I think I am the victim of having watched too much TV - I like everything to have a nice, clean cut ending. I like to be able to think that all of the characters will work out whatever their situation is and all will be laughs and smiles before the credits roll.
One year ago today I had to ring my mum to tell her Happy Birthday! As usual for this time of year, her and Dad had hooked their caravan up and headed north so I think she was half listening and half expecting me to tell her 'I'm having another baby' or 'Paul and I just won the lottery' when I told her I had something to tell her.
I had sat on the news for 2 days before I worked up the guts and the dialogue to tell her,
'I've been diagnosed with cancer'
I can still replay the 2 days previous to this in my head, over and over and over.
I was at home. Freddie was only 15 months old and had a cold. I decided not to send him to daycare that day and was actually looking forward to having a whole day of just him and me. Paul was at work at a meeting.
I had already gone to the doctor with Freddie and was in the chemist when I checked my mobile. I had a missed call and new message on it as well as my work phone. Both of them were from my gyno who I had seen the week before.
I put Freddie in his car seat and got into the car and then listened to my message.
'Hi Fiona, it's Polly Peres, I've just called your home number and work number and need you to call me back please.'
For a woman that it took me 6 weeks to get an appointment with, it took 1 minute for her receptionist to put me straight through to her office.
She told me that she had my test results back, that they were quite serious and that she would need to see me today. She also said that I had to bring my husband with me as it would help if someone could drive me home.
As she could hear Freddie in the background, she suggested that I find someone to look after him as we would need to have quite a serious conversation.
I just listened and told her that it wouldn't be a problem.
I felt sick.
I had to ask.
'Is it cancer?'
Nothing. Silence. (The dramatic climax of the half hour episode)
The internal dialogue started:
'Don't fall yet. Get yourself home. Put Freddie to bed. Call Paul. Get to the appointment. Sort this out. Then think.'
'Polly: 'Are you still there Fiona? I'm really sorry. I would have preferred not to bla bla bla this conversa.... bla bla bla. Come in this afternoon and bla bla bla. Will you be OK to get bla bla bla.'
I felt like someone had put a fishbowl on my head and built a race track inside it. The noise in between my ears was deafening.
I started the car. Drove the 5 minute journey to home.
How am I going to tell work? How do I pay my mortgage? What is going to happen with my kids? How are we going to live? What can I cook for dinner? I wonder if Paul can come out of his meeting?
I got home. My legs were trembling and I was sweating.
I made a bottle and put Freddie to bed. Lovely, squidgy snotty Freddie.
Then I called Paul.
'She thinks I have cancer. Do you think you can get off work early to come with me?'
He was home in 5 minutes flat.
and then I cried.
If this was a tv episode, an ad would go in here and the characters would all get to take a deep breath and escape from the trauma their character was experiencing for 5 minutes.
No ad break. No deep breath just floating around in space, panicked at the thought of what I now needed to go through.