9. Halfway Scan, Halfway Hills (hills climbed, Beinn Bhuidhe Mhor and Meall Fuar-mhonaidh)

This is the ninth post of a series which is introduced here.

Wednesday 5 – 25 April 2017

I was sitting back in the chair ready for the third chemotherapy session. The end of this cycle would see me at the halfway point.

The nurse failed to insert the cannula into the vein in my hand on first go. It ended up being put into the wrist near my bone. Being ‘plugged in’ is the most stressful part of treatment day; it’s the nip, push and sting; it’s the fear that something will go wrong. I don’t settle till I know the drugs are flowing through okay.

The man in the chair next to me took a funny turn. Two nurses calmly approached and pulled a white screen around him. I heard the man say that his heart didn’t feel right, but the nurse reassured him that everything was okay. I must admit that I found the episode unsettling: it was a reminder how seriously toxic chemotherapy is.

At home the evil fug descended and by eight o’clock Paul was helping me up to my bed. My head was thick and laden, and nausea seized my stomach once more. This session seemed harder than the last, or perhaps I felt it like that because I knew what lay ahead over the next week. Either way I felt utterly diabolical.

When Paul left I cried quietly, but suddenly stopped: pointless sorry-for-self tears. Instead, I pretended my mum was sitting at my side watching over me and imagined up a conversation between us till sleep finally carried  me off.

The lack of sleep during the first week of each cycle was now getting on my tits. And coupled with the seemingly interminable nausea there were days when I felt thoroughly ground down. I hated doing my injections. I hated taking the anti-nausea pills and was sick of taking laxatives to keep on top of constipation that all the medication caused. My brain was all muddly and it all got me feeling so melancholy. But I refused to give in to it because I knew it was the drugs fucking with my head: I won’t let those chemicals beat me and in spite of it all I force myself outside to walk the mile and a half down the beach to Fort George; I feel a deep attachment to the place. Its walls are steeped in my family’s history. My grandad was quartermaster there. My mum worked there, was married there. I was christened in its chapel and my name is on the cradle roll that hangs on its wall. The Fort and its beach were my playground. And though my family are now gone the Fort is still there with its memories. Nostalgia wraps me up in its arms. The smell of the sea mingled with the coconut scent of gorse, a westerly breeze on my cheeks, the sound of the waves washing the shingle shore and birds nesting in thickets, all of it lifts my spirits. I look across the water of the inner Moray Firth to the mountains and look forward to climbing high again.

Until the weather improved I carried on with workouts in the house.

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Me on my exercise mat. The first three sessions of chemotherapy drugs are savage for the veins.  Mine are now black and trenched. They feel like they’re being stretched and twisted…like a Chinese burn. Not nice.

On day fourteen I was called to Raigmore to get some scans. The doctor took ages over the ultrasound and I felt that was a good thing. After a long silence he said, ‘It’s impressive! The tumour has shrunk so much it’s tricky to locate.’ I was elated. Till now I’d had an aversion to even touching that part of my breast, but I pressed my fingers onto my skin. I could not discern the lump! Anger I’d initially felt all those months ago for not noticing it dissolved. And now I was ready to ask for some stats on ‘it’.

The doctor said the tumour had started out at 3.5 – 4cm big. It was now 1.3cm. This news was the extra psychological boost I needed to face the last nine weeks of chemotherapy.

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Beinn Bhuidhe Mhor on the Clava hills. View over Inverness and snow topped Ben Wyvis.

I did the Clava hills on day fifteen of this third cycle. The great news about my shrinking tumour made me feel lighter than air and I was super happy on my own as I trotted back out down through the trees to the sound of Credence Clearwater’s, ‘Run Through the Jungle,’ pretending to look for snipers in the woods and laughing to myself. I was enjoying being alive…until I got home…

My boyfriend came over and asked me what I’d done with the day. I told him I’d gone for a walk. When he asked me where I’d gone I felt my face flush red.  Deep down I suppose I knew I should have not gone off alone without saying to anyone, but I had justified the situation to myself; the Clava hills weren’t far from home or hospital; the hills were popular so if anything had happened help wouldn’t have been too far away; I’d had my mobile phone. But Paul wasn’t happy. He said he was concerned for my welfare all of the time, but now he didn’t know why he bothered. I told Mel and my neighbour and my older son, hoping for some understanding and support. I didn’t get it.

