Everything happened so quickly. One day I was discovering Motherhood, then next moment, being told I may have Cancer.
My brain wouldn't acknowledge it. It’s like the words went in one ear, stopped before it hit my brain & went back out the same way. I couldn't even bring myself to tell people. I had this level of being ashamed, because it made people feel bad & uncomfortable, plus it just hadn't sunk in yet.
My family lives on the Gold Coast, I was living in Melbourne, so it was hard. My friends were so supportive, but I needed a lot of help & I couldn’t expect the long-term care. Not walking, with a new born, by myself at least 12 hours a day, not ideal.
To get through the days & move around the house, I would put summer in her pram & push her forward, then move a step, on the crutches. one push, one step, one push, one step. So silly to even think back on it, but you make do I guess.
It would take 10 x longer to do anything! To change nappies, to go to the toilet, bath time, I ended up not eating if I was alone. Life was just a mission & the cherry on top was the pain levels.
I avoided taking pain meds, until Summer was 5 weeks old. I was set on breastfeeding for as long as possible. The original goal was to be breastfeeding for at least 1 – 2 years. That plan was obviously out the window, but I pushed through for as long as I could.
The radiating pain in my leg was full on, but denial’s a funny thing. My brain wouldn’t acknowledge there was something seriously wrong. I just continued operating like this was ‘normal’ & staying in a bubble to mentally stay strong.
My Doctor started tests immediately after the discovery that my shin bone was thinning. Every day was a new test or appointment. if you’re not aware, to test for bone cancer, they use different different injections through a drip, that are radioactive & scan you through machines. There are different types of machines -CT scans, PET scans, MRI scans. The process is long and the wait is cruel.
The PET scans are horrible, it makes your insides glow, so they can have a closer look if there is an active tumour. This scan made me toxic to Summer & I could harm her by the radioactive dye coming through my skin. It was a feeling no new mother should ever have to experience.
Summer was 11 days old when I had my first PET scan. I had to listen to her scream for me. I wasn’t able to comfort her, feed her or even be in the same room. It was a feeling of hopelessness. I felt like this thing in me was affecting my daughter now. Like I was letting her down & she deserved more. I had to wait 6 hours before I could hold her again. It’s still something now, 18 months later, that puts a golf ball full of anxiety in my throat.
I had 2 full weeks of tests, appointments, scans & injections, It felt like it was never going to end. Finally, the results were back. Summer was 3 weeks old to the day.
The appointment was in the evening, and if the days wait wasn’t bad enough, the appointments were behind schedule. Every time I heard a door, my head would pop up & anxiety shoot roof high from the anticipation. Finally, my name was called.
It was a weird walk down the corridor, trying to pick up the vibe, if the news is good or bad. I wanted the Doctor to just cut to the chase & tell me. We sat down and she started clicking things on her computer. She turned to me & said 'Its Cancer'.
Weird thing though, she gritted her teeth at me and nodded. Like some awkward sorry, transactional type response. I'd imagine it would be hard telling someone the news.
I remember looking at my partner, who had tears down his cheeks & looking at summer sleeping peacefully on me. It didn't even feel like I was able to breathe. The mixture of emotions from my unknown future, weighed so heavy on my chest.
‘The next thing we need to do is test to find out exactly what type it is’
What, more tests? how don’t they know what type of cancer it is, how bad it is or how to fix it? I’ve already been through 2 weeks of tests to get to this point.
I got my forms for the next set of tests and left the doctor’s office in silence. It’s like a massive mute button had been pressed, and the world was silent. No thoughts were running through my head, just a flat buzz of shock.
Then I realised, I had to call my family. My parents, my brothers and the few close friends that knew. How do you make that call? ‘Hey, yep I’ve got cancer, how was your day? ‘
I finally grew the courage to call my mum. It didn’t even ring once. She immediately answered by saying ‘What’s taken so long, I’ve been waiting for hours’. I could hear the stress in her voice, and realised my appointment was almost 2 hours earlier. I wasn’t prepared, I hadn’t even rehearsed what to say. All that came out was ‘She said its cancer Mum’.