The Emotions of a Cancer Diagnosis
There are some days and dates in your life that you will just never forget. Like the birth of your child or the day you got married. Being diagnosed with cancer is also one of those days. I remember it so clearly, so vividly.
The routine appointment
It was a Monday morning, my appointment for my cystoscopy was scheduled for 10.30 am in the Drs office. I duly arrived on time, in fact I was a little early as on this occasion my parents had insisted on driving me to the appointment and they always needed to allow extra time for any "unexpected delays" such as traffic or being unable to find a parking space.
I checked in with the Receptionist and then sat down with my parents and began to chatter away. I wasn't duly concerned. I had had this procedure done before and knew what to expect.
"Mrs. Norris" I heard the Nurse call. "Doctor is ready for you now". In I went smiling at my parents. "Shouldn't take long" I said.
Preparing for the cystoscopy
I got undressed from the waist down and was given the usual hospital robe to put on. The worst part for me was the embarrassment of baring all my "lady bits". But the Doctor and Nurse always managed to put me at ease and before I knew it the scope had been inserted into my bladder and I was looking at the screen. The same screen that the Doctor was looking at, as the scope entered further up into my bladder. I always found this bit weirdly fascinating.
Seeing the tumor
Then I saw IT! Something I didn't recognize. It was like a fully formed small tree, with branches, wafting merrily from side to side. The Doctor stopped moving the scope, "that shouldn't be there", he said. After what seemed like an eternity I plucked up the courage to ask him, was it good or bad. "That is cancer" was his rather sombre reply. I saw the Nurses face behind him, she was asking if I was OK. "Can I get you anything", she asked. "My Mum, can you please get me my Mum".
I have always tried to have "PMA", a positive mental attitude, in all aspects of my life. I endeavored to instill this at every opportunity to my two sons and even more so in my work life.
At work I even attended courses on positivity and how to pass this onto my staff to aid in promoting improved morale in the workplace. It was something that I had chosen to live by and felt that my positivity served me well. And in fact for the most part it did, but being given a possible life threatening cancer diagnosis is something I never expected to be dealing with. Not at 53 years of age, and for the first time in for as long as I could remember, I certainly wasn't feeling very positive. I felt numb, like this wasn't really happening a dizzy kind of feeling mixed in with a certain amount of nausea. Terror had just hit me like a hammer!
So glad I wasn't alone
I was so glad that day that I wasn't alone as for so many of my appointments I insisted on taking myself. The only reason being, that I didn't want to inconvenience anyone. It was at this point I realized I wouldn't be able to take this journey alone. Me, always there for everybody else, me who always wanted to see the positive in any given situation. Me, I had realized was scared, terrified in fact and it was perfectly understandable. I had never experienced these kinds of feelings before, the vulnerability, the need of having someone there with me to share the load. It was a feeling that was very alien to me, but one that I was going to have to come to terms with. I realized my positivity and strength was going to be greatly tested. Now was my time of practicing what I had been teaching and I knew it wasn't going to be easy. Why was I finding this so difficult to deal with? My Mother gave me the answer. "You are only human, Shirley", she said.
How long did it take to get diagnosed after your first symptom(s) appeared?