What a day.

Wellllll…….

Where to start.

I suppose it starts here.

‘I want to make sure you have good support’ Mr K is saying. His words feel strange. Like they’re floating in the air in a strange order. I’m not sure I understand. What is he saying? What is he not saying?

‘Deepti (my other surgeon, if you remember. My best friend) wanted to be here but she couldn’t…’ He continues. ‘She wanted to be the one to talk to you. I want to make sure that aside from surgical stuff, you are being supported.’

Why is he saying this?
Oh.
I’m being obtuse aren’t it.
I snap out of it.

‘It’s cancer isn’t it.’
‘There is disease, yes.’
‘You mean cancer.’
‘Yes.’

‘Fuck………………… What’s the plan. Tell me you have a plan.’
‘I do. I do have a plan. But it’s not going to be easy. Going in again…’

Sooooo he sends me off to get a needle stuck in my neck.
The specialist nurse walks me over to the biopsy. He’s still calling it a scan.
‘I’m not super keen about having a needle stuck in my neck but cool.’ I laugh.
He doesn’t reply.

And it is a needle being stuck in my neck. They say they don’t think there’s anything to worry about, cancer wise, but it’s good to check. They give me local anaesthetic and then they go in. They prod around for a while. I have a little cry into the bench thing they’ve got me lying on. They get confused why I’m crying. I tell them it’s probably because they’re sticking an unsolicited needle in my neck. They don’t really understand.

Then suddenly it hurts. It really hurts. I say ow. I say ow ow ow.
They say ‘I’m so sorry, that was my fault. I’m sorry. Get it out get it out!’
They hurriedly pull the needle out then they scan my neck with the ultrasound to see if I’m bleeding out into my neck.
I’m not.
She apologises many more times.
That’s not supposed to happen, you see. It’s just that every time they try to stick a needle into my gland, my gland runs away.
Yeah well it probably doesn’t like a needle being stuck into it, does it.
They try again and this time they succeed after a while.
It hurts. It really hurts. 6 hours later it still hurts.

I go back to see Mr K to get the details.
So the cancer has come back. And it is aggressive. Really aggressive. It is huge. I look at it in the scan. It looks like it takes up the whole of the bottom of my eye socket. The whole of my cheekbone. I wonder how much of my face I will lose. My cheek? My nose? My brow? My eye? Will I be able to talk? Sing? See?

We look at the previous scans. The one in September, the mass is tiny. A little blip. But the one last week, it is huge. In less than 6 weeks it has gone mad. Taken over. No wonder there’s pain. No wonder I can’t see out of that eye properly.

He informs me that the eye will go.
He says it in such a quiet voice that I lean forward to try and catch what he is saying. Like the snippets are flying out into the room and I need to grab them before they’re gone forever.

I will lose my eye on Monday. My right eye.

‘But what about the structure of my face?’ I say tentatively, worrying that he will think I’m glossing over the information he just gave me.
‘You shouldn’t. You will lose one implant (the infected one. Yep there’s an infection too) and the eye, but the structure of your face should stay.’

I will keep my teeth. I will keep my nose. My cheekbone? It doesn’t sound like it will threaten my singing…

An eye? I’ve got two. I’ve met people who have survived with one eye.

The thing is, I thought about this last week. When I went in for the biopsy. I thought, it’s cancer. Of course it is, why wouldn’t it be. It’s a lump in my face where I had cancer. Of course it’s back. I can hope for an infection, but why on earth would it be that. It’s cancer. I’ll lose my eye.

I mourned it for a moment. I cried. And then I thought of my favourite character (High King Margo) in a TV show I love (The Magicians).

Eyepatches in Film and Television | Page 4 | Steve Hoffman Music Forums

If she can rock it……….

I showed Mr K this photo and said it’s giving me inspiration. I thought it would make him smile, break the sorrow I saw across his face. But it had the opposite effect.
He wasn’t happy. He told me not to be sarcastic. He told me not to make jokes. He wasn’t smiling, he was disappointed in me.
I tried to tell him it was about the only thing that was helping me to keep it together right now, I am so, so serious. This is giving me hope.
I’m not sure he saw it that way and we parted ways. For now.

