What A Week That Was!

Where do I start. Ok let’s do it day by day.  I’ll keep it as short as I can.

This week, I’ve spent most of it trying not to get anxious about my Gallbladder removal operation which has finally come around.  Ten months of waiting, umpteen painful episodes, and two admissions with infections.  I was relieved yet worried about the fact it was finally here.  So I spent the next few days rearranging the family’s life, sorting out who could take what child where and at what time, made sure they had food in the house, having repeated conversations that it wasn’t going to kill them if they WALKED to school some days (no driving for me for 2 weeks – eeek!) and generally cleaning up.


Woke up after a good night’s sleep.  Not.  Went to work looking like death, remembering the dreams I’d been having about feeling the operation happening but not being fully awake, because the b*st**d chemotherapy had wrecked my veins.  Monday night was playing taxi for the Karate kid Son and Dancing Queen Daughter.

Oops nearly forgot!  Excited to receive my second order of the Cancer…Me? Really?? Business Cards!  Now I can send to lots of places – excellent!!


Tired At Work







Woke up after a good night’s sleep.  Not.  After a well needed coffee, I spent the morning doing paperwork, bills, emails for Dorset Family History Society (I’m the voluntary Membership Secretary), and then I went to Glow Health and Beauty in Broadstone to get my nails done.

When I say ‘done’, I should have said ‘reluctantly removed’.  I went in with better nails than I came out with, and that’s not really something you want to brag about!  But on the Hospital’s instructions, all acrylic nails have to be removed, and nail varnish, so I sat there for half an hour soaking them off and they gave them a bit of a shape.


Woke up after a good night’s sleep.  Not.  OK I think you get the message.  More bad dreams, then waking up at 3 am wanting to write down all the questions that decided to pop up in my head, about what I wanted to ask the Surgeon/Anaesthetist/Nurse the minute I got to hospital the next day.

I didn’t.  I just laid there counting… cobwebs.

When it was eventually time to wake up, I got myself to work as it was the last day in the office before the operation. It was a bit manic to say the least, but I handed over, and managed to complete a report, so I was pleased I could leave knowing I’d covered all bases.  Said all my goodbyes, had all the good wishes and left the building.  A night of more taxiing.  This time it was Swimming pick up, Rugby drop off, Dancing drop off and collect. Knackered was an understatement.

Once I got home, it was overnight bag packed, lunchboxes done, Eastenders on catch-up and an early night.


And an early morning.  Having not slept much. Again.

‘That’s OK’ I thought, ‘I’m looking forward to sleeping later, after all, that’s what a general anaesthetic is for.  I can sleep then’.

Husband drove me to hospital and I was in there registered at 7.15 am (on time.  Unlike the man who rolled up at 7.45 having clearly overslept and not looked in the mirror). The waiting area was packed with people, their bags, their partners/daughters/mothers filling up the area.  I stood patiently waiting for my name to be called.

Oh come on, call my name!  It’s emptying out here!  Was this a sign…? Maybe they’ve forgotten me.

Nope, just me being impatient.  I was called through, given the attractive gown that the nurse did up too tight for me round my neck and nearly strangled me, dressing gown and slippers on, and into the ladies waiting area for the next stage.  By this time it was getting busy with nurses, doctors, surgeons; blood pressure and temperatures were being taken, height and weight recorded (gold star for me losing 5 kg in 2 months – or 12 lbs in old money) procedure discussed, forms signed, wrist bands on and lovely sexy blue stockings put on – a workout in itself!

And then we waited.

It was 10.30 am by now and a number of ladies had been called through for theatre, but I wasn’t expecting to go down early as they’d already said I was ‘later’ on the list.  I didn’t ask how much ‘later’.  I didn’t want to spoil the surprise…

Then my name was called.  The Consultant Surgeon sat me down but opened the conversation with ‘I’m afraid I have some very bad news.  We have to cancel the remaining list for the day as I’ve been assigned to emergencies which have come in.  There is nothing I can do about this I’m afraid, so we will have to let you get dressed and go home.  We will try and get you a date today for readmission.  I’m really very sorry’.

I couldn’t speak. And then the tears came (embarrassingly). I couldn’t control them.  I think I managed to say something like ‘but what about the Tamoxifen I’ve not taken for 4 weeks!  I need to get back on these asap!’  He seemed to react to that and asked me to speak to Admissions to explain.  And off he went.

Still crying in the cubicle I threw my stuff back in the bag, controlled myself and walked back out to the Nurses station.  After a cuppa, I spoke to Admissions.

It was going to be another four weeks until I was readmitted! What?????  I explained the situation about the ‘anti-cancer’ drug and she went off to speak to the Manager.  Who came back and with no expression just confirmed it was still going to be 4 weeks.

Great.  The anxiety about being off the Tamoxifen and oestrogen being produced again in my body was bad enough, but staying off it for another 4 weeks frightened me.  I was picked up and went on home subdued/pissed off/frustrated/angry/upset/tired/hungry.

You get my drift. Oh and I apologise – this isn’t exactly ‘keeping it short’ is it.

A couple of hours later I had another call from Admissions saying they could bring it forward by 8 days so it was a start, but I placed a call to my Oncology department and had a chat with one of the Breast Care Nurses who helped me before.  She was so disappointed for me that it had been cancelled and understood completely my fears about being off the Tamoxifen for what would be 3 months in total if they didn’t bring it forward.  She would speak to the Surgeons there and get some advice, and let me know.

I have to say I sat for the rest of the day feeling a bit sorry for myself.  I did actually sleep OK that night.  Ish.


Seeing as I wasn’t laying in bed with 4 additional scars on my stomach, minus an organ, I decided I might as well go in to work.  I’d emailed the bosses so they were warned, but some people’s faces were a picture.

‘Er – that was a quick recovery!’

‘Oh Claire I’m so sorry!  You must be so upset’.

‘What the *$%& are you doing in???’ said in the nicest possible tone of course haha.

I was actually feeling OK.  Yes I was still a bit annoyed but it was what it was.  Emergencies come in and those people need to be seen.  I couldn’t change it.  So Friday was an enjoyable day at work, quite productive, nagging the lads and organising their next two weeks’ work, and generally being around people taking my mind off what has been quite a stressful week on the old brain of mine.

Roll on 20 March….

4 Responses

  1. Sean Chambers says:

    Claire, I’m so sorry to hear what you have been through since I left… though i get by the tone of your writing apologies and sympathy are not the order of the day!!! I admire your strength and ability to talk about what you are going through. Always remember that family and friends will always be rooting for you and on the darkest days support is never more than a poke away. Whilst our NHS is the envy of the world with some extremely hard working Professionals we all recognise, unfortunately, that it is not an infallable institution and is subject to the needful. Its encouraging for others to see how you keep your chin up and maintain your sense of humour, dignity and fighting spirit.
    Well done girl!

    • cancermereally says:

      Hi Sean, thank you so much for your comments, and yes humour has helped a lot through this, as well as keeping some sort of reality. As well as family, work have been fantastic throughout and continue to be. It’s great when you’re having a down day to go in and have your mind totally distracted – IT is still the same, and I’m very grateful for that! Hope you are ok Sean and thanks again 🙂 xx

  2. Ree says:

    So sorry to hear about the postponement of your surgery. I had my gallbladder removed but 2as never taken of off tamoxifen my Dr just said to continue taking it well maybe bcause my surgery was not an open one but laparascopy.

    • cancermereally says:

      Hi thank you for your message. Yes mine was laproscopic too. I think it’s to do with the hospital handling low risk surgeries. If I continued to take it, and something went wrong, id have to be transferred to another hospital an hour or so away x

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