The consultant loads the scans on his computer and takes some time to review them. I’m studying his face and panicking. After an agonisingly long time, he turns to me.
“It’s good news, the tumour in your nasal cavity is small.”
Relief rushes over me like a waterfall.
“I’ll have that out no problem,” he says, “but, I need to find out the extent of the cancer so take this form to the scanning centre.”
He sends me off for an ultrasound scan to see if there is any sign of cancer in my neck. If cancer cells have got to my lymph nodes, the spread around my body would be swift. With this information echoing around my head, I go back to the scan reception and they see me without delay. I go into the scanning room, take my top off and lay down on the examination table. The doctor puts the gel on the end of a probe and scans my neck area to see if the cancer has spread from the tumour in my nasal cavity. Michelle and I make our way back to the waiting room. After a short time, we’re called back into the consultant, Mr Hogan’s room.
“I’ve looked at the ultrasound of your neck and it’s clear so the cancer is contained. But the tumour is in the worst possible place. It is between your eyes and next to the brain. On the positive side, in all my years of practice, I’ve never found cancer this early in a patient. You are the luckiest person I’ve met with nasal cancer!”
I’m trying to take this in. Mr Hogan continues.
“I was really surprised to find that you have cancer because I can usually tell just by looking at the face of a patient. The tumour is often so big it pushes the face out to a slight convex shape. By this time, the patient has a very low survival rate.”
Then it strikes me. “What’s the prognosis?”
“It’s good. No guarantees, but you have a good chance.”
I try to appear calm, but inside I’m waving my arms around and leaping about with a big smile on my face. We talk a bit longer about the logistics of the surgery and the series of appointments his secretary will book in for me.
“You are going to be very busy. I’m signing you off work for six months.”