I’ve had my scans over the last few weeks, leading up to yesterday’s appointment with my Oncologist over the phone.
I assumed that since I hadn’t heard anything from my surgeons, it must mean that everything is fine. Though I obviously knew there had been something in my last MRI that had yet to be accounted for.
I lost the hearing in my right ear around 2 months ago. It happened after my big surgery back in November last year, so I assumed it was just the same thing, though there wasn’t any reason for it to happen again, and it seemed to be getting worse, not better. The pain in my face has been getting worse too. I’ve felt this specific type of pain before. An ache that comes from cancer pushing on things. Or perhaps it’s from an ear infection (suggested my surgeon when I mentioned it). It’s been another two months of playing ‘infection or cancer’.
Although worrying in advance about potential bad things means that if they eventuate, we had to experience them twice (and who has the energy for that?), refusing to contemplate what might be coming would be foolish too.
What’s going to happen this time? Will it be too late? Or will I get another 3 months before the next scan…
It was only a couple of months ago that I got the call from my friend’s sister. He’d had a different type of sarcoma in a similar location. He’d died, after knowing it was coming for a while. His slow decline made us realise that dying from a tumour in your face is probably one of the worst ways to go. Losing him (where, behind the sofa? under the fridge?) was hard. She and I are also close, and we cried to each other down the phone, unable to hug in person since she is in Sydney, and I’m in London.
Earlier this week, the brother of someone else I know with the exact same cancer as me, same location, same everything, sent me a message saying he’d died too. Within a month of his rediagnosis.
Less than a month, he got. From ‘the cancer is back’, to dead. If I’ve got less than a month, where do I want to spend it? What about 6 months? Where do I want to go to die? That answer came easily, after being with friends through their deaths – back near my parents. I love London, it is my life’s one great love story. But if the rest of my time is to be short, and fairly bed ridden, I’ll have to leave London behind. We’ve had a beautiful love affair and nothing can take that away. But it’s not the way I want to spend my remaining days, weeks, months. But of course, I couldn’t leave while my team still had options for me, because I wouldn’t want to risk starting fresh…
And what do I need to have done by the time I die? Get the novel published? Or at least know that it will be published? Do I make a bucket list? Will I even have the energy to climb Mt Everest or swim with sharks?
I don’t know how long I’ve got left, none of us do. But what I do know is that the cancer is back. Again. At the base of my skull. A 4cm tumour once again taking over my bones. It’s been a year almost to the day since I last found out it had come back. I don’t know what my options are. I’m waiting to hear if they think they can operate or not. Oh please, let them be able to operate… That’s the only option that will give me any chance, really, no matter how slim it may be.
So for now, I just have to sit and wait until they get in touch with me. I hope they don’t take too long.
And in the mean time, balance the urges to either spend my time having baths, binge watching TV and resting, or learning Rachmaninov on the piano, finally reading War and Peace, or starting to write a brand new masterpiece…