Noel came back from the hospital the other day with a tattoo, actually, that’s not true, he had four of them. They aren’t anything fancy like ‘I luv Anne’ or ‘Programmers do it in code’. Just four tiny blue dots to mark the spot where the death ray will zap the Bastard Cancer ™
OK, not a death ray exactly, but a linear accelerator, which will dose that damned tumour with radiation five days a week for five weeks. Take that, Bastard Cancer.
We started the journey on June 25 with just five words from the consultant, ‘It’s bad news, I’m afraid’. It’s a journey I travelled more than 30 years ago with my mum, when she was diagnosed with lung cancer. What a contrast, then it was all about the treatment, not the patient, no flexibility, no information, it was done to you, not with you. It was a lonely, miserable, distressing, uncomfortable journey for everyone involved.
What a contrast in care and treatment today, we’re on first name terms with everyone, except the consultant of course, a bit like teachers, they don’t have first names. Yes, it’s a journey we’d rather not take, but we really feel that NHS clinicians and all the other staff are in the bus with us rather than giving our broken-down car a bit of a push.
Then there’s the support from friends and family, which has been overwhelming, but in a good way. I’ve been humbled by the kindness of others, from messages of support and sharing of experiences to offers of help and food, including broccoli soup and squash, Bastard Cancer hates brassicas. Suddenly the journey doesn’t feel as long and dark and lonely as it did, I think we’re going to have to get a bigger bus.