I felt bad for causing concern and I felt bad for myself.

To get out onto the mountains is one hold cancer doesn’t have over me. I’d taken due precautions; I was kitted out with appropriate gear, my bag packed with emergencies in mind and my mobile phone charged, in credit and with signal. I’d chosen a single hill over easy terrain. But the concern I’d caused in the people I love most made me question whether I should be doing what I was doing.

I looked up cancer websites and most suggested things like riding a stationary bicycle or taking a daily walk; doing light housework or gardening. Then I discovered an article about a woman called Jenny Baker, and guess what? She kept up with exercise during treatment and also ran the seven miles to hospital to each of her chemotherapy sessions. I decided I should definitely be doing what I was doing so the following day, day sixteen, I threw caution to the wind and went off to do another hill. Okay I was out on my own again, but I did tell my friend Mel where I was going. It was windy at the top but I was well sheltered at the cairn where I stretched out to eat lunch.

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Lunch spot on Meall Fuar-mhonaidh, a Corbett at Drumnadrochit.

Listen to your own body. And even when you feel like it’s all too much just pull on your trainers, get outside and put one foot in front of the other – just make sure you let someone know what you’re up to, whether you have cancer or not.

Next up: Chemotherapy Four: Docetaxel Sucks but my Confidence Grows

8. Chemotherapy Two: A Painful Arm and Mountain Days (hills climbed, Stac Pollaidh, Ben Rinnes and Bynack More)

This is the eighth post of a series which is introduced here.

Wednesday 15 March – 4 April 2017

My boyfriend drove me to the second chemotherapy session. I struggled to draw deep breaths on the car journey to hospital. Anxiety had seized my chest the day before, but now its grip was tighter. My youngest son was struggling to deal with my diagnosis and I was worrying about him constantly. Having to return to hospital and willingly subject myself to being made sick caused additional stress. The car was stifling. It felt as though I was suffocating and I broke down in tears as I catastrophised, again.

The fear that this is the beginning of my end lodged itself firmly in my mind as involuntary memories of Mum streamed into my thoughts: she died. I’m going to die. She had two and a half years clear after her treatment. It’s not long enough. My kids are not old enough to be without their mother. I wasn’t old enough to be without mine. Who will love them as much? Who will look out for them? I won’t get to be a Grandma and help them. We will all miss out on so much. I survived. They’ll survive. Why did Mum have to die? Why do I have to go through this? How could I have missed the lump? How did it get so big without my noticing? Round and round and round disorderly thoughts went.

I sat in the chair.

The cannula was inserted and the drugs flowed. Internal chaos settled as new thoughts about the chemicals, and how they were about to affect my physical body, became foremost in my mind.

By dinner time the fog began its descent and my head became thick, laden and throbbed. Then the nausea. My bald scalp ached a cold sweat. I needed to lie down. Each step I took up the stairs involved great effort. I felt disorientated, but made sure I brushed my teeth well and rinsed with mouthwash – didn’t fancy ulcers on top of everything else – and then got into bed for the first night this cycle of fitful, sweat-soaked sleep. Disturbing cancer dreams woke me with a start. And I lay in the dark, feeling solidly sick, desperate for sleep to take me away.  I tried to be patient as I waited to drift into unconsciousness, but sleep was not forthcoming. And just to make a miserable hour even more so my brain decided to mess with me as it struck up an interminable rendition of the Hokey flaming Cokey…seriously…

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The paradox of my nausea was that I needed to put stuff in my mouth – I’d thought that feeling sick would have made me not want to eat, but constant grazing seemed to help and after a few days at least my sense of taste began to make a welcome return. To take my mind off the nausea during the day I would walk along the beach and to my great amusement I discovered I was not the only one content to stroll along the front…

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An escaped wild boar from a local farm had been marauding around the washing green out back before having his contented promenade along the beach front. Sadly, he was captured, shot and last seen in a burger bun.

By day nine of this second cycle I was working out again, but to my horror, on day ten, my left arm was a nightmare, to extend it was excruciating. I wasn’t sure why it hurt so much, but it didn’t stop me from using my weights. I’d ask about my arm at next clinic…I’d also ask if my inability to remember things was a side effect of the treatment or if I was just losing the plot in general.

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Stac Pollaidh, I adore the wild and rugged landscape of the northwest. I feel it in me.

