I slept well after emptying my head into the laptop. Blogging has become therapeutic for me, putting my thoughts out there in front of my head instead of in it works a treat. My mother is in Istanbul with me at the moment and I had decided not to tell her about the scan. I didn’t want to worry her. I heard her say she hadn’t slept well last night, I would have blamed myself for that had I told her. We got ready to leave the apartment and on the way down the hill, I told her not to worry but I had a brain MRI yesterday. I’ve been having some symptoms and Dr. Slocum thought it best to cover all bases. Just in case. I told her I’d have the results in about half an hour and I’d text her. My internet isn’t working on my phone, she said. I’ll send you a normal text, don’t worry. Her and Sharon were bringing Ali to the playground while I went to the clinic. Sharon wanted to come with me but I said I’d be grand.
I met another patient on her way out of the clinic. She was upset. She had just gotten bad news in her latest scan. I tried to console her wondering would I be in her position in a few minutes time. Cancer can be so unpredictable. It’s so cruel. You just never know what is going on inside. You can feel great and all of a sudden you’re being told it has spread or grown. It’s silent, it’s deadly and it’s invisible. Were there rogue cancer cells duplicating in my brain all this time? I felt a headache. It’s the tumour again. I can feel it now. I’m sure it’s there… I went into the clinic and sat in the waiting area, thumbing the CD I was given the evening previous in the scan centre, eagerly awaiting a glimpse of my doctor to shove it in his hand and get this over with already. My heart was pounding. I thought of all the plans I had made for the summer. I’d have to cancel everything. I thought of our holiday to Bodrum on Saturday. We were going for 5 nights. It’s the first time to visit a different part of Turkey since I started coming almost a year ago. I’d have to cancel that. We’d have to stay in Istanbul and I’d have to resume 10 day treatments. More chemo, back to the heat chamber, maybe radiation… I’d only got down to 3 day visits a few months ago. I’d have to come back more often. I’d have to give up work… I’d only just started my business and I was enjoying the freedom of it. I’d started to earn money again and now I’d have to go back to fundraising. How can we afford to up the frequency of visits without it? We’re barely getting by as it is!
Dr Slocum appeared from the staff room. He walked over to me, saw the fear in my face and smiled. Mairead, it’s clear. Oh my god is it really? I had tears in my eyes and I hugged him. My panic turned to gratitude. Thank you, thank you! Are you sure? Yes I’m sure. I text Mam, Sharon and Paul ‘it’s clear’. TG Mam replied. TG indeed.
Full disclosure: I had my scan on Thursday May 10th. I wrote ‘My Beautiful Brain’ that night. I got the result on Friday May 11th and then I published the blog post. I thought about posting it before I got the result but I wasn’t brave enough. What if it was a bad result? How would I handle it being public? I gave myself the option of processing it privately if I needed to. Was it cruel of me to publish the blog knowing the outcome and not sharing it? Maybe it was. But you came on the journey with me. You felt the suspense I felt for the 24 hours. How long would the suspense have lasted if I was at home? At least a week I would imagine. It’s cruel beyond comprehension. I apologise for any worry I caused and I thank you for your lovely messages of support and encouragement. As always, I appreciate every single one. Now to enjoy the rest of our trip and to resume my new life when I get home. Panic over. As you were.