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Tick tock

It’s the waiting. The layers and layers of waiting. Every single thing in this cancer experience involves waiting. Sitting in big waiting rooms that lead to smaller waiting rooms that lead to machinery and tests that lead to seven to ten working days until the doctor gets the results, that lead to appointments that later get rescheduled because more tests have to be conducted and more results have to be waited for.

Last week the surgeon told me I could call the Women’s Breast Health Centre today and ask for the results from the bone scan, the chest x-ray and the abdominal scan. This is hugely significant stuff. It could mean the difference between Stage I and Stage IV cancer. I didn’t want to be alone when I got these test results, so GC said he would come over around 10:00 and be here with me when I made the call.

At 10:00 I took a deep breath and made the call. I got the answering machine for the nurses’ line, which is normal. I left a detailed message and asked for someone to call me back.

Three hours later I phoned again and left another message. That was two hours and forty-three minutes ago.

Basically GC and I have spent all day waiting for the phone to ring. He missed a day’s work for this. And, as the day drags on, I find it harder and harder to remain positive. If the news were good, the nurses would probably be able to make the call themselves. But if the news is bad, maybe they have to wait for the doctor to find time to make the call. And the doctor is probably busy saving other people’s lives.

The clock keeps ticking and I keep waiting for tests, for test results, for appointments, for phone calls, for a treatment plan, for surgery, for information, for news.

Meanwhile, the cancer waits for no-one. I read the other day that breast cancer tumors, on average, double in size every hundred days. Mine was discovered 70 days ago. (It took 44 days to go from lump to diagnosis.)

17 comments to Tick tock

  • Oh, Zoom, please get GC to drive you over to the clinic right now and ask them to give you the results – politely but firmly. That is just not right. I am sending you both a virtual hug…

  • Oma

    Maybe I can go into Big Mama mode and demand … nnnnno … won’t happen … Woodsy probably has the best advice … I haven’t slept in a very long time … and if I am having trouble sleeping you must be beside yourself. I can’t tell you how glad I am that GC is beside you through this. If you want me to spell him just ask … please.

  • Kat

    I wish I had connections to the Breast Health Centre so I could pull some strings. I feel for you and the waiting and am sincerely glad GC is with you.

  • Mary

    I agree with Woodsy. Go there tomorrow morning. Then tell us-we are herepraying, hoping, thinking of you.


  • I agree with Woodsy too.

  • Gillian

    I’m glad you’re getting good vibes from people and have positive things around you. GC sounds like a really good guy. So I send good thoughts too and wish for the best possible outcome.

  • Gillian

    I’m glad you’re getting good vibes from people and have positive things around you. GC sounds like a really good guy. So I send good thoughts too and wishes for the best possible outcome.

  • The Breast Centre staff are famously overwhelmed. Not hearing from them DOES NOT mean the news is bad. It just means that they are too overwhelmed to answer the phone.

    That being said. I remember what it was like to be in your position and it’s hard. Agonizing. I remember that breathing hurt.

    If you haven’t heard yet, it might be worth just going to the office and saying that you are going to sit there until someone gives you your results.

    And chocolate works too. For you, I mean. 😉

  • And I see that my comments were completely unoriginal. Lots of us are voting for a sit-in, it appears.

  • Donna P

    My stomach is in knots just thinking about how much you have waited and I can only imagine what it feels like to be the waiting… oh geesh, that doesn’t make sense at all.. I hope you know what I mean…
    Your in my thoughts, everyday!

  • grace

    FWIW the only ‘no news’ at our house has turned out to be good news. You know I hope the same for you.

  • Helen

    It must be awful having to wait to find out the results. I really hope the news is good when you get it (fingers crossed it’s soon), and I am thinking of you lots from all the way over here in the North of England.
    I’m starting to feel a little nervous about the moonwalk challenge (26.2 mile overnight walk) I’m doing to raise money for breast cancer reseach in a few weeks time, but your courage, wit and determination in the face of this diagnosis has not only reaffirmed for me why it’s so important to raise money for this cause, it’s also really inspired and motivated me. Thank you.

  • We went through this with my daughter’s spine tumor. It was discovered in Feb and will be (Finally) removed next week. It was hell as we waited and waited for results and then they were inconclusive and called for more tests.

    In short, my heart goes out to you. Knowing and making plans is much easier than waiting. Fingers crossed for benign results.

  • XUP

    I wholeheartedly agree with everyone who said go to the clinic and demand your results. You have the patience of a saint compared to what I’d be doing in your situation. I also agree with the no news is good news people — if there were something drastically wrong, you’d think they’d have made you a priority.

  • Julia

    They found “my” lump on July 17, did the ultrasound on July 22, the biopsy August 14. I met with the surgeon August 19 but she didn’t have the biopsy results then (even though the radiologist had indicated it looked like cancer). I got the biopsy results August 22. I had the MRI August 28 and got those results Sept. 4. I didn’t have any other diagnostic tests before surgery Sept. 23 – I had them all after. So let’s see – it was 30 days from discovery to initial diagnosis and another 30 to surgery. Maybe they hurried to cut “my” lump out because mine looked so classically like cancer and they could see it getting bigger with each test. Or maybe the schedule just was clearer – who knows. The other women in my support group all have different stories too.

    Speaking of which, I encourage you to go to the next Stepping Stones group that is organized. Linda Corsini (the social worker at the Civic) sets them up every so often and they meet for 6 weeks in a row, once a week. I liked my group so much that we are still meeting every week for lunch (and you are welcome to come any time – just send me an email).

  • You have the patience of a saint. I waited 7 weeks for test results to see if my blindness could be reversed via surgery. I just about went nuts but waited. Having said that if I were in your shoes right now, I’d mortgage my soul and go to the states to have this resolved. A wait like that is not something I could personally handle. Sending good vibes…ciao

  • […] continued to wait to find out if I was going to die. There was good news and bad news. GC and I went to the Naked […]