Ruth’s Journey – Part 4
A breast cancer patient’s journey – “Waiting for the biopsy results”
Ruth Taylor, 45, is a mum of two who was diagnosed with breast cancer back in May 2016. We are honoured to share her journey from initial diagnosis, informing her family, through to chemo and radiotherapy. She hopes to raise awareness and educate others about breast cancer, while firmly kicking cancer back where it belongs. This is the fourth instalment in her guest blog.
Once I was home from the ordeal of the biopsy I spent a good while just hugging Andrew and I let the tears come. I felt so emotionally drained and very small and vulnerable. I was so glad it was over but in the back of my mind I felt that this was going to be just the beginning.
I knew that I would have a long, long wait until the results were back and that nothing I could do would make the date come around any faster. So, how to beat those constant nagging reminders? I decided to fix in my brain a date that I thought would realistically be long enough to have definite news by – I had been told it would take 10 to 14 days and so I erred on the side of caution and told myself that I would know by the end of May.
Once I had set that as my timeframe, I doggedly decided to keep to “business as usual”. I took two days off work and allowed myself to sleep and rest and I indulged in small treats, like a white chocolate Magnum ice cream when I walked to the village shop to get some provisions, an extra long soak in the shower, a decadent hour or so of surfing Facebook and BBC IPlayer and a good few rather large gin & tonics made the way I love them, with lots of ice and chopped fresh basil – yum!!!
Being with family
I also had other things to occupy my mind. On the Thursday evening after the biopsy I flew down to London to spend the weekend with my Mum and brother. Sadly, my cousin John Norton had passed away from a brain tumour and I had decided I really wanted to go to his funeral and to be with my family at this sad time.
We travelled to Milton Keynes for the funeral on the train and we met up with a lot of my family that I had not seen in years. I managed to keep things together until towards the end of the service, but then the effect of seeing his brother Nick in tears and his wife hugging their son Craig overwhelmed me and I could not help but let the tears come flooding out. I remembered thinking that his closer family would probably wonder why I was being so emotional given that, although I was very fond of John, we were not especially close as he was quite a lot older than me and we seldom saw each other.
I could not help think about what my funeral would be like – as John had known that he was going to die, he had spent some time planning how he wanted his farewell to go. I thought about what I would want at my funeral and I got quite irritated by the religious aspect of the service – It had not occurred to me that my cousin might believe in God, and I felt that he had been duped and that his God had not done him much good, but then I realised that I was being extremely judgemental and bigoted – if John’s religion had brought him some comfort and helped him to get through the horrible days that he must have endured, then I was extremely grateful that it had helped him in some way.
But I did not really dwell on those dark thoughts for long and we spent a lovely afternoon in a pub catching up on family news and exchanging memories of times we had shared with John. He was a wonderful guy and it was lovely to see so many of his family come together to remember him.
Looking back on the time between my biopsy and the results, I do not recall many sleepless nights or fretful hours wondering what might lie ahead. Over the years I have been quite a serious worrier, but I have found that as a consequence I have slowly come round to the view that I will not dwell on the things that I cannot change, so I kept telling myself “What will be will be. I cannot change the diagnosis, so until they tell me what the results are there is absolutely nothing I can do”.
Having said this, I was very pleased when I got notification that my appointment to see the doctor and get my results was scheduled for 26th May, only 9 days after the biopsy. So, this time there was no doubt in both our minds, Andrew was coming with me, so that we would both hear first hand what the medics had to say and we would both get an opportunity to ask whatever questions we might have.
This blog is part of an ongoing series by Ruth, so don’t forget to visit back for her next instalment.
Missed out on the previous blog post? Click here to read it.