I can take it in any way I like, see? I’m the one it’s happening to. However I react is right for me. I know it wasn’t easy for him to give me that news. I know how hard he took it. He doesn’t want this any more than I do.
I need him to take it seriously. If he doesn’t get inspiration from the same things I do, that’s ok. He’s the one going into battle on Monday. He’s the one who has to make it happen. He’s the one who needs to get me through. My life, once again, in his capable hands. (And he clearly doesn’t watch SciFi TV shows…)

But here we are.

On Friday I go in to be consented for the surgery.

On Sunday I go in to prepare for surgery.

On Monday I lose my right eye.

And hopefully also the cancer.

It’s hard to have confidence that they will be able to get it out, because obviously history is not great on that. But you’ve got to have hope, don’t you. If you don’t have hope, what do you have?

26 Comments Add yours

  1. Jayne says:

    Oh Jen, what rubbish news for you. Your ability to write so calmly and frankly about this is quite remarkable. I am sending you all my good wishes and positive vibes: I truly hope all goes well with the operation and that you make a fabulous recovery. Xx

    Like

    1. Jen Eve says:

      Thank you. I can feel the good wishes and positive vibes, they help so much! xx

      Like

  2. Ella says:

    I just read the email and it’s a huge pile of crap! I’m not going to pretend for a second I understand how you feel, I don’t. However I know you are kick ass strong! I wish there had been more candour and less cock ups with appointments leading you to semi know without any confirmation.
    Look at this link you will be able to have a fabulous patch! https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/229226196/eye-patch-rainbow-rhinestones-pride
    With love Ella

    Like

  3. Andrew Taylor says:

    It’s not the news we wanted to hear, Jen. However we’ll deal with it as best we can. Your spirit is amazing and there wouldn’t be a Dad more proud of his daughter than I am of you.
    Hang in there old chum, Mum and I are here for you and we’ll go through this together.
    We’ll have to try and work out how to get to the UK during this Covid time but obviously won’t get there by Monday. From the sound of it ,the sooner surgery can be performed the better.

    All of our love you special person.

    Mum & Dad. ❤️❤️

    Like

    1. Jen Eve says:

      I’m hanging, all right!
      Thank you 🙂 Feeling good, feeling keen to get this done!
      Love you both xxx

      Like

  4. Lorna says:

    Oh dear Jenna , that’s not good news and one of the worst things was that surgeon trying to take away from the one thing that was helping you hold it together. I cried when I read that. Well , you WILL rock the look like you rock all the looks. Hope you get your Deepti back too and the main thing is they’ve got a plan . All the love beautiful girl xx

    Like

    1. Jen Eve says:

      I did also cry when he told me not to be sarcastic. It was the only point where I did. It was hard to have my one pillar pulled at. But I pulled it back. And I know he will do everything he can for me. I have spoken to Deepti and she’ll be able to get back to me soonish!
      Thank you! Sending love xxx

      Like

  5. fatedthinker says:

    I just want to send my thoughts and best wishes to you Jen. Words aren’t enough at such a time, but I just wanted you to know that you’re thought of we’re all here for you.

    From a long time lurker

    Like

  6. fatedthinker says:

    Just wanted to send my thoughts. I’m sorry the NHS hasn’t treated you very well. There is no excuse for such a lack of clarity and compassion in your care. I hope things improve in that regard for you this weekend and you have a successful surgery and speedy recovery.
    Sending virtual hugs – I’ve not posted before but I’ve followed you for sometime and I couldn’t not post and share my support.

