I hope I never see you again,’, she said it with a smile and she meant it. The oncologist shook Noel’s hand and wished him and his cancer-free lymph nodes farewell. The day had suddenly got better by one million per cent and a major celebration was in order, preferably involving chips. I’m cheap to keep.
Of course with Bastard Cancer you can never say never, but that 20-minute conversation with Dr Cooper was as good as handing him a badge saying ‘Cancer Free’.
We had stepped into the hospital earlier with some trepidation. A phone call from the booking service on Tuesday had summoned us for a meeting two days later with no explanation as to why. Noel didn’t bat an eyelid, I had a mini meltdown.
I don’t think there’s one day since June 24 2019, when the consultant told us, ‘it’s bad news, I’m afraid’ that the word cancer hasn’t been in my thoughts or on my lips, usually preceded by ‘bastard’ and sometimes, when I was low on my swearing quota, ‘fucking bastard cancer, the bastard’.
From June until December, the journey has been about surgery, zapping and poisoning the tumour and then more surgery to remove the shrunken tumour. Now that surgery is done, we hoped that the journey would be smoother, a road to recovery, picking up running shoes, climbing harness and eventually skis, though that will have to wait until next season.
The pathologists have done their bit, scouring the homeless tumour for bad cells. Of course they found bad cells, that’s why they were cut out, but there were none where they shouldn’t have been. None. They had removed 20 lymph nodes and they were clear. CLEAR. Ha ha, take that, bastard cancer.
So the meeting was to tell us that there was no need for any more chemotherapy. I couldn’t believe my ears, I was in danger of grinning so much my head would fall off. Noel was in mortal peril of actually smiling, it doesn’t happen very often, but this merited a twitching of the corners of the mouth. Hey, make the most of it.
Even though the weather was dull when we went in and when we came out, it seemed somehow brighter. The multi-storey car park glowed inside and didn’t smell of wee. Our every turn to the exit was a pleasure. Life was good. Life is good.
Noel fancied something a little more exotic than chips, as far as I was concerned he could have what the hell he wanted, it was his day. So off we went to a favourite haunt, the Mill Kitchen at Farsley where he had cous cous (so good, they named it twice), broccoli and tomato salad with frittata, while I tucked into a power waffle with quinoa and chia seeds. Tomorrow we’re having chips. But there’s the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that……..