A Date with Destiny
One woman shares her hopes and fears for the future in the run up to her annual check up.
Comfy comes first, that’s for sure. Easy to get in and out of? Absolutely. Something low-cut? No way!
There’s barely a day that goes by that I don’t think about my first date or what will happen on the next. But this is a date like no other. Of course, I want the “and they lived happily ever after” ending — as a little girl, it’s the ending to all stories, no matter how rough the ride has been. That’s what I want, that’s the ultimate aim and, as they say in the movies (The Best Marigold Hotel), Everything will be alright in the end, so if it is not alright, it is not the end.
Today is my annual check-up. My second in fact. Last year's was a big deal being my first, and as the memories come flooding back of the first round of consultations, scans and follow up appointments, I remember how awful the “waiting game” was, and how I was thrown in to a complete tail spin (which I nearly lost control of). I reassure myself that this time everything will be OK.
I won’t deny it, throughout the year I’ve caught myself thinking about the what ifs, the “have I done enough!?” questions, the “what would I do next” thought processes, and so on and so on. It’s no wonder that after 5 weeks of waiting last year for the test results to finally come back as all clear, I broke down uncontrollably. Tears of joy and relief like I have never experienced before hit me like a tsunami. I wanted to run as fast as I could – I don’t know where, it didn’t matter. I wanted to jump, and scream, and hug everyone within reach. That was a good day but the wait was truly horrific.
Having made the unorthodox decision to just have surgery with no further treatments or medication, I have taken a bit of a risk – I know that. But you have to do what feels right and that felt right for me. The doctors can guide me and advise me but they are not the ones who have to experience it.
This year, I’ve deliberately kept my mind busy in the run up to today, but as I take those first few steps from my house to the hospital I can’t help but think back to that first year — the sudden, rushed call-back and seemingly endless trips thereafter, backwards and forwards, not knowing what to expect, worrying about every single tiny little thing and feeling all the while incredibly responsible for bringing so much grief to the people I love and care about the most. I wanted the world to stop so I could get off. I didn't want to play any more. It’s only a momentary flashback but the wave of emotions are all too familiar.
Now sitting and waiting for my name to be called, I take a moment to read from a book — to pass the time and give my mind something to focus on but just ahead of me I can see what’s in store and I stop for a moment. This is it. This is the place that could change everything and will finally confirm if those lumps and bumps that I find every time I look, are either scar tissue or... something else. This is where I find out!
The scan is possibly the worst bit. Pre-surgery the pain was bad but with scar tissue to deal with it’s almost unbearable. Luckily they’ve got what they need first time round, so two scans on both sides is all I need.
Now, I wait again. This time for the physical examination. There’s not much to like about this process, but it’s only once a year now so it’s not so bad and because I’ve just had my scans done, I’m delighted to find that I can be given the results straight away too. All clear!
It’s not a jump for joy moment but it is a relief. And now, the build-up begins again to my next big date, as I continue to live an adapted and improved, healthier lifestyle — all the time hoping and ultimately believing that I’m doing the best that I can, mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally — to help myself and by sharing my experiences, perhaps helping others too.
Written by: Miranda, diagnosed 2013