The New Normal Is Not Normal
We turn right and go to the end of the corridor. Mr Hogan leads the way to his room. Still no one speaks as the blue carpet drifts by. He stands holding the door open and clicks it shut as we take a seat. The atmosphere is tense. Mr Hogan sits behind his desk and looks at me for an uncomfortably long moment.
“I’m sorry, but you have cancer.”
That word hits me like a sledgehammer and the room spins. Years ago, I had a nightmare about cancer coming for me. And now it had happened. It had actually happened. There’s a hollow silence and, I’m not sure, but I think an answer is expected from me.
I’m lost in my thoughts: Fucking hell, I’m married, I have kids. What’s happening to me? Am I going to die? The blow sinks in as I stare at the floor, seeing nothing. It feels like the colour is draining from my face. My hands are clammy, my mouth is dry and I’m glassy-eyed as I look up at Mr Hogan.
“Tell me straight. Am I screwed here or do I have a chance?”
“I don’t know yet, it’s too early to tell.”
Mr Hogan explains everything in my life will change. I’m going into the cancer system and will be busy with appointments, scans, blood tests, surgery, counselling, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I listen to all this in utter disbelief and glance at Michelle. She’s looking at Mr Hogan, listening attentively and, externally at least, seems to be taking it all very well.
I hear Mr Hogan say “… and you can forget about work so you had better contact them.” He tells me to arrange scans for tomorrow. I need a CT scan to show another three-dimensional image of the inside of my head; and an MRI scan, used to visualise a more detailed internal structure in order to provide much greater contrast between the different soft tissues of the body. He must see me and the scan results on Monday so he can operate a few days later.