That Week Was A Good Week
Two weeks ago I had a letter asking me to attend an outpatient’s appointment at the Oncology department, to see the Nurse Practitioner. That was it. No other information. I knew I had my annual Mammogram and consultation with her coming up in November, so I wondered why this had come through. I assumed it was a medication review and didn’t bother making any more enquiries.
The two weeks flew and with so much going on at home and work, I forgot all about it until the morning of the appointment, and sauntered on down there.
When I got to the department, as usual they were running over half an hour late. It was getting close to lunchtime and the waiting room thinned out, and I was eventually called in.
“Oh! I recognise you!” said the rather enthusiastic non-Nurse-Practitioner-person.
“Gallbladder!!” she exclaimed.
“Oh God…….” I said, hands covering my face.
Yes she was the very nice Surgeon who, after experiencing the first bout of pain thinking my insides were collapsing, sat on the end of the hospital bed and told me I had gallstones, and I’d be put on the waiting list to have the gallbladder removed.
ELEVEN MONTHS I HAD TO WAIT FOR THAT!!!! … I felt like shouting, but managed to refrain.
Had I walked into the wrong consultation room??
No, thankfully she was there (having been a breast-surgeon for 10 years prior to her stint in General Surgery) to help out in the unit, as they were short staffed. And the Nurse Practitioner I’d seen over the past 2 years had left.
Right then. I sighed to myself.
‘Right then!’ I cheerfully said. “Is this about all the medication I’m on?”
“This is your annual MOT so let’s start then we will book your mammogram in, hopefully that’ll be today”.
A bit taken aback, I started on my list of ailments looking for reassurance that these after effects physically and mentally 2 years after Chemo and Radiotherapy, were…wait for it… here comes that word again… NORMAL.
“That’s what we are here for Claire”. And half an hour later we were still talking about everything.
“Sorry, I’m taking up your time here” I said, guiltily.
“That’s not a problem, thankfully you are the last one on the list today so we can have longer than the normal 15 minutes”.
Well. For once I think I benefited from the delayed clinic – she wasn’t rushing me out the door at all.
We discussed everything from skin blemishes, to sore feet, to the permanent pain in my side (that’s ACTUAL pain, not a specific person by the way), the hot flushes (still), the Tamoxifen, the long term memory loss, the Tamoxifen again, the long term memory loss, the Tamoxifen, the long…. ok ok, I’ll stop now.
The Consultant Surgeon was knowledgeable about my Cancer, my treatment, she suggested safe herbal remedy suggestions to help with a couple of things, a referral for a consultation about reconstruction, and steroid injections there and then to help improve the Neuropathic pain in my side! I was previous advised it was permanent and I’d have to live with it.
What a positive consult! After all that, I had the examination, and there were 5 areas I pointed out on me which she marked, to take a look at on the mammogram. I geared myself up to be squashed and pulled around to a millimetre of my life.
Little tip for those due for a mammogram: don’t look down at said boob as its being squashed. It just looks like a squashed Belgian Bun.
It’s not nice, really!
So all done and I was asked to go and wait outside so they can see if they’ve got enough photos of the squashed buns.
“That’s it Claire, you can go now! Surgeon has reviewed it all, and it’s all fine, all good!”
“All clear?” I said hopefully.
“All good – you can go away relieved”.
So you’re still not allowed to say All Clear then…
But my God, I was relieved. That day was a good day.