Friday, 23 October 2009

The wait begins

Monday morning and back to work, with this *wait* hanging over me for four days. Luckily the immediate focus is taken off the weekend's events by returning to a footy mad office - I'm a Sunderland supporter, I work with (amongst others) a Liverpool supporter, and the game I was at with hubs on Saturday was the infamous 'beachball goal' game. What followed was a full day of banter based around a red spherical object that had had an immediate impact on our game. Which took my mind off home events brilliantly...but as soon as I left at 4.30, it was impossible not to think of things closer to home. Went to bed and cried for about an hour, really sobbed - the reaction I'd been determined for the family not to see, came right out. Mam had looked so frail sitting on her hospital bed, not the strong resilient mam I've always known. Why her? She wouldn't hurt a fly, she'd do anything for anyone.

I work with a brilliant bunch of people who have been totally understanding; partly because we have a shared sense of humour, partly because some of them also live away from their parents, and partly because out of an office of 11 of us, four have already lost a parent to cancer - three of them relatively recently.

Wednesday afternoon it was hard to concentrate, I kept thinking that in 24 hours time I'd know for sure what mam was facing. Every time I thought of it, the 'hit by a lorry' feeling resurfaced, but Coral (who lost her mum a year ago) tells me that's normal. I've pretty much decided that if I brace myself for the worst, anything else can only be a bonus.

Thursday - the 'big' day. I'd purposely asked not to be told what time mam's appointment was, to stop me clockwatching. But I clockwatched anyway. Was mam not calling because it was bad news and she didn't want to tell me at work? Or was it good news and she was leaving it til after 6 to call? Got home and there was still no call with news...and I was too 'scared' to make the call myself. 6.15 and the phone rang - my sister up there sounds really upbeat - is it going to be good news after all that worry?

No. Sis sounds like she's been crying, and the diagnosis was ovarian cancer. Well, "cancerous cells". Same thing? The 'hit by a lorry' feeling yet again, but only briefly. She said the consultant was very upbeat, saying he's treated ladies who were diagnosed five years ago and they're still very much with us, and there's no reason why mam shouldn't be the same. Mam is apparently okay, a little quiet but said that getting upset won't change anything...but I know what she does when she's on her own could be a different matter completely.

They've done another blood test to see if there's any spread of the cancer but won't get the result until her first cancer clinic appointment at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Gateshead - which could be as early as this coming Tuesday, but may be a week later. The deadline to get in next Tues was midday on the day she got the biopsy results and the consultant said he didn't know where they stood but he'd had someone type and fax a letter across to them that morning.

I put the phone down and......was totally okay. No tears. Even explained to hubs without breaking down. Why on earth did I feel SO calm? Maybe all that bracing myself for the worst had done the trick. Maybe it was because I got it out of my system on Monday night. Maybe it's still to come.

Younger sister called a few hours later, and she sounded like she'd been in tears too. Few clues yet as to how dad is taking it, just that he thinks his daughters are "ganging up on him" about letting mam go to see her friends at the community centre when she wants.

I think we just all need to let the dust settle for a few days and let it sink in.

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