I switched on my mobile at around 9 am and found a voicemail from my GP. ‘Please come and see me, I’ve made an appointment for you at 11.30 today.’ I gulped and put the phone down. This could not be good news. T drove me into Belfast and we sat in the waiting room. It was full of parents and babies.
The GP handed me the results of the CT scan and talked me through the report, at one point drawing a diagram on the page to illustrate the medical terms. The scan confirmed the lump in the right side of my abdomen. It was two inches in diameter, the size of a satsuma. I now needed a biopsy to test whether the lump was cancerous.
I walked out of his office, scan report in hand, and we went down the stairs to the street. T held my hand tightly. I had to concentrate hard on walking, my legs seemed very far away. We sat in a coffee shop and tried to absorb the news. She peered at my GP’s childlike drawing, strangely incongruous with the weight of the words on the page.
I began to recall my younger brother, who had died of cancer five and a half years ago. His tumour had been misdiagnosed and before it was treated had already spread. He lasted about nine months.
‘We’re in this together’ said T. I nodded and stretched out my hand across the table to her. We clasped. Our time of waiting had become harder.