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Faith, fiction and cancer stuff.

The diagnosis

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We had to wait one week for the official diagnosis. That was not a nice week. The worst thing was the ‘What ifs’.

My worst fear was that the cancer had already spread to other organs or bones, which would be picked up in the CT or bone scans.

Whenever I started to think ‘What if they tell me that it has spread to another organ and I have 6 months to live?’ I began to ask myself better ‘What ifs’ instead. Like ‘What if God is in control?’ ‘What if God loves me and has a plan for my life?’ ‘What if when I die I will spend eternity in Heaven with him?’ And the answers to these questions are ‘He is’; ‘He does’. and ‘I will’.

Of course I don’t want to die young and of course I want to see my children grow up. But – I am not afraid of dying because I know where I am going. And everybody’s body lets them down in the end – some earlier than others. However, God still loves me and God still holds me and my family in his hands. God is not punishing me as some people may think – we live in a fallen world and everyone gets sick and eventually dies. My body in this world is weak, but my spirit will live forever.

Philippians 1:20-21 came to mind:

20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

So, I had the CT and bone scans the same day that I saw the consultant and had the diagnosis.

I was anxious about both scans beforehand. For the bone scan, I had to be injected with some radiation three hours before. I couldn’t be in close contact with kids for 24 hours afterwards, so my children spent the night at their grandparents’ house.

That morning, I prayed for peace from God. The CT scan was over quickly but the bone scan took 25 minutes, and the first few involved the machine being very close to my face for a few minutes. The radiographers were all kind and put on some background music- I remember that one of the songs was ‘Locomotion’ by Kylie, which I had loved as a little kid.

During both scans, I clearly felt Jesus standing next to me. During the bone scan I felt his hand on my arm. My sister told me later that she had been praying the night before that I would feel Jesus’ presence with me at the hospital. 🙂

Straight after the bone scan we went to the consultant appointment, more than half an hour early. He saw us almost right away. My breast cancer nurse was there, as well as a student doctor.

The consultant (who I found out will be my surgeon) explained that I did have breast cancer and it had spread to my lymph nodes. Everyone was staring at me, waiting for me to cry I suppose. I didn’t, instead felt calm and not at all surprised. I had got my head around the idea that I had cancer and was only concerned that it may have spread.

The surgeon then said that they usually do body scans to check that the cancer had not spread: he had forgotten that he had ordered them the previous week!

Mike said that I had just had both that day and the surgeon checked the system. I was surprised that they were already there to see, as had been told that the results usually take a week to come through. He checked the CT scan first and said that was fine. Then he looked at the bone scan and said ‘I will just check with a colleague as sometimes these aren’t clear…’ and I thought oh dear.

We were ushered out of the room and spoke to the nurse while he was talking to another consultant.

A few minutes later, he and his student came into the room.

He asked if I had broked a rib recently, and I replied no I hadn’t. He said that I had. It took me a little while to remember that I had a very bad cough for 6 months of last year, and at one point had pulled a muscle in my back. Aha – that must’ve been when I had actually broken a rib! Surely it would have hurt more? I hadn’t even been to see the GP as it wasn’t that bad and I just used some deep heat.

So that was the source of the confusion over my scan. What a massive relief!

Mike and I both left the hospital that day tired but so relieved. I actually felt quite positive that at last I had a firm diagnosis.

We updated our family and friends soon afterwards. We have been blessed with a great support network and I know that will will get through the treatments and illness and fatigue and all the horrible side effects, with their help and of course God’s.

I was supposed to see the oncologist at the end of April, but there was a last minute cancellation so treatment has been brought forward by two weeks. I am grateful for this as would rather get it started soon and over and done with as soon as possible.

I will be having 6 cycles of chemotherapy, followed by surgery, radiotherapy and then hormone treatments. In total, I will hopefully be better in about a year. There will be lots of ups and downs but we’ll get there. I value your thoughts and prayers.

I have had a haircut – shorter than I’ve ever had it. I really like it and am grateful to the hairdresser at OMG in town for doing such a great job.

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Author: Alex

I am a teacher and love reading and writing. I write short stories, poetry, blogs and children's stories. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2015.

2 thoughts on “The diagnosis

  1. I will be praying for you and your family. This is a hard time but you are strong in your faith in God. I love that! You are right there will be ups and downs, but more ups than downs! Many realize that life changes after cancer, but what they don’t realize is that it is only better! Your faith will be stronger, you will appreciate everything that much more than everyone else, and you will actually live your life which so many do not do. Good luck! I will be praying that your strength remains this beautiful!

  2. Hi Alex,
    Thanks for sharing your full story so far.
    It’s good to know all you’re going through.
    You’re doing well so far, best of success.
    I and the rest of the family will be with you all the way.

    Goodness! I didn’t realise you broke a rib with all that coughing! Hope it goes away fully soon.

    Love you.
    I don’t always say it, but you’re awesome, and have always been an inspiration to me. As kids and teenagers, you were always better than me at everything.

    Vince

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