One Lump Or Two? Just One Lump of Cancer For Me Please…

I’m not scared about the lump. I’m scared there’s more than one. Which is of course completely illogical, but up until last week cancer was something that happened to other people, so logic isn’t my strength right now. My normal is no longer normal. I now have a “cancer nurse” whose mobile number is stored in my phone.

I’m okay with one lump. One lump can be cut out, removed, dissected and conquered. And while all conversation is contained on the lump, it’s pretty much all I can think about. I can now feel it, but I can’t, but I think I can. Is that it? Does my arm hurt? Is it under my arm? What’s that? Was that there before?

In a dark room with a nurse, a radiographer and a radiologist they all look at it on the screen. All I can think is that ultrasounds without babies aren’t half as interesting. There’s no happiness, no fingers and toes, no heartbeat. They measure it, poke it with a needle and then break the news that a core biopsy is needed.

“We’re going to give you a local anaesthetic, cut the skin, and then make our way to it.”

“How far down is it?”

“About a centimetre. I’ll count to three and you’ll hear a sound like this…”

I heard the sound of a stapler; a faster, louder, angry stapler”.

I wonder if we really need to upset the cancer right now? How do you take three pieces of something that’s only 4 mm long? While it has been sitting there growing I’ve left it alone. Was this going to make it angry? Was this going to make it spread? Did we really need to do this?

It felt like a punch to the boob. A precise and deliberate punch. One, two, three….wince. One, two, three…wince. By the time we got to the third I was ready to punch back.

“Do you want to see them before they go to the lab?”

Three bits of skin tissue floated in a tube of blue liquid.

“They look like little worms” I mused.

It was later when the other appointments were booked, the MRI, the X-ray, the bone test, when someone politely reminded me that we needed to check the cancer wasn’t anywhere else.

That was when logic went out the window.

That was when last week’s breathlessness at the top of the hill meant lung cancer not general unfitness. That was when the tinge in my back meant bone cancer not just the need for an ibuprofen. That was when the stitch in my side became liver or maybe even ovarian cancer. All of it obviously hiding just like the breast cancer was.

Except it’s not. It can’t be. I’m young (I know this because my surgeon who is a good twenty years older than me keeps telling me I’m young and I believe everything he says).

Tomorrow all of the tests are done. Five hours of scans, rays, dyes, and magnetic beats. Tomorrow night they will tell me that it’s just a lump, that I had nothing to worry about.

Tomorrow I can go back to being logical.

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