Chapter 3 – Oncologist

Life carried on much as it did before. The medication I had been given to stop my bleeding was working a treat and the relief I felt was unreal. Then I received a letter from the hospital. My heart was in my throat and I knew it was worst case scenario.

Mother dearest insisted on coming with me (There is no arguing with this woman) –  so I put on my big girl pants, a full face of makeup and faced my reality.

When I arrived for my appointment at the hospital I was surrounded by pregnant women, their partners and very upset elderly ladies. I have never felt more out of place.  One of the cruellest aspects of being treated for sinister gynaecological conditions is that you share a waiting room with expectant mothers. The Verve’s – Bitter Sweet Symphony was played on the radio and then a  Macmillan nurse called my name –  I knew exactly what I was about to be told.

I went in alone. My mother raised me to be fierce and fearless and I knew I needed to come to terms with this before I shared my news with anyone else. I was introduced to my oncologist who is the most gentle and kind man. For obvious reasons I will affectionately refer to him as Gorgeous George. He explained my results had come back and had confirmed the suspicion of atypical endometrial hyperplasia.   To put this simply, the lining of my womb was producing abnormal cells which were strongly suspected of being cancerous. Not just any cancer – a cancer that mainly occurs in post menopausal women in their seventies and eighties. So, as you can imagine, I was delighted.

He was incredibly gentle when breaking the news and advised with essentially all of his other golden oldie patients, they just whip everything out – job done. But as I am a 28 year old nulligravida (A woman who has never had a child) this case was especially unusual. My sample had been discussed at the Central Gynae-Oncology MDT and a full and radical hysterectomy had been advised. Now due to my age and childlessness Gorgeous George was reluctant. I made it crystal clear that I was more than happy to have the lot whipped out. Having biological children was an option I was fully aware may never have due to my other conditions and I came to terms with this a long time ago.  I wouldn’t need a child to cook in my oven for me to love it unconditionally. But he explained a urgent hysteroscopy (a procedure that allows your doctor to look inside your uterus in order to diagnose and treat causes of abnormal bleeding) with repeat endometrial biopsy would be scheduled in order to get more tissue and information about the nature of the abnormality. I thanked him for his time and realised I would now need to break the news to mother dearest.

The Macmillan nursed called her through and we sat in the tiny little room together.  She held my hand and broke her heart. No mother should every have to go through what my mother has been through with me. She held me so tight and we left the hospital.

I genuinely think that almost everyone I have since told has taken this far worse than I have. Having a chronic condition for so many years and being told there is nothing really wrong is soul destroying.  At least now I was receiving actual treatment and support. It was surreal.

I went home and expected to cry.  No tears came.  I felt relieved. I have been told so much of my pain and discomfort was in my head for so many years. This isn’t how you are supposed to react.  And again, I was back to waiting for a letter.

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