Stories of Cancer
Giving Voice to Real Experiences

Bleak Midwinter

The other doctor behind the desk was clearly the most senior and took charge by speaking first

“Do you mind the student nurse sitting in?”

I sighed, “It’s fine” At that point I didn’t give a toss who was in the room, I just wanted to be told what the test results were.

He introduced everyone and now I know he’s the consultant surgeon and the young woman is part of his surgical team. We also get introduced to Jane, the breast care nurse. I feel relieved that there is someone in the medical team that I can turn to for support.

Calmly, confidently, the surgeon said:

“The lump does need removing, then after surgery we’ll do tests on it, which will tell us what further treatment is needed”

“What are my options?”

“Usually surgery and radiotherapy will be enough but sometimes chemotherapy is required”

He agreed to do the new procedure of removing the sentinel lymph node under the arm, and explained how this would work. He also pointed out that if they found that there had already been spread to other lymph nodes I might have to have another operation to remove all the nodes.

“Let’s get you booked in for surgery – next Friday?”

Panic, I’ve got work to do – and it’s my birthday – “does it have to be then?” This is ridiculous, I know we have to move quickly but it all feels too fast for me. We settle on two weeks today so that I can have a birthday bash.

Terry lets out a sigh of relief.

We left the hospital feeling that we could trust the doctor and his team. Both the surgeon and the junior doctor had been sympathetic, kind and knowledgeable. We walked home through the gloomy December day, wrapped in our own thoughts and fears, slowly beginning to think about who we needed to contact and what they would all say.

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