It’s just a follow up appointment
So it was just over a week after my operation (16th August 2017 to be exact) and I had an early appointment at ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) ward to discuss my results. Ste had asked if I wanted him to go with me but being that he had just started a new job and days before he had been in trouble for being on his phone all the time I said I would be fine and went alone. I sat the ENT ward and reception wasn’t open so I sat and waited. When the receptionist opened the shutter I let her know I was there and I took a seat in the waiting room.
Waiting is something you tend to be accustomed to whilst going to appointments, treatments and scans. I’m renowned for being late for most things however since this journey began even I look prompt. Having to wait isn’t something that I tend to bother about though as generally most appointments you go to you have a better understanding of how most doctors are overbooked, treatment is a privilege and waiting for an extra hour for an appointment is sometimes the least of your worries.
I can’t really remember how long I was sat waiting I think it was a while but eventually I was called in to see the doctor. I think the doctor was the same doctor that did the surgery to remove my submalindar gland. He asked how I was and I told him I was ok but I did have some pain in my neck and the side of my mouth he didn’t seem too concerned. He then asked if I had come alone. I said yes and I said my husband struggled to take time off. He asked if I was sure I didn’t want anyone there and I said no I was fine. There was another nurse in the room and then another male nurse suddenly seemed to come in the room. I should have realised then that something wasn’t quite right but I didn’t.
The doctor then sort of re-repeated the history of events like saying things like “you had this lump in your throat is that correct?” etc to which I replied “yes”. He proceeded with a few more rhetorical questions then he said “It’s not good news I’m afraid”. He then told me it was quite serious and I had malignant melanoma. He probably said quite a few other things but I can’t honestly remember. I think I remember saying “So it isn’t my thyroid then?” He then explained that the male nurse was a skin cancer nurse and that I would be now referred to another hospital as the ENT ward would no longer be able to assist me.
I remember I started to cry and remember seeing the female nurse in the corner trying to hold back her tears. She had also gone to get some tissues. The doctor kept apologising to which I remember saying “it’s not your fault”. They asked if I wanted to call my husband but to me it wasn’t going to achieve anything I’d already had the news. I remember the doctor gave me a hug at one point I’m not sure if that’s the norm but I’ll never forget that hug as at that time it showed how sincere he was to my situation. Although he was the one delivering the news that would certainly change my life, it was him and his team that helped find the cancer that had been hiding in my body. How long it had been there who knows but had the chain of events that let to this diagnosis not happened then I may have never have known before it was all to late so for that I am extremely grateful for.
Next I was taken into a side room with the skin care nurse. He said I would probably be in shock and forget most of what had been said. I was offered a cup of tea to which I never decline. I think he was right that I did forget a few things however I do remember the cup of tea and the fact that it was definitely not up to standard and pretty rubbish. The skin care nurse was nice but I didn’t exactly feel like opening up to him. I just wanted to get home.
I drove home and when I had just pulled up to the drive Ste phoned. My first initial thought was to lie and not mention it but when I picked up the phone to him and started crying the words just came out. Ste said he’d come home at lunch I said I was fine and for him not to worry. About 30 mins later he came home and I relayed the news that change our lives as we knew it. We went for a walk in the woods and took it all in. I left the appointment with a card form the skin care nurse. The day after Ste did phone up to check what had been said unfortunately I hadn’t been mistaken I did have skin cancer.