With christmas looming I was aware that there was a lot of people in my local area who were looking to try and make a few extra pennies to make paying for Christmas more bearable. I love Facebook, I use it ALOT, and there was a local page where people where buying and selling things to help make ends meet. I'd bought and sold a few things and built up a rapport with a few users on the site. With that in mind the cogs started whirring and as a result a little acorn of an idea was born.... I spoke to the community centre where my son goes to preschool and asked if they had ever thought of holding an indoor boot sale. Initially they were apprehensive about the idea, worried about mess and how to go about making sure traffic for the stallholders was correct. I persisted and to cut a long story short I ended up with a 21 stall table top sale to organize! As I don't drive and had my 3 yr old in preschool I didn't actually have a stall of my own, I didn't make a penny from organizing and running the event - but it was good to have something to sink my teeth into.
The pre op appointment at the hospital was the night bfor the table top sale. My partner was off work sick with flu and wasn't well enough to drive me to the hospital, so his dad took me and dropped me off. It was the 18th Nov 2010, and boy was it cold. I walked down to the clinic where the large waiting room was full of people. I sat down and started flicking through a magazine grateful for a bit of me time without having to worry about speaking to anyone or worrying about little man running off. Time sat on my behind with nothing to do is boring to some but I quite enjoy it as its pretty rare for me :) Good job really as I sat in that waiting room for almost 2 hours. After about an hour I began to get a bit restless, wondering why I hadn't been called yet... the waiting room emptied, until there was only me left. When they called my name I whooped and said hurray - finally it was my turn.
I entered the room with a nurse and there was a female doctor with black curly hair tied back and a smart suit on, she looked behind me and asked me with a puzzled look 'Oh are you on your own....' to which I said 'Yeah my other half is poorly so its just me....'. This seemed to fluster her a little, which was odd to me. I sat down in the chair with a smile on my face, she said 'Right ok so I have some results from your op for you.' I said 'Erm..... results - sorry I didn't know there was any results to be had, I mean Ive already been told that its nothing from all the tests you have done so far so...'. My face dropped, I could feel my heart starting to pound, you know that feeling that you get when you have been caught doing something you shouldn't do, a bit of a nervous sick feeling - yep well that crept in pretty quickly. I looked at the doctor, she seemed now even more uncomfortable, more nervous than me in fact. 'Well those tests arent always conclusive, so we cant just rely on them.' I'm thinking WHAT! 'Well we looked at the tissue we removed during the op and we have found some cancerous cells....' I said 'erm....ok' and waited for more information. The doctor was trying to hold her composure but I could see her squirming I guess giving me this information was hard I wasnt impressed. I said 'But Ive already been told twice now that It not cancer, you have done all those tests, I wasn't expecting any results and now your telling me what exactly?' I paused...'Are you telling me I have cancer?'.... 'Yes I am very sorry.' She looked away - I probably wasn't giving her the nicest of looks at this point LOL. She then went off into some sort of rant about multidisciplinary meetings, how all these doctors had sat down and discussed me and what would happen next..... Im thinking multidisciplinary - am I a naughty girl LOL.... I said 'Hang on a minute. What sort of cancer do I have?' The reply I got was 'Thyroid - but dont worry its 95% treatable - you will be fine'.
The tears were starting to come now, I could feel them, but I was there on my own - I needed to hold my composure, I couldn't crumble in front of this doctor who in my opinion wasn't a very good one, I needed to show her who was stronger, I needed to be quietly indignant. So I took a deep breath and carried on. She then started asking about my voice - I explained I had a cold but that my hoarseness had been a permanent fixture since the first operation. She explained that the next step would be a Completion Thyroidectomy - the remaining half of my thyroid would be removed in another operation similar to the first, she explained that Dr M would do the op. But she was concerned about my voice, she checked the notes. Dr M had noted no laryngeal nerve damage and then she said she wanted to take a look at what was causing the hoarseness. Out came a black shiny snake like thingy with a light on the end, she wanted to put it down my nose.... OUCH. She did it twice, it bloody stung. My eyes started watering and I expressed discomfort - as I had a cold, all of the passage in which the tubes were going were blocked and inflamed - not fun. She didnt like the way my voice was reacting to the tests so she said we would need to wait until my voice was better bfor the operation could be done. I was told to wait for a further appointment, and to get some sort of solution to help clear my airways just in case I needed another snake test at the next appointment. With that she sent me on my way.
I walked out of the room, a middle aged nurse said 'Are you ok love?' - I turned around and said quite rudely - 'Well no not really they just told me Ive got cancer soo....' and with that the tears came, there was no controlling them. I strode down the corridor towards the exit to get picked up, crying like a baby, huge heaving sobs almost stopping me from catching my breath. I knew that soon id have to walk through the A+E dept so I tried to compose myself, which I could only do by holding my breath, I walked across the car park in the cold dark night. I called my partner and told him, he was shocked and didn't quite understand what I was saying - he called his dad and his parents came and got me. All the way home I explained what had happened, explaining that in hindsight I felt like they had left me waiting 2 hours on purpose, not wanting to have to tell me, wanting to leave it as long as they could.
When I walked out of the back gate my partner was waiting for me, he passed me a ciggarette, I took it - god I needed it! He said -' What type of thyroid cancer is it? Theres 4 types you know?' 'Is there - she didnt say only that I have thyroid cancer'. My other half isnt a cryer - he gets silent when he is upset and takes himself off to deal with it on his own, he fights tears, his bottom lip wobbled and we both started crying. I didnt know what to say, I just went off into a rant explaining what had been said my thoughts all jumbled, mixed with anger and frustration. I was mad at the doctor, mad that the hospital hadn't insisted I bring someone, mad that they had given me NOTHING to take away to explain what they had just told me.
I needed this to be ok for little man, so I said right we don't mention this word in front of him ok, we act like nothing has happened as much as we can. I was in mummy mode desperate to shield him from the hurt and destruction that had unfolded. The next bit is a bit of a blur of tears and googling and various phone calls being made to family, and my partners boss.
I went and got in the bath, Bubble soothing me, on my own in the bath I tried to compose my thoughts. I realised that no matter what happened from now on I had cancer, and I needed to deal with it. Wallowing over it was not going to get rid of it, I clung to the doctor saying it was treatable, I wasnt dying. This could be a lot worse. I could hear my partner on the phone saying no we didnt want any visitors tonight, it was too soon.
The next thing I know there was a knock on the door, it was my others halfs boss's partner. She also happens to be the mum of my partners oldest friend and little mans Godmum. She was heartbroken, and almost didnt know what to say, she assured us that if we needed anything to just let her know, Id stopped crying by this point which I think she was a bit taken a back by. I explained that I needed to just keep calm and carry on with it all. That I had questions that needed to be answered. That id do my best to get to the bottom of them all. She told us that my partner had been given a week off work, and that we shouldnt worry about time off etc. We were extremely grateful of that week off. She hugged us both and left.
I dont remember much more of that evening, other than calling the lady I was organising the Table Top Sale with to explain what had happened just in case I had a melt down during it. We decided we didnt want too many people knowing about my cancer, so asked that nothing was said on facebook etc and told those we had told to keep it to themselves. I didnt want people worrying about me. I didnt ever want to be 'that lady with cancer'.