On day twelve Paul and I headed north of Ullapool to Stac Pollaidh. It only took an hour to get to the top and I hadn’t found it difficult. It was good for Paul and I to spend some time together too and actually enjoy a day.

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Me and Chris at the top of Ben Rinnes.

My friend Chris picked me up on day fourteen and we went off up Ben Rinnes in Moray. A big track all the way to the top made it easy work, and from the summit of our hill we had good views over the Moray coastline and Cairngorm mountain range. Chris always encourages and supports me in exactly the right way. He tells me, ‘keep smashing that cancer shit in the face, every day.’ So I do.

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On the summit of Bynack More listening to a bit of Pink Floyd on the Jflip3.

I spent day nineteen with my eldest son. I was well chuffed at getting up a Munro. It was another easy plod because the ascent is gradual and on a very good track. I do love the sweeping plateaus of the Cairngorm range. The weather was great and my son’s company was the icing on the cake. The only thing that would have made me happier was if son number two was also there, but he prefers a game of ping-pong or kirby.

Family, friends, and mountains are all my reasons to stay alive.

A brief note about side effects and a few tips:  As with the first chemotherapy cycle I discovered that the worst effects from treatment were over within a few days, apart from the poor memory and constipation. The latter had been a problem but by the end of this second cycle I’d got my shit together (lol) by sorting out laxative doses. (One sachet of laxido at nine in the morning, another at nine in the evening as well as one senna tablet, and the jobbie’s a good un. Keeps the piles at bay too…ouch…yes, piles).  I found that with rest, exercising and meds the key was to stick to a routine. At clinic I was told that the sore veins (chording) are an inevitability of treatment; I found it helped to rotate my wrist of an evening. The muddlement I’d been experiencing is called ‘chemo-brain’ but will improve once all this is over. And finally, to avoid the Hokey Cokey during sleepless nights I kept a book by the bedside.

Next: Halfway Scan, Halfway Hills

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7. Being a Baldilocks

This is the seventh post of a series which is introduced here.

It was no surprise when my hair started to come out in clumps, but it did take  me aback that it happened so quickly.

It started falling out on day fourteen of the first chemotherapy session, the day I’d gone up Fyrish with my friend Julie Ann. And three days after that I was bald.

There was little point walking about looking like a nuclear fall-out victim, besides, my scalp had felt all weird and a little tender. I asked Paul to come over with his clippers and take them to my head. ‘Just shave the lot off,’ I said. I had, at times, wondered what I’d look like bald. Now life necessitated that change for me.

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The halfway chop.

Leon wasn’t comfortable about seeing his mum with no hair and said he’d rather I wear a wig or hat. I was sensitive to his feelings, because let’s be honest it wasn’t about the baldness as much as it was about the visible sign of my disease.

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Embracing my inner punk.

I posted the new look as my profile picture on facebook. Nobody suspected I’d shaved my head because I have cancer: it was just me being me. Even Leon agreed that perhaps it wasn’t so bad after all.

For some women losing their hair is a really big deal. It was for my mum. She saw her hair as her dignity. In the end it’s down to the individual what attitude they adopt. Cry about it or suck it up and make the best of it. The baldness is not permanent. (Nothing is.) So based on that premise I refuse to be bothered about having no hair (except my brows and lashes. I’m actively willing them not to drop out. Lol.)

Next: Chemotherapy Two, a Painful Arm and Mountain Days

 

 

6. Chemotherapy Round One…Ting-Ting! (hills climbed, Fyrish and Meall a Bhuachaille)

This is the sixth blog in a series which is introduced here.

Wednesday 22 February – 14 March 2017

I don’t like to call it ‘chemo’. That’s like giving it a pet name. You could argue that it is being my friend in that it’s destroying all those cancer cells that have been silently killing me, but the life saving chemicals that swirl through my veins make me so very, very sick.

It was day one of the first twenty-one day cycle. The chemotherapy was administered at hospital in the Macmillan Suite. I was glad that my boyfriend Paul had taken the day off work to come with me.

There were eight massive reclining chairs. I was seated in one in the far corner of the room. My hand was then soaked in a bowl of hot water – to get a vein up before a cannula was inserted. The cannula was attached to a drip and anti-nausea stuff went in first, then a flush through with saline. I winced at the sting in my hand, but I didn’t really feel anything when the chemicals started circulating my blood stream. I was averse to looking at my cannulated hand. It was only when Paul said, ‘Wow, you’re radioactive now!’ that I turned to see crimson fluid flowing down through the clear plastic tubing that disappeared into my arm, leaving its red trace under my skin like a snake. I turned my face away and didn’t look again. I’d taken my laptop with me to catch up on a few emails. I’d also taken a book. I used neither. My head didn’t want to think. I was lost in nothingness.

