My husband and I sat on a chair together in the waiting room. I had been in this waiting room a handful of times before but never with him. Despite it being in “Covid” times I hadn’t thought to ask was it ok to bring him with me to this appointment for my results but I am so glad I did. They called my name and we stepped forward, it was then that I saw that bright pink leaflet in the nurse’s hand and I knew this wasn’t going to be good. I wanted to grab John’s hand and run. The nurse and consultant introduced themselves and then very swiftly the bad news was delivered. I had cancer. I had breast cancer and it was node positive. I cried… how was this possible? Didn’t they know I had four small boys at home and one of them was a newborn? Didn’t they know I was only 35? I asked all these questions like they had decided on my diagnosis! Very swiftly “Action Laura” arrived in the room. I was a nurse. I had been with hundreds of people over the years as good and bad news was delivered to them. Unfortunately, I knew all the right questions to ask and wished I could feel numb as the answers were given to me. I was to have scans in 2 days’ time to see if the cancer had spread and a further biopsy in a week’s time to plan for my surgery. They were hopeful that when I came in for the biopsy on the Tuesday, they would have the scan results then and we would know what we were dealing with.
When we walked out the door of the hospital, we turned to each other and at the same time we said we didn’t want the boys to know. It’s like we read each other’s minds. My eldest had just turned four and we really didn’t feel they needed to know what was happening. I don’t remember much of the journey home. There were a lot of tears. My heart broke as I called my Dad to tell him the news and telling my sisters was no easier. John’s parents were meeting us at the house when we got home, they were basking in taking their newest grandson for a walk having been kept from him for so long because of the Covid restrictions. I’ll never forget how they held me in that moment and told me they loved me.
Pretty soon the troops had been mobilised, my sisters and my Dad arrived too. We cried, we laughed, we hugged and we planned and we did all this while playing in the sunshine with the boys. The boys were oblivious. Thank God. They couldn’t believe their luck having all these people that they loved in the same space again. My eldest declaring as we tucked him into bed that night “this was the best day ever”…. Well, I’m glad someone is enjoying themselves!
I kissed and held the boys so tight that night as we put them to bed. It had been a long day and we were so tired but John and I had so much to talk about. We cried and laughed some more. But the most important thing we did that night was we made a CHOICE. We decided this would not get the better of us. We would be positive and we would deal with this with every ounce of grace we had.
We kept the news to ourselves until I had my scans and got the results and we knew exactly what we were dealing with. John’s siblings were away and we didn’t want to take away from their long-awaited holidays when we had more questions than answers.
I had my scans on the Friday and I can say hand on my heart the weekend that followed was the worst of our lives. It was torture waiting for the results. I knew if it was contained to the one area, I would be ok, but how could I even contemplate that it had spread… what would my boys do?
Tuesday morning arrived; I had my biopsy. The staff were amazing but it wasn’t easy. We raced upstairs to the waiting room, nail biting and feet tapping in the waiting room… they called my name… I thought I was going to be sick. We went into the room, shook hands and the chit chat was torture. I kept glancing at the paper in his hands trying to read it… my consultant sensed my impatience I’m sure and cut to the chase. Our prayers had been answered, it was good news. It hadn’t spread. I had won the lotto, the sense of relief was immense. Now to talk about the big stuff. My surgery. I was given my options and asked to have a think about them and we would all come up with a plan when we met the following week. My surgery date was booked… Friday 21st August!
So much has happened since then and I will write about it. Not only because it is therapeutic for me but because it’s so important to raise awareness about breast cancer, I was 35 and I didn’t display any of the ‘typical’ symptoms… I had no lump, no change in size or skin changes. My symptoms could have easily been dismissed as pregnancy related.
I get messages every week asking me how I stay so positive and keep on smiling? My answer… why not? We all have a choice. I choose to see the good. I have every reason to believe that come April I will be able to put this all behind me. I choose to see my husband’s love for me and our family, I choose to see my boys smile, I choose to see the rainbow after the rain… the list is endless but it’s all a reason for me to smile!