There have been so many anniversaries. Mostly, as my husband so rightly says, they are the type of anniversaries that we would much rather forget.
And yet you can’t just forget, if only it was that simple.
A year since diagnosis. A year since surgery. A year since the end of active treatment and the beginning of ongoing treatment. The treatment that will go on for the rest of your life.
It means different things to different people. Some feel it like a strike to the heart, another thud to remind them just how much it hurt. Some ignore it in a hope that it never really happened. Some prefer to be on their own, while others surround themselves with family and friends.
As it turns out I am a little bit of both. My preference is to be on my own, to process and to digest and to somehow make sense of the emotions that come like waves. And yet over the past year I have realised that if you surround yourself with those who care, the whole thing may just be a bit easier.. possibly.
The letter arrived one sunny morning from the hospital for my routine annual mammogram. Just a glance at the letter face told me what it was. So used to seeing the hospital stamp by now, and yet it never gets any easier.
Added to the calendar to prevent any forgetfulness, even though the date is immediately etched into my brain. More a reminder to prepare for the date ahead.
I would like to be able to say that the days and hours leading up to that point just went on by, and that it all passed simply. It’s just that they didn’t.
Typically I got the date wrong. Even after calling to check once the letter had been mislaid. Even though it was written on the calendar (incorrectly I may add), even though there was doubt in my mind – I still went through the motions.
Not so easy when you mention the words hospital or doctors to your children for the umpteenth time. They exercise caution asking, ‘why and for how long?’ And they let it be known that they don’t want you to go. Even when reassured it is ‘only a check up’ they let it be known they would prefer if you didn’t go..
Nevertheless go I must.
Arriving on the wrong day (unbeknown to me) and directed by the wrong receptionist to the wrong area, the situation begins to deteriorate. It is the standard day for routine mammograms for ladies over age fifty.
I am told not once, but twice, that I am too young.
Already upset at this point I can feel the anger rising inside of me. I wish I was too bloody young. You can’t be too young, fact. I try to control my voice unsuccessfully, and it falters as I explain why this is so. Of course I am too young for the routine scans – that is what they meant to say, it’s just that is not what they said at all, on that day, at that moment.
I returned a few days later on the correct day, oddly much more calm a second time.
I had resigned myself to the process and indeed the results that may come to be. I had given myself a ‘talking to’ because it is not a scan to be fearful of – it is one I should and will always be most grateful for. I explained the whole situation to the lady who carried out my scan, she registered my worries and told me that she would’ve come and done me anyway if they had just let her know. It still never fails me as to the empathy some medical staff have as they instantly read your eyes – they understand the gravity of the situation, and then the complete opposite from others.
And so that was that. It was over in a flash.
Uncomfortable but very necessary.
I drove away out of the hospital and straight back into my everyday life. There was still the results to tackle, there will always be – but for the time being I went back to the things in my little world – the shopping, the everyday tasks and being a normal mum on the school run.
I made myself a cup of tea in my favourite mug upon returning home and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
A helpful place for young women diagnosed with breast cancer https://m.facebook.com/YoungerBreastCancerNetwork