Before I left hospital the nurse handed over a big bag of ‘goodies’ to take home and asked, ‘How are you with self-injecting?’ Considering my aversion to watching the cannula go in I was clearly not thrilled by the prospect of having to give myself daily injections over the next week, but what else for it? They were a necessity; they would stimulate my bone marrow into producing white blood cells to help fight infections that I would now be more prone to. (I also employed several of my own strategies to avoid contracting my boyfriend’s and Leon’s colds, I told them to stay well away from me. I made us all use hand gels; I wore a scarf around my nose and mouth at times; used separate towels, and spent an hour every morning cleaning kitchen work surfaces, cupboard and door handles.)

During the three hour treatment I hadn’t felt at all unwell. And when I got home I played a game of ping-pong across the kitchen table with Leon. But it wasn’t long, perhaps after the adrenalin wore off, before I was suddenly floored. I felt completely toxic, sick and the most unimaginable pain took over my head.

This first week after treatment – for me – was diabolical, and the first four days were the hardest. I felt like I was stuck inside myself, unable to do anything much but sleep or lie on the sofa or in bed just staring, struggling to keep nausea at bay. The chemicals seeping from my pores imbued my living space, my clothing and my hair with their noxious odour. The anti-sickness medication gave me a headache that felt like an airbag had exploded inside my skull, trying its hottest, thickest best to force its way out via my temples and eject my eyeballs from their sockets. I had little appetite for life or will to communicate. My legs felt like they’d done a full twelve-hour shift on the mountains. My face flushed hot and red. My lips tingled on and off during the long nights of wakefulness. And constipation during the day had me thinking I was gonna do an Elvis and expire on the pan. But I dared not give in to the grimness, because when the mind gives up the body soon follows.

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A different Sarah smashing a different terminator in the face. Ba ha ha!

In the first week I forced myself outside every day. I walked to the village shop  pretending I was a heroine from an action movie – you know the ones who have just been beaten to a pulp, who then get shot at, but still manage to battle on, escape and save the day? Each day I walked a little further.

Paul would come and fetch me the apples and tomatoes I craved, they were all I seemed to want. My sense of taste had changed. The Coca-cola I liked to have on a Saturday had no sugaryness to it. Chocolate didn’t taste good – Salt and Vinegar Pringles were a winner though. I washed litre after litre of water down to quench an unquenchable thirst. Mealtimes were a struggle and although the food was fresh it tasted bland, but I ate because I had to.

Sickness abated and the week’s course of injections was over, and like a tethered dog champing at the bit I was desperate to get back into my exercise routine. I was mindful that the oncologist had warned me not to overdo things, but what did that mean, really?  So, on day nine I pulled out my dumbbells and flung myself about the living room to my Davina DVD. My face flushed red as a berry and my heart thundered in my chest, but it felt good and I didn’t stop. However, in that hammering heart of mine, I knew only going to high places would truly restore me in mind, body and spirit. So I decided to do a wee hill to test myself. My neighbour and friend suggested Fyrish would be ideal and said she’d come too and on day fourteen of my first cycle, off we went in her car – nothing to do with her driving, but this was when the hair on my head started to come out in big clumps.

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Fyrish at Alness, north of Inverness.

My legs had wanted to steam on up Fyrish, but they wouldn’t perform for me and my chest was a bit tight. I had to pace myself to get to the top. It was much easier walking back down…isn’t it always? I was feeling super chuffed with myself. Importantly I felt real hope for myself.

The following Monday, on day twenty of the cycle, I was back out on the hills having hoodwinked my friend Leeanne into coming along to be my minder.

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Meall a Bhuachaille (the Shepherd’s hill), a Corbett near Aviemore. I am now completely bald! Hence the headscarf.

Leeanne’s reaction had me howling with laughter when I’d confessed that no, I possibly wasn’t meant to be doing this hillwalk, and that I hadn’t told anyone I was doing it. ‘Ohhhwah! Your boyfriend and Mel are gonna kill me,’ she said, knocking her forehead hard with the palm of her hand.

