just sat there stunned in shock and disbelief. This particular lady was really lovely, but her eyes seem to be staring right into mine, not saying a word, waiting for me to open my mouth.
She explained to us that they’d have to send the biopsy sample off to be tested and that I’d need to go back in a weeks’ time for the results. A week? How on earth was I going to get through waiting a week for the answer.
They handed me a card with some phone numbers on in case I had any questions or if I wanted to speak to one of the nurses. Lou and I had previously agreed earlier on in the day that we’d go and enjoy a few drinks together after we’d left the hospital. Thankfully at this point Lou asked the nurse if it would be okay for me to have an alcoholic drink. ‘Yes’, she said. ‘I think you deserve the whole bottle.’ Now those are words you don’t often hear from a health professional!
Just as we were about to get up and leave the lady said the good news was that it could well turn out to be something else and that if it was the ‘c’ word, I’d have caught it early and that it wouldn’t have spread. I do wish she’d started the conversation off with this fact!
Lou and I walked out of the clinic together and I just burst into tears and she gave me the biggest hug. I really don’t know what I would have done without her there that day.
We walked out of the hospital and I immediately rang Pats whilst Lou went off to pay the car parking ticket. It was getting late in the day at this stage and we’d been in there for over two hours and I knew he’d be worrying. I tried to compose myself as I told him what had happened, but I couldn’t. I broke down sobbing hysterically in front of all to see at the entance the hospital. He said he was setting off from Plymouth immediately and would come and get me from Lou’s.
We stopped off at the shop on the way back to Lou’s to get some supplies – cider for me (keeping it classy as always!) and some painkillers and wine for Lou.
We sat in her back garden trying to weigh up the odds I’d been given and Lou very adamantly put a positive slant on it all. I called my sister, Sarah, and then best friend, Tara. She reminded me of the lumps she’d had in her neck some years before which had turned out to be benign and she helped in making me feel slightly better about it all.
It took Pats about four hours to get back from Plymouth and once we’d both given Lou Lou a big hug and thanked her for looking after me, off we went home. Being his usual thoughtful and caring self, Pats had stopped at the shops to get us something light to munch on – my favourite, cheese and biscuits and a nice bottle of wine.