D day


Has the cancer spread?

Do I have secondary cancer?

Today we find out.

My appointment isn’t until 3 so I try and keep myself busy until then.

After 6 hours of rearranging toiletries, watching reruns of Frasier, checking Facebook for the millionth time it is finally time to go!

We arrive at the clinic, which is running 40 minutes late. The last thing you want to be doing before a big appointment is waiting. I scroll through my Facebook news feed again and see a funny hamster video. I absolutely ROARED with laughter. Quite how inappropriate this is in a waiting room of nervous patients cannot be overstated. Realising how inappropriate it was I then got the nervous giggles. There’s a time and a place and this certainly isn’t it!

After another 40 minutes we go in. What I want the Doctor to do is shout the results at me while I’m walking in the door. Don’t even wait for me to sit down, just tell me. 

But I can see she’s going to remain professional. So in we go and she gestures to the couch.  She’s going to check my wounds first!

I hop up on the couch, all the time trying to get anything from her expression. Is she delaying because its bad news? Does she not think its a big deal because its good news?? WHAT??

She needs to cut the stitch thats poking out my skin so heads out of the room to get a special kit.

So we wait

Then she needs to re-dress my wounds.

So we wait some more

Eventually after 10 minutes of wound playing I head back to sit down. Julie, my mum and I have a quick game of musical chairs before we settle on our positions.

We are ready, we are braced.

Doctor starts looking through my notes. She goes back to the front. Then flicks to the back. I’m trying to work out if she is stalling.

Finally she looks up. And says something like this…

“As you know we found cancer in 2 lymph nodes during the surgery so we took the rest of the lymph nodes for testing. The magic number to trigger radiotherapy and the need for a full body scan is 4. As you know we definitely found it in 2. And we were looking to see if it was in any more. So we know its in 2. but is it in 4? Thats the number we are looking for…4 is the number we are concerned with. Cancer is in 2. We are checking to see if its in 4”


To say the next words to come out of her mouth were a matter of life or death was not just a metaphor on this occasion.

It felt like Ant and Dec had come in and were going to reveal who was the next to leave the jungle.

So… the number of lymph nodes the cancer is in is…….

dramatic pause


Somewhat in disbelief I asked “so thats less than 4?!”

Yes. Well done. You can do maths.

I wanted to spend a good half hour going over the news. So three?? can we get the beans out and do a demo on the table? Can we draw number 3’s on blackboards? Can we say “three” in different languages?

3 is now my favourite number!

But I would have to do my three-appreciation later, for now we still had to crack on with the rest of the appointment. I forgot about that! So much of the last 3 weeks has been geared towards this result. I didn’t want to make any plans or think about the future without knowing what I was dealing with.

Hearing them say it was only in 3 lymph nodes felt like they were telling me I’d never had cancer at all. Of course that wasn’t the case, we still had to deal with the original cancer. But at least that was it. I will be referred to the oncologist for my chemotherapy appointments and hopefully by the end of the year this cancer adventure will be over. Obviously I don’t want to count my chickens but thats the goal!

We went over a couple of other things and asked all our questions about cancer. Im fairly certain I’d pass the cancer module of a medical degree. I ask about EVERYTHING! (I’m a nosy bitch). One of the things we covered was the pathology report.

As you may remember there was some disagreement over whether I should have a single or double mastectomy (in the dandelion and the juggernaut). I was adamant I wanted a double but was reminded constantly of the risks and possible complications. Doctors were reluctant to remove a ‘healthy’ breast.

As we went through the details of the lymph nodes and the cancer that was found in the bad boob, I couldnt help but ask…”was any cancer found in the good boob?” Turns out, yes, there was. But it was in situ (so early stages) and at that stage they wouldn’t necessarily recommend a mastectomy. But man oh man did I feel smug! My decision, however you argued it, was justified. There was cancer, it would probably spread eventually, and I would ultimately have been back to do this all over again with another mastectomy. But that wasn’t an issue as it was all gone!
I have grown to love my surgeon but I think with anyone else I would be doing the smug victory dance around the room! And being the petty person I am, who always needs to be right, this was probably the best news of the day!

Although the three news is pretty bloody good!

It is going to take a while for this three business to sink in. Its been so long since I’ve been given good news I’m not sure how to take it!

But its something I could definitely get used to…