Stories of Cancer
Giving Voice to Real Experiences

A Hell of a Month

Tuesday July 6th

Four days later I had an appointment at hospital with a gynaecologist. The speed of getting the appointment was impressive but unfortunately we did not hit it off very well. To say that he lacked a bedside manner would be putting it very mildly. He was blunt, unsympathetic and almost dismissive of my anxiety. I had been given the impression that I would have a CT scan but when I told him so he was clearly not amused. “I don’t know why you thought that”, he said obviously feeling threatened. “No this is just for a blood test. You’ll have to wait a couple of weeks for a scan”. Maybe he was undermined by my assertiveness – well bad luck!

I had the blood test and he booked a scan but couldn’t give me a date. “It could be two weeks but that won’t make any difference” he said curtly. Well maybe not to you in a clinical sense but it sure will to me emotionally and psychologically buddy! I may have been just one of many patients to him but to me this was massive. To be told that cancer is a distinct possibility and then to be treated with such little empathy seemed so cold and heartless. I’d love to get involved in training young doctors is a thought that has quite frequently crossed my mind.

Somehow I managed to keep working and to stay as normal as possible although I did tell some close friends and my mother. They were all very concerned and some tried to be reassuring whilst others asked lots of questions, some of which I couldn’t answer. My news clearly stirred up fear for them and thoughts of their own mortality too.

At least I had a nurse specialist allocated to me at the unpleasant consultation at hospital and I liked her. She had a good balance of empathy and reassurance with realism. She now had become my point of contact and would chase up appointments, etc. which was a huge relief.

Tuesday July 13th

A week passed and the nurse rang and told me that my CA125 blood test was elevated which is an indication of ovarian cancer and gave me a date for a CT scan. Thank goodness I was now being referred to an oncologist.

Once again I felt both fear and relief that I had a scan date and another consultant. I had begun to tell my clients (I am a psychotherapist) that I may need treatment.

Thursday July 15th

Two days later I had my CT scan – which was a fairly benign experience – just involved drinking orange fluid and having dye injected to show up the blood vessels. Unfortunately I found out afterwards that I was allergic to the dye, Iodine, as I started coming up in itchy lumps! Piriton helped relieve them and I was left to wait what seemed like an agonising two weeks for the results of the scan.

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