12/01/15 Four years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. It was just supposed to be an ultra sound in my lunch break at work to tell me the lump in my neck was nothing to be concerned with “it was not a tumour!” but I heard all of the words you didn't want to hear - cancer, metastases, primary, secondaries, urgent, no time and before I knew it, I had appointments for a CT scan, needle biopsy, Oncologist, surgery, chemo and possible radiation therapy.
As I sat in the waiting room for my CT scan, I looked around at what my future looked like – scans, biopsies, blood tests, ultrasounds, waiting rooms, hospitals. I looked and I mean really looked at the people around me with smiles and nods that tried so hard to hide the fear they felt. The energy was so erratic, laden with fear, sadness, timid optimism and forced smiles and all of sudden I felt sick and wanted to vomit. But I pulled myself together and told myself to “toughen up princess”. Then I had the uncontrollable urge to run and just as I was about to bolt for the door, they called my name and I weirdly felt my legs carry me toward the voice.
As I dressed in my gown and sat in the cold cubicle that felt like the walls were caving in, claustrophobia that I didn’t know I had started creeping in. I heard myself repeating over and over in my head, the words my Doctor told me “this is how we treat cancer”, “this is how we treat cancer”, “this is how we treat cancer”. Something was off but I couldn’t pin point it. I just kept thinking "Oh My God in 2 weeks time I will have half of my throat cut out and in 4 weeks time be vomiting like I’ve never done before only I won’t have to worry about holding my hair back because I won’t have any!!!!!"
I’m about to run out as fast as I can and never come back, but I’m too late, they call me through. I’m standing there all vulnerable in my gown and she starts telling me about the stuff they will inject into me and how I may react to it. I may get a rash but I could go into anaphylaxis but not to worry because they are well equipped to deal with it and we have the best cardiac facility across the road. There is all of a sudden a ringing in my ears and I can see her lips moving but can't hear anything.
I’m still pondering this new threat to my life when I find myself laying there watching the needle go in and the dye start to enter into my body. Not long after, to my horror, I realise that I have wet myself. I raise my arm and the nurse rolls her eyes and comes into the room. I apologise to her saying I really didn’t have the urge to go before but I have wet my pants. She didn’t hide her annoyance at having to repeat herself, as she had told me before that this is also a side effect of the injection. I told her that I didn’t hear anything after she said cardiac arrest & anaphylactic shock!
What on earth had I just allowed them to put in my body??? What is wrong with me? Why didn’t I ask questions? What’s going on?
“Because”, a voice in my head said, “This is how it is. This is how we treat cancer. Suck it up like everyone else has before you”……. and then it hit me… a tiny word “we”. It suddenly dawned on me and I realised that ”we” didn’t include me. I had become completely irrelevant as nobody actually asked me how I wanted to treat this, nobody asked me I wanted. Not one single person in the medical profession asked me how I wanted to proceed, how I wanted to life to go from this point and all of a sudden the girl that had no voice, had never spoken her truth or put herself first finally stood up and for the first time in her life said NO!!!.