Hearing such life-changing news was one thing but the worst was yet to come. How do you share this news with those who are close to you? Telling family and friends that I have been diagnosed with breast cancer is truly one of the most awful things I have ever had to do.
After receiving the information at the hospital, we returned home, where everything was still normal. The cat greeted us as usual, the sun was shining, but ordinarily I would be at work. Where to start? Well, I sat down and read through all of the booklets telling me about surgery, radiotherapy, herceptin (a drug which would be needed as part of my treatment), exercises after surgery and more.
My husband started with a phonecall to update our insurance. These things have to be done.
Next, a Skype call to our daughter who is away at university. To say that she looked worried to hear from us in the middle of a weekday morning is an understatement. Telling her was awful. She was visibly upset and all I wanted to do was hug her. Impossible.
My parents who are retired and live next door, were next to receive a message. We popped over, sat down and told them what we knew. I felt they took it remarkably well. It turned out to be shock as my Mum revealed later on.
Numerous phonecalls followed. My brother, my aunt, sisters in law, brother in law, great aunt and uncle in Holland, friends, workmates…It was draining and very painful. The worst was yet to come. Our son would return from work at 4.30pm and have his day ruined. That turned out to be a dreadful experience. He looked upset but didn’t want to talk.
By early evening, the majority of people had been given the news. We then drove to my mother in law, who is elderly and suffers from dementia. We had debated as to whether we should tell her. The decision was made that she should know since my husband brings her her groceries every weekend and he would not be able to cope if she didn’t know. My mother in law took it badly. She was shocked and didn’t know what to say. We felt bad leaving her that evening.
How do you finish such a traumatic day? My husband’s answer to most things: we went out for a meal, just the 3 of us, to a Turkish restaurant. It was peaceful. We didn’t talk, we just enjoyed the food.
Having restored an ounce of normality, we returned home and prepared ourselves for the next working day.