    Like

    1. Jen Eve says:

      Oh, I love my NHS really, but I think it’s important to talk about my whole experience and not sugarcoat things like this. I have FULL confidence in them to do the best for me, medically. But yeah, some things are a bit difficult at times! (that sounds like an understatement haha)
      Thank you for the virtual hugs and for popping up and saying hi! I really appreciate your thoughts and your support.
      Let’s do this!
      Jen xxx

      Like

  7. Clancy says:

    Oh Jen I am so sorry to hear your news. I am endlessly impressed with how you take things in your stride: your humour and your positivity, while still being absolutely candid about your fears and frustrations. I hope the surgery goes as smoothly as possible. Thinking of you xx

    Like

    1. Jen Eve says:

      Thank you love, so nice to hear from you! Yes, hopefully everything will go smoothly… Keen to get the damn thing out!!! xxx

      Like

  8. Pia says:

    Oh Jen! I had to read your post about 10 times, before I understood what’s going on. I’ll be praying for you! Let’s hope for the best possible scenario, but either way, whichever way it goes, we will deal with it and kick the alien growth in the place where it hurts most. You and your family are in my thoughts.

    Like

    1. Jen Eve says:

      Thank you! Yep, we’ve got this!!! xxx

      Like

  9. Virginia Hexter says:

    Oh Jen, I am so so sorry. Thinking of you. You have been so brave.

    Like

    1. Jen Eve says:

      Thank you so much xxx

      Like

  10. Hi Jen, I’m so sorry to read this. Not the news anyone wants. FFS why is life so cruel? When I found inflamed lymph nodes in my neck recently, I thought my cancer was back. Had 2 ultrasound & biopsies so far. Still waiting for news. Inconclusive. You have been so brave & so strong. You are a warrior. I cried when I read this post. I know we’ve never met, but we’ve been through similar nightmares and I’ve followed your journey. Stay strong & positive. Thinking of you my lovely xx

    Like

    1. Jen Eve says:

      EEK! Inconclusive results are so stressful, I’m so sorry to hear it! But I guess it’s better than bad news… But I hope you get some certainty soon. Sending you so much love too. We’re in this together xxx

      Like

  11. It is for NOBODY else to tell you how to deal with this emotionally – not a surgeon, nobody. It’s unforgivable that he spoke to you like that – I seriously hope he realised that from your reaction. You damned well take the inspiration from wherever suits you lady!

    Like

    1. Jen Eve says:

      Thank you! Having seen a strong female eye-patched hero (not villain) was so empowering. For once, TV got it right!!

      Like

      1. Catherine says:

        I don’t know you (although I feel like I do, such is the power of your writing) but I wanted to say I’m sorry your surgeon’s bedside manner deserted him at such a moment. It’s your experience and you get to decide how you feel and what you need in order to draw strength (and your role model looks amazingly badass, I hope she continues to inspire and comfort you).

        Sending random internet stranger good wishes for Monday, I’ll be rooting for you and your team and hoping for the best possible outcome and an uncomplicated recovery.

        Like

  12. SharLar6074 says:

    Jen, this.just.sucks.rocks! I’m so, so, so, sorry. I do love that picture and yes, you will rock it! Sending you good juju and positive vibes. Are you parents going to be able to fly in? I hope so.

    Like

    1. Jen Eve says:

      Thank you! Nah, you can’t really leave Australia right now. But that’s fine, I think it should be ok! Thanks for the vibes!
      It so sucks, but we can do it! Thanks for the support xx

      Like

  13. Rob says:

    I can think of two other real-life women who rocked the eye-patch look – Marie Colvin & Maria de Villota. I think that you have the personality to pull off the look as well.

    Also you never know what kind of prosthetics you could get in the future:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/somerset/6366217.stm
    I love that guy’s comment amount his “party trick”!

    Hopefully when they do finally get rid of the cancer & the infected implant you will also be rid of the pain that you’ve been in for so long.

    Like

    1. Jen Eve says:

      I had forgot about Marie Colvin!!! Yes! I read a book about her last year.

      I am SO gonna rock the eye patch.

      YES! In my head I’m like ‘let’s get it out so I can get rid of these damn side effects from it!’. Having a plan feels good.

      Like

  14. Ash Ross says:

    I don’t even know what to say. I’m mad at your dr for not laughing at your photo or scolding you for trying to find hope in this horrible situation. Well let me respond how he should have:
    ‘What a babe rocking that eye patch. You will look better than that! Let’s get a gold eye patch ready for you for when you’re out of surgery!’.
    That’s how he should have reacted.

    Like

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