Today was the day I went back to the doctor for the results and findings of my CT scan. To say I was petrified would be an understatement.
Three weeks ago I had an abdominal ultrasound scan to see if I had any random cysts floating around. I had no symptoms, but an ongoing minor condition apparently leaves me predisposed to this. It was a precautionary scan.
I mentioned in a previous post that the scanning doctor found a peculiar shape in my right kidney, thought to be a stone but it didn't look like a 'normal' kidney stone.
What I didn't mention previously, however, was that something else was seen. Something far more terrifying and potentially serious to the point of fatal. A hypodense mass measuring 12 x 13 x 9mm on the head of my pancreas.
This was bad. Very, very bad. And that was why I was sent for a CT scan.
Naturally, one's brain immediately flips to the worst case scenario; pancreatic cancer; then back to... "I have no symptoms, they must have it wrong", then back to, "no - there's must be something there otherwise they wouldn't have said anything. What is it?" And so on and so on. I knew enough to realise that if it was cancer, I was in deep trouble. This was beyond serious. Even if it was "just" a cyst, I'd be having an operation followed by more tests.
Against general advice, but it's something that I had to do, I hit Google for more information and have since become quite an expert in the ailments and different growths applicable to the pancreas. Basically, I discovered that whatever it was would indicate the start of a whole heap of crap.
Most of the time I was able to partially detach myself from it all. I had to. It was the only way to cope over these past three weeks. Life had to go on and there was no way I was going to let Rhiannon know what I was facing.
Some of you may already know, but in case you don't, Rhiannon had her own cancer scare in 2009. She had a rapidly growing mole removed which, after testing, showed to have massive numbers of abnormal cells in it. It was called an Atypical Spitz Nevus. She had to go back for a much larger resection where they got it all and she needed no other treatment. It was a hard time for all of us and her fear of doctors and all their accoutrements has never left her. She is also aware precisely why she had to have to operations.
Anyway, I had to force myself to wait until today for the results: I only fell apart when nobody else was around. I couldn't sleep. Last week I had to put it all out of my head in order to go to London.
But this week was tough. I had nothing to look forward to and my thoughts were all over the place.
"I won't see Rhiannon grow up", "Rhiannon will lose her mum, what will that do to her?" "I might be dead by Christmas?" "Which songs do I want at my funeral?" "I wonder what German hospitals are like." They were constant. I could barely look at my gorgeous daughter sometimes, the pain was physical. My heart broke countless times.
Yesterday was the worst and I didn't stop crying until Rhiannon phoned me on the way home from school, then it was time to pull myself together again and be 'normal'.
By today I had disconnected myself totally ready for my GP appointment at lunchtime. Tim had taken special leave to come with me.
We waited for quite a while then I was taken into a room and given an ECG. Why? I have no idea - perhaps they wanted to make sure I wouldn't drop dead with heart failure when they told me the bad news? Yes, this was the way my mind was working by that point.
Eventually the doctor came in.
I held my breath.
"There's nothing there", she said. "You're absolutely fine".
I made her repeat that several times.
No, nothing there at all. Not even a kidney stone.
She could offer no explanation, just stupendously good news.
I got out as soon as I could to tell Tim and we all went out for a celebratory meal this evening.
I'm still disconnected; I had to go a long way away from myself in order to cope with it all so it hasn't really sunk in yet.
But I'm sure after a good night's sleep I will be ready for the rest of my life.