Results Day

Saw S2 again – yes, it’s another invasive cancer, much the same size, same grade, 6 cm from the other one. So – mastectomy on Thursday. I have opted for no re-construction at this point – maybe later, see how I feel about the new me. Maybe I should think Amazon, not mutant. The small bit of good news is that this way I avoid radiotherapy, so if my lymph nodes turn out to be clear, the only follow-up treatment recommended will be hormone therapy.

S2 was quite good this time – it wasn’t a regular clinic – she had made time to see us specially, gave us time. I said some of the hard things to her, such as how I felt I’d been “hunted down”. She said I was making things very complex – true, but these are complex matters.. When I prefaced sentences with, “I think”, she said, “Don’t think”. I understand why she says that on one level – but how can I not think?

S2 also said – and she has a point – that I need to trust that this is the right thing to do. And this is important. I have often thought that one of life’s lessons, which we have to keep re-learning at different stages, is how to discern what to accept, what to let go and what to struggle and campaign for; when to relinquish or cede control to others, and when to take control for ourselves. Although I still think that the medical establishment has taken control from me against my will, I really have to try to accept where I am now and try to trust the medics for the next bit of the process. Which does not perhaps stop me from later on continuing a campaign for better information, more help with decision-making processes for patients, and more research into the value (or not) of early diagnosis.

Part of the acceptance is also recognising that awful things happen to people in many different ways. It’s just the way it is. Too many of our friends and loved ones have experienced the untimely death of babies or children or partners or parents. I could have been in a plane or car crash (those are the things I have always feared). I could have developed any number of other medical conditions, been born in Syria, or a Palestinian village — . This time, my number has come up on the cosmic dice. No one is to blame.

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