Monday, March 7, 2011

So it all started one day when...

Ok so this has to start somewhere, so the beginning makes a logical starting place I guess.
I remember kept as if it was yesterday, 13th February 2008, just a little over 3 years ago. Allow me to set the scene..
Earlier in the year I had gone for surgery on my elbow, so was at home recuperating. What seemed like a normal day was about to change almost everything I thought of as 'normal' forever. A knock on the bedroom door and mum asking "can I come in" was how it started.

There was no beating around the bush, and as we started to speak mum said she wanted to tell me something. It is quite uncommon for mum to build up to something like this, and in no time she uttered the words "I have found a lump in my breast". Going on to say she found it a few months ago, but wanted me to know now, especially as m operation was out of the way. Wow! Ok I wasn't quite expecting that one. We talked about it for a while, and during the conversation she tried to make it clear that she just wanted to let it takes it's course and there be no fuss. I however was not so convinced by her decision.

The first thing I did on hearing this was turned to a Internet forum. A little weird I know, but just saying it out loud, to what was then nothing more than a load of usernames was the easiest outlet. Besides, there was always the chance I could even get some good advice on the matter. Aswell as being called an attention seeker, and all sorts of dumb names (as you expect from some of the sad keyboard warrior type recourse to be found on some forums). The original thread is still running here ... . So at this point I feel it important to thank everyone who has contributed towards this now somewhat epic thread. Talk about not feeling alone.

Never have I been involved in such an outpouring of private stories, personal information, and emotions in such a public way. But I am truly thankful to those people who have allowed me and the other users into the depths of their private lives in order to share and explain their journeys. It is fair to say that I have been involved in some quite emotional things in my life, but on reflection this is without a shadow of a doubt THE single most sustained outpour of emotions I have ever experiences. From both sides.

As soon as me and mum had finished our conversation, I was off. Jacket and shoes on, and made haste to the doctors surgery. Getting there I spoke with the receptionist and explained mum had just told me she had found a lump, and within seconds I was told of an appointment in approximately one hours time. I rushed back home..... And so it began.

As I say, this blog/ diary is more about my side of the story, rather than the actual ins and outs of what has happened. There will of course be lots of detail and information none the less. But I use the phrase "and so it began" as this is where my involvement in the situation really starts. Getting back home and telling mum the news that she had a doctors appointment was probably the first time I had taken matters into my own hands, defied her, and gone against her will, in a matter that really didn't concern me. However this was just the beginning of a trend, and a very long one at that.

So an hour later we were back at the doctors, with mum somewhat against her will, but going with the flow. He examined her, and was immediately sure it was cancer, and made an immediate and urgent referral for her to attend the breast clinic at Lewisham Hospital. I will come back to that in time. Home from the doctors now, and the conversations started, what her wishes were, how she saw it all panning out, and who was to know and not to know. This again all becomes a little complex. Not wanting another family to know, or friends, she did admit that she had told my sister before me. I am not sure of the time span of her telling my sister before me, but it doesn't really have much baring on the situation I guess.

So from this point in I guess you can say I was committed. Mentioning to my sister that I now knew about mum, and having some very open and frank conversations about it all, one thing became apparent, I was likely to be primary carer. Not that this is a bad thing, living in the same house and having more interaction with mum, as well as a little more free time (no family commitments). The concept of this however was all rather alien to me to say the least, but you do your best, right?

From the off, it has always been important to me that mum should share her news with her sister Joan. Having lost their sister previously to a 'secret' cancer, to be open and honest about this seemed the only sensible course to take. However mums opinion on this was NO-ONE was to know. At this time she was still working at Sainsburys in Sydenham. A long term job which was also her only social interaction. However due to what lay ahead, her time left working with her friends and customers was to be short lived. Deciding once again that no one should know, she chose not to share the news with anyone there either, and just fell silent as the weeks and months would pass. Again, this is all yet to come.

So what left for Day 1. Well I guess that's a pretty obvious reaction and emotions about it all. To be fair there is not really too much to tell about that side of things. A little shellshocked, somewhat overwhelmed, but all in all I remained pretty normal. I won't say I slept well that night, but having a breakdown or crying my eyes out were really not the route I was going to take. That's not to say there is no emotion attached, of course there is. However my emotions are somewhat complex and sometimes a little numb to say the least, so nothing was about to happen.
I did however reach out to a few chosen people. People I knew would understand, those who I knew could advise, and I guess a couple of neutral people who were distant enough to process what was really happening and feed back t me a purified version of it all. So to all those people, I say thank you. Not too sure if I have ever expressed my gratitude for the time spent listening and advising, but the time has been priceless to me.

So that's about it really, Day One of, mums got cancer, OMG!
I really do hope this makes a structured read, and can all come together to make sense to others as well as me, and can in some way serve as a legacy for mum. So people know what she has really been through. While at the same time I hope others can see a pattern and draw strength from this blog too.

I will leave it there for today, it was just important to start this next part of the journey.... From this point I am committed.

Thank you for reading. Feel free to follow or share.

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