When you find out you have cancer, everything changes.
At 37 I never expected to hear the words it’s malignant. Like seriously who gets hand cancer!! Apparently I do. After seeing a hand consultant (yes there is such a thing as a hand consultant) about a swelling in my hand, which had been x-rayed and just showed soft tissue swelling, no tumour as the x-Ray didn’t pick it up, I was sent for an MRI and very quickly afterwards a biopsy, we had named named the lump Hancer. The dr doing the biopsy told mr it would be a bit uncomfortable, well he lied, a lot! For 3 days afterwards it was agony. Apparently for most people it doesn’t hurt!
Not really thinking it would be malignant but deep down knowing it was. I was getting the kiddos ready for school when I got the call. My first reaction was to laugh. We were going on the trip of a lifetime the following day to the East coast of America on one of Dans adventures. I was thinking I still need to finish packing, I was supposed to be meeting my lovely Autism Mammy friends for brekkie and do a bit of last minute shopping. I didn’t have time for this!!
Then you need to tell people. I rang my lovely hubby in work, his response was I’ll be home soon and I’ll meet you in your mams. I asked him why he was coming home because I had loads to do. He must have thought I was nuts!! I brought the kids to school and then sat in the car park making calls to my sister’s. Then went to my mams, my oldest sister was already there and had told her. It’s horrible looking at every one being so upset and knowing you are the cause even though it’s not your fault!
Then we had to let the extended family know, my aunt’s and cousins knew I was getting a biopsy and were waiting on the results with me. 20 minutes after the phone calls the house was full. It was like someone had died but I was still standing there.
Then of course then the jokes started, in my family we deal with everything with a good dose of humour as well as crying! I rang two of my best friends and told them the news. One cursed a lot And hung up, the other told me she was handy if i wanted a visit. I nearly died laughing and she nearly passed out with mortification. Ya gotta love my support group. I rang my autism mammies and told them i coildnt make brekkie and they were gutted. By 11am it had already been a very long day! The thoughts of telling the kids was awful but they knew something was going on, so we had to tell them. We decided we would do it when we got home from our trip. But Niamh guessed while we we’re there. She really is a clever girl!
At this stage it was very surreal. Like it was happening outside of me. I had a very good idea before the biopsy confirmed that I had cancer, so I had a few weeks to come to terms with it.
So what do you do? You go home and you finish packing for your holiday. The nurse assured me that 2 weeks would make no difference in my treatment as they have to have a multi disciplinary meeting to decide on a treatment plan and that wouldnt happen until the following week. So off we went on our holidays. We went to Vegas first and renewed our vows while we were there. We even had a drunken Elvis do it! We saw the grand canyon which is amazing beyond words. We went to L.A. and say the Hollywood sign and then off to San Francisco and saw Fishemans wharf, the Golden gate bridge and Alcatraz. We had a ball even though we had this over us.
When they tell you that you have cancer, the amount of emotions going through your head is crazy. I’m looking at my smallies thinking this isnt fair, I need to be here for you. I’m looking at my family and friends and they are all so supportive and thinking I hate that im doing this to you and I’m looking at my husband thinking how will we get through this. But we are getting through it. We are laughing and crying and living life. Some days are horrible and some days are hilarious. It is like every other person out there. You have highs and lows and everything inbetween.