After brief snatches of sleep, it takes a moment for me to recall where I am. Sluggish, I recognise my surroundings. The house we’d recently moved to. My wife, Michelle sleeping beside me. Our bedroom would have to be redecorated. Thinking about the past was good as far as it went. But I needed to instil a fearless frame of mind.
I’m ragged and serious today as I drive to the Clementine Churchill Hospital with Michelle for my scans. After checking in at the reception, I wait only a short time for the MRI scan. In the scanning room, I take my top off and lay on my back. The bench slides into the scanner and clunks to a halt. Despite the electronic buzzes, beeps, pulsating and thuds over the next hour, I manage to remain still and go into a trance-like state. When the drugs are injected through the cannula, I feel a warm sensation in my throat. Afterwards, the doctor is friendly, but gives nothing away as I’m ushered back into the waiting area.
Before long, I’m told the next patient hasn’t turned up so I can take their slot for the CT scan. This involves stripping to the waist again and reclining on a bench with a foam support under the back of my knees. I remain still as the doughnut-shaped machine buzzes into action and my head and shoulders are slowly scanned. Again, this is easy enough and the scan’s over in about fifteen minutes.
The rest of my day is quiet and I’m in bed at home while Michelle plays with the kids in the garden. It’s good to hear happy sounds, but my weekend is full of worry. I lay awake again the following night, thinking about the cancer. The key is whether it’s spread. If not, I may have a chance. If it has spread, well, I’ll face that if I have to. By the time Monday morning comes around, I’ve lost half a stone in weight and am stressing out. In the evening, Michelle and I go back to the Clementine Churchill to see the constultant, Mr Hogan, for the scan results. I’m uptight and feel sick with fear in the waiting room. Sitting still is out of the question so I fidget, my eyes darting around. I could be about to face terminal news and am terrified. Mr Hogan comes out to get us, but I don’t recall going to his room.
“What are the results?” I blurt out.
“I don’t know, I haven’t looked at the scans yet,” Mr Hogan replies.
Well, fucking look at them! I scream in my head.