Tuesday, 29 June 2010

As Maria Von Trapp said...

Let's start at the very beginning! For some reason this song (Do-Re-Mi) has been in my head for the past few days and I've been thinking about the day I found out I wasn't well. I still don't think it has really sunk in, everything still feels incredibly surreal. Even yesterday, I went to Wishaw Hospital to see one of the nurses and on the walk to the ward I got breathless. I've not had shortness of breath yet which is why it was very odd. I'd like to think I'm pretty fit and healthy but my mum was saying it's probably because I'm a bit anaemic and I might have to get a blood transfusion. Great! Anyway, that's just one of the things that's frustrating me.

The build up to finding out what was going on was pretty quick. I'd been off work for a few weeks due to stomach pains and not eating but had just been fobbed off by my GP with some medication. Things only started moving when my mum (who's a GP) got involved. I was in and out of Wishaw for about two weeks when a surgeon called Ms Goldberg got involved and really put things in motion. I'd stayed in overnight on the Thursday night and Ruth (my BFF) and Jamie (the boyf) came to visit. At this point we only thought I had an ovarian cist (as I have this unusually high HCG level which is telling my body it's pregnant, it's not) but they still weren't totally sure. Ms Goldberg got a CT, MRI and some other scans carried out on me and also did a biopsy on a part of my bowel. I knew she was doing a biopsy but didn't really think about it. So, a wee while later Ms Goldberg called me and mum through. From looking at her face (and the other four people in the room) we knew the news wasn't going to great. She basically said I have a tumour in my bowel and two spots on my liver. She was unsure if it was bowel cancer or if it was a different type of cancer. When she fist told me, I was obviously shocked but didn't seem to have any reaction at all. I didn't look at mum and just stared at Ms Goldberg. Everyone in the room was looking at me with such sympathetic glances but I knew if I looked at any of them I would burst into tears. So, Ms Goldberg continued on with what she thought was going on and after her spiel asked if I had any questions. For some reason, everything she said sounded so bleak and the only question I had was "Am I going to die?". She answered, "I don't know". Even then I still hadn't cried and I was even thinking "Why are you not crying?!". I didn't really have any other questions for her as I didn't know where to begin. After this a nurse called Eleanor took me away to talk and I think that's when it started to hit me what Ms Goldberg had said. One thing that we spoke about was how different people were going to react to the news. She said that it will make me realise who my true friends are and who is important to me. It's amazing how quickly I have realised this!

After all this, Ms Goldberg told me I would be allowed to go home for the weekend but would need to come in on Monday for a small operation. There was no definite plan for treatment at this point as they didn't know what was going on so the weekend was pretty much going to be in limbo. Also, my sister Rona was away in Ireland until the Monday so I didn't particularly want to say to anyone before she found out. Weirdly, when me and mum were walking to the car all I could think about was how lucky I am to have such an amazing family and friends behind me. Even though only mum knew at this moment, I knew that she would be amazing (as would the rest of my immediate and extended family) and my friends. I kept on thinking, 'What if I had to do this myself?' but already felt positive as I knew how much support I was going to have.

So, me and mum got to the car, had a cry and drove home. When we got home only Teenie was in but I think she was asleep. So, mum woke her up and told her. That wasn't very nice. That's when I realised how many people are going to be upset by the news and that I didn't want to tell anyone. The thought of Granny Fearn finding out by herself really upset me and I didn't want her to find out alone. Anyway, I left all this up to mum and she dealt with everyone (to my relief). The next day Ruth and Jamie came out as I didn't want to tell them over the phone. I got mum to tell them as well. It was a very strange afternoon. We were all sitting in the living room on such a lovely day but none of us wanted to go outside. The only word that can describe it is odd. We kept the news on the downlow over the weekend as Rona still wasn't back but I think mum and dad told a few folk.

Rona came back on the Monday and mum picked her up from the airport and drove her straight to the hospital. Rona NEVER cries so it was weird seeing her upset. You know it's serious when Rona's upset! I think that made me more upset. So, we were sitting about in the hospital all day waiting for my operation.. I couldn't eat or drink anything the entire day! All I had was one gulp of water when I had to take a tablet, not nearly enough. I think we spent most of the day playing Connect 4 and card games. Fun times! Rona and Teenie also took some time out to call some other close friends which I was really thankful for. I called and told my boss from work (the first person I had told) and she was great.

I'm not sure why I was thinking about that weekend today but there you go. I just realised how long it is too... apologies. I do like to ramble. In other news, I watched Sabrina Fair the other night. I adore Audrey Hepburn, I love this dress she wears in the film...

Isn't it beautiful?! I'm loving watching old films at the moment. Mum's wanting us all to sit down and watch High Society - that will be this week at some point!

Not been up to much today, some friends from church came round and Ruth's coming round for dinner and a film later. Toodles!


  1. Mairead you are on my mind like crazy. I am so happy you shared your story to date. I want to pray for you and support you bloggily (wish it could be more) from all the way over here in the US.

    It is relieving to hear you have a good support system around you filled with people who genuinely love you.

    I don't know what else to say at this juncture except hang in there. Hang in there, hang in there, hang in there. And please update when you feel like it. You are not alone. xoxoxo - Carrie

  2. My word, it is so weird seeing all this written down,just it seems like yesterday and a year ago all at once Mai Tai. Who knews this is where we would end up in 2010.I still can't get over how strong you are being and I am glad you have here to store it all and look back on and for others to read.

    Bff Bx
    PS mind when Miley ditched us to be a pirate, cheers smiley.

  3. Hey Mairead
    I don't know if you remember me (Rolo's sister). i met you when you came to Peru (great times) and i've just found out..and i've been reading your blog which by the way it's great (your writing is pretty good).

    Well.. i just want you to know that we will pray and support you even though we are really far from each other. Also, all my family remembers you :) and let me tell you that we had a good impression of you :D! So.. hang in there! Take care.. and i'll be looking forward to your posts and i'll try to know how the donating web works xD!

    Let's go Team-Mairead!

    Lupe :) (you used to tell me loopy hahaha)