The wait felt like forever, when in fact I think it was around week two or three that the biopsy came back. I had a neuroendocrine bladder tumour.
It was rare, fast growing and aggressive. Of course, I wasn't going to have a normal cancer was I? I sat in Mr N’s room, trying to take the information in. I didn't know what “neuroendocrine tumour” meant, let alone how this was going to affect my life. We were still waiting for another test to come back too. It was all so overwhelming, so consuming, I couldn't believe this was actually happening to me, to us, to my family.
Trying to cope with everyday life when you are awaiting test results is horrific. All of a sudden the word ‘cancer’ was everywhere.
Even in our local Tesco’s, their bags were now pink to symbolise breast cancer. The TV was constantly playing Macmillan and Cancer Research adverts. I couldn't get away from cancer, it was everywhere. How could this be happening to me? What had I done to deserve this? What was going to happen to me? It was explained that I would “most probably” need chemotherapy and that Mr N had arranged for me to see an oncologist, however they were waiting for one more result to come back and this was to see whether the tumour was long cell or small cell.
We left the office almost as bewildered as before but at least we had something to ‘Google’ and we could research information.
I think this helped as it was the first positive thing that we could do but it wasn't the news we wanted to hear. Long cell seemed the better option, small cell didn't sound great at all, obviously I would have rather had neither but if we had to choose, long cell would be my preference.
Small cell had such a low survival rate. At the time, it was something like only seven percent of people with small call bladder cancer actually made it to the five year mark. I Googled the hell out of it. Nope, try as I might it didn't get much better than that.
Every day we sent a text to our lovely urology nurse asking if the results were back. Then the day came where I received a call from Mr N himself.
He wouldn't tell me the results over the phone but if I could get there in the next hour, he would wait for us. Frantically I kept calling Tim, who was at work and not answering his phone. I became hysterical and decided that I was going over there with or without him. My dear friend Sue came and picked me up as we were meant to be going for coffee, but stuff the coffee and cake, I NEEDED to know. I HAD to know!
Tim called me back and agreed to meet me there. It was the longest journey ever. Tractors, old men driving at 30mph and lorries all come out of the woodwork and what should have been an 40-45 minute journey took hours. Well, it felt like hours.
We arrived at almost the same time. Sitting outside in the waiting room, watching people go about their business, I knew that these results were going to have such an effect on my life.
No amount of wishing, finger crossing or even bargaining with God was going to change those results.
We were called into the room. The air felt heavy. I didn't want pleasantries, I just needed to know. Mr N spoke, “Now I’m not saying this to upset…” that was all I needed to hear to know that that this wasn't the ‘better’ news, this was the worst news I could be given.
I felt the tears falling from my face as he continued to speak… it was indeed a neuroendocrine, small cell bladder tumour. F**k what was going to happen to me now?