The pace in which things happen when you go through the process of being diagnosed with a cancer is intense. In the space of a few weeks, I’d clocked up 3 appointments per week, with the routine being something like:

  • Appointment 1: Some form of scan/biopsy
  • Appointment 2: Some form of consultation
  • Appointment 3: Results from scan/biopsy, and request for extra examinations

It felt like the ultimate test in multitasking and time management. I would be in the office in the morning, shoot off to either Charing Cross, or Marylebone for a few hours, then come back to finish up the rest of my day. Piece of cake!

I’d fit in the appointments during the week, and for the most part, it would be business as usual back at my desk.  I’d convinced myself that as each new week came, it would get easier. That I would be able to digest things from the week before, and be mentally ready for the next appointment.

The reality was, I was struggling. I had my game face on during the working day, and I was internalising things.  Besides my boss and a handful of people, nobody knew. I was just dealing with it the only way I knew how, by pretending everything was fine.

Every now and again, I’d go to the toilet, and lock myself in a cubicle and just cry. For a few minutes during the day, that would be my release. Then I’d flush the toilet, head back to my desk, and take the next client call. Quite frankly, it was crap!

A week after the mastectomy discussion, Katy had told me that the biopsy results had come back confirming my cancer was invasive, and that it had reached a lymphnode.  That my cancer was based on too much oestrogen in my body.  They couldn’t tell how much was precancer compared to invasive, but I would need a CT scan and a bone scan, to ensure that it hadn’t spread anywhere else. Katy was 99% sure it would be clear, but as a precaution the scans would be required.  I would also need to take a gene test, to see if I had any genetic formation that caused the cancer to develop in the first place.  Oh, and did I forget to mention chemo? Yep, chemo was on the cards!  I’d need to book an appointment with the oncologist as soon as I could to discuss the treatment plan.

What do you do when you get all that information in one single appointment?  If you’re me, you default to nodding dog, you fill the gaps with “Ok“, and “uhuh“. Then you go home, and a few hours later you cry, because by that point, that’s when it starts to sink in.

You cry about the fact that for over a year you’ve had a tumour developing inside your left breast, and you didn’t even know.

You cry about the fact that your left breast will be removed.

You cry about the fact that with chemo, your long thick hair will likely fall out.

You cry about the fact that the chemo will likely f*ck up your ovaries, and you’ll need to accept that having kids may not happen.

You cry about the fact that you have no control over what is happening.

You cry about the fact that every single thing that defines you as a woman is being stripped away week by week!

You cry because the pace and information is just too much.

You just cry until you can’t cry anymore.

Then you go to bed, you have very broken sleep, and you start the day as if it were any other day, with your game face on.

Because, that’s what you do when you’re fine. And that’s what I did with all that information!