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View of Loch Morlich as we descend. I love how the light filters through the thin layers of cloud being blown along by the winds.

The circuitous route took us up by the green lochan and Ryvoan bothy. As we climbed steeply the wind picked up. Its savagery was surprising and carried our breath away. But I loved every second. Again my heart filled with hope and happiness. It made me grateful for each breath, and grateful to be alive to appreciate the beauty.

So, my message today is this. Sometimes you shouldn’t believe it when you are told, ‘No. You can’t.’ Yes, you can. Of course you must listen to your body, but also have faith and above all else believe in yourself and keep on doing what you love.

Next: Being a Baldilocks

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5. Important Questions for the Oncologist

This is the fifth post of a series which is introduced here.

February 2017

 

Brain meme

The oncologist examined me. He was concerned about lumps at the side of my breast and sent me off for another scan – it was clear. Phew!

I was asked how I felt about a mastectomy. ‘Because,’ the oncologist said, ‘surgery is the best treatment of cancer.’ This upset and confused me because I thought I’d already been through this stuff.

‘My consultant told me that I ought to have chemotherapy first, to shrink the tumour. I don’t understand why you’re now saying surgery is the best option?’

‘I’m going to go and call your consultant,’ the oncologist said, getting up from his chair.

He left me and the breast care specialist nurse alone in the room. I was feeling pretty annoyed at the seeming lack of communication somewhere along the line – not cool when crucial decisions were being made about my life. My stomach was in knots. I told the nurse I wasn’t happy, and she told me not to worry…easier said than done!

The nurse used the opportunity to give me a few leaflets to take home that explained the chemotherapy drugs I’d be given and their side effects – because although the oncologist would be talking me through it all, it would be a lot to remember. ‘You’ll find that your periods will probably stop altogether because of the chemotherapy,’ she said. I liked the sound of that, but I did have a question.

‘I have a Mirena coil in. Should I have it removed?’ I asked.

‘Yes, the type of tumour you have is hormone reactive so it’s best you make an appointment to have it taken out.’ I could tell by the nurse’s face there was more to come. I was right. ‘It’s likely that you’ll get early menopause. Not right away, but when you have to start taking the drug Tamoxifen, but that won’t be till after your radiotherapy.’ My poor brain was racing with the info overload. And I didn’t get the chance to complain LOUDLY about the menopause thing because at that moment the oncologist reappeared.

Leaflet on what to do if you get any of the listed symptoms after treatment.

‘Either way, because of your young age you would be getting chemotherapy anyway. The advantage of having the chemotherapy first is that it will destroy any rogue cells,’ he said, reiterating what my consultant had already told me but it was enough to rev my brain into paranoid mode again, thinking the cancer cells had already spread. The oncologist talked about a lot of important stuff. It was hard to concentrate.

The pros and cons of chemotherapy had been given. Now the ‘cycle’ was explained:

‘Two days before your chemotherapy is given you will need to have your bloods taken by a nurse at your usual Doctors Surgery.  You’ll come here to Clinic the following day to be told the result of the blood test and whether or not treatment can go ahead. If all is well chemotherapy will be given the next day. In the first three sessions you will be given drugs we call FEC-T; the last three sessions will be a drug called Docetaxel. Each of your chemotherapy cycles will take twenty-one days. Treatment day is classed as day one and the drug infusion will take about three hours to administer. Chemotherapy will compromise your immune system which will be at its weakest up until day fifteen of your cycle so, I’m not saying you should wrap yourself up in cotton wool, but be careful not to mix with anyone who has a cold or flu,’ the oncologist said…talk about a flaming baptism of fire. Paul was loaded with a snotty cold and Leon had been complaining about a sore throat…‘by the final week of the cycle your blood cells will have begun to recover sufficiently and you should feel a bit more like yourself. Do you have any questions?’

‘Yes,’ I nodded. ‘Am I still gonna be able to do workouts and run, and am I still gonna be able to go up mountains?’ You know how a dog can sometimes cock its head and look at you with an expression of wtf? Well, that’s how the oncologist looked at me.

He said he’d never heard of anyone going up mountains during treatment before. The nurse was nodding and added that although I might feel up to trying a run I may find it a struggle, but I could give it a go if I really wanted as long as I listen to my body and stop if it got too much…it wasn’t exactly encouraging.

So that was it. With the t’s crossed and i’s dotted I was told that my first chemotherapy session would be in two days…two days!

What a rotten appointment – a real roller coaster of medical scares; I left hospital feeling thoroughly shaken up about the side effects of treatment. But worse than all that was leaving with the impression that I would not be able to continue to do the things I love…the things that keep me sane…no running, no mountains. No way.

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My oldest son, Marcus, amused by my attitude, made this meme. Me on Cul Beag (after fourth chemotherapy).

The medical staff have to tell you the worst that can happen, but it is important to understand that the worst will probably NOT happen. At this point I had not grasped that fact.

Next: Chemotherapy Round One…Ting-Ting!

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4.Telling my Teens their Mum has Cancer

This is the fourth post of a series which is introduced here.

February 2017

Leaving hospital with my diagnosis – and most of the cold hard facts about it – helped me to reconcile the chaos of my initial thoughts: the ones where I had immediately decided I was a goner, just like Mum.

Three weeks had also passed. This was enough time for me to have processed the shock and reflect that actually I was in the strongest position emotionally to be facing this new struggle. If I’d got cancer before I’d resolved all the inner turmoil of losing my mum then who knows what state I’d have ended up in…

my mind

I sat on the stairs in my hallway, as I often do – actually, I’m lying, I’m usually sitting on the toilet, door wide open, staring down at the shelf on the hall landing – looking at, and talking to, the photograph of my grandparents. (They’re sitting on a bench outside the chapel at Fort George, my mum’s just got married and they’re smiling at me as I take their photograph.) So I tell them, ‘I have breast cancer. And I have a treatment plan that involves chemotherapy first. I can do this…whatever happens.’ Their faces smiling back at me fill me with courage. I miss them, and I feel sad because neither they nor my mother are here anymore. But I’m also grateful that they won’t have to see me go through what Mum went through. I’m glad I won’t break their hearts or cause them worry over me.

But I do have to do the next hardest thing. I have to tell my two sons.

Breaking the news to them had been weighing heavily on my mind. After all, I knew first-hand what an unthinkably huge, happiness destroying, security shattering bomb I was about to drop. I had been eighteen when Mum had told me she had breast cancer, and I hadn’t handled it at all well. I’d gone right off the rails. My two boys are now at a similar age; eighteen and sixteen, and I really didn’t want to have to tell them. I wanted to conceal and absorb the horrible truth for them for as long as I could, but having to have chemotherapy first would make that impossible. I could just have said I was unwell, but there would be no way getting away from the inevitable baldness.

My eldest son, Marcus, was studying on a course, a hundred miles away, at Aberdeen University. Rather than cause alarm and summon him back for the weekend I thought it best to video call. My belly had butterflies as the dial tone sounded. He answered, but because of how he had his phone positioned I found myself telling the news to the magnolia ceiling of his student accommodation. But Marcus was there, listening, and he seemed to take what I said on the chin. ‘Oh, I suppose the least I can do is let you see my face,’ he said. I felt temporarily reassured and was proud of his maturity. He told me he’d come home the following weekend. He said he wanted a little time on his own to process everything. Despite his calm reaction I couldn’t help but worry that between now and then he would fret quietly to himself. I would only feel happier when I could see him in the flesh.

Shortly after the call to Marcus son number two arrived in from school. My stomach churned.

Leon, you see, is very much like me: bold on the outside and hides any inner turbulence with, at times, really annoying in-your-face humour. He takes things to straight to the heart. Telling him was going to kill me. I’d already shed a lot of tears over the past few weeks as I imagined the impact this moment would have. I hated myself for what I was about to put him through.

As expected my poor boy was difficult to console. All I could do was hug and reassure him that everything would be all right. ‘We’ll get through this…one way or another,’ I said, echoing what my own Mum had once said to me. But my heart was heavy for having burdened him with this grief.

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View from the kitchen window where I’d stand crying as I watched Leon disappear beyond the gate and off to school – oblivious to the bombshell I was about to drop.

Two boys both of very different character: one who seems to take everything in his stride and the other who wears his heart on his sleeve. But my love and worry for them both is the same.

As a parent all I’ve ever wanted to do is protect my kids from upsetting things the world and life throw in their path. I’ve now discovered that I can’t always protect my children from all of life’s nasties, but I can be here for them both whenever they need me.

Next: Important Questions for the Oncologist

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