Check out our photo a day

In The Uncertainty

Fat Mum Slim /


I am one of those people who likes to be in control. I like to know what’s going on. I rarely sleep in planes, no matter how long the flight, because I need to fly the plane. I’m a control freak and I really mean a freak, every day of the week.

So when I’m thrown into uncertainty, well… it makes me uncomfortable.

This year has been quite the ride.

The year started with a Gallstone Attack. It felt like a heart attack and lasted 12 hours. It was good times, except it wasn’t. I went to see a specialist, booked in a date for surgery {which keeps being moved but will hopefully end up being at some stage this year} and all was well with the world.

Then my doctor called me in because she noticed something in my blood tests that didn’t look right. My platelets were increasing constantly and had been for three years, so she wanted me to see another specialist and find out what was going on. I’d read books like My Sister’s Keeper, so I knew platelets were associated with cancer, but I asked anyway, “What could increased platelet levels mean?” She was hesitant, but she knew I liked information so she told me, “Well, it could mean a range of things, but one of the causes could be cancer. I don’t think it will be that though.”

I went home and cried. I cried into my sandwich at lunch. I cried into my husband’s arms, while he cried into mine. I spent far too long on Google, scaring the bejeezus out of myself. I cried in the garage, where I thought my girls wouldn’t see me, but I turned around and there they were. I cried until my eyes were puffy and my heart was broken. I stopped crying when I talked to my dad who told me to pull my head in. I felt like I was 10 again, but it worked. I stopped crying.

The day I went to see the specialist, a Haematologist, was one of my best days. “I think you’re just going to be very low in iron, and that’s what the problem is.” I was sent off for tests, and they came back showing that I had severely low iron. I was booked in for iron infusions the next week. I was so relieved.

When I updated my GP, I told her, “I don’t really feel tired though…” And she shot me down, “You are tired. You are so tired.”

I had no idea how tired I was. As a control freak, I didn’t nap, I just got on with life. The last few years, particularly last year, had been a struggle though. I struggled to do things. Writing a to-do list felt impossible, and actually doing the things on the list, epic. At the end of the day, I’d sit on the couch for a rest, and I felt like I couldn’t get back up. I was dragging my body around. I was living in a constant fog and haze.

Then I got an iron boost and I got energy. I could write to-do lists, I could finish tasks, I could play with my kids more, and I finally felt like exercising. I wasn’t dragging my body around anymore.

I had a second iron infusion booked in for six weeks after the first, so I skipped off to my appointment. I was actually excited to be getting another boost. The iron infusion is given in the Oncology Unit, where others are given treatments, most for cancers. The first time I felt like such a fraud sitting there getting my iron.

Seeing the Haematologist again, things didn’t go as expected. I walked straight into this office and sat down. He has a funny nature. He’s happy and lively, but super speedy. “So, things aren’t going as planned. Your iron levels are going up, but so are your platelets. I think we’ll have to start looking for something else, we’ll have to check for Bone Marrow Cancer.”

His phone rang, he apologised and then walked out of the office. I sat there stunned. Shocked. I had been texting a friend moments before so I texted her with the news he’d just told me. My file was open in the computer in front of me, so I read over it. It was pretty much all a blur of numbers, with the platelet numbers staring out at me in bright red.

I always imagined that if any doctor mentioned the word cancer, it would come in a Bad News Sandwich. I thought they’d wrap it up in some comforting words, put some Enya on in the background, light a candle, hand over a fluffy toy and deliver. Much like, “You look beautiful today. Your cat died. Your hair is so shiny.”

He rushed back into the room, sat down and continued on the conversation. I came up with two reasons that my platelets might be high; my iron levels weren’t yet where they needed to be, and that I had a dodgy gallbladder. He agreed they were possible reasons. I told him that I couldn’t have Bone Marrow Cancer because I felt too good. He delivered more bad news without wrapping it in a sandwich, “That’s what happens. There are no symptoms in younger people.” I guess that ‘young people’ thing was a compliment. I took it.

I walked around to the Oncology Unit for my infusion. I sat up in the chair, and I just tried not to cry. I had a huge lump in my throat, and tears were in my eyes. I told myself that it was all guessing game and that I wasn’t allowed to cry until I knew what was going on. There were still so many variables. I imagined hearing my dad telling me to pull my head in, so I did. ‘Brave and strong’ I told myself.

My nurse could tell I wasn’t myself though, and she was sweet and comforting, as she was the time before. Catering came around and offered lunch, so I took it. I’m a sucker for triangle sandwiches and juice.

Another specialist stopped by to see me, and told me that we’d be doing a quick procedure in the coming weeks to see if anything was happening in my stomach. I agreed. It would be noninvasive and would either give answers, or eliminate possibilities. I updated Hubby over text while I had my infusion. I assured him that there was nothing to worry about, because my gut instinct was that there wasn’t.

I thought I’d break down when I got to the car, but I didn’t. I sang loudly to R&B songs all the way home.

I got home, and saw Hubby. I thought I’d break down then, but I told him again that everything was fine and we had nothing to worry about. Brave & strong.

I talked to my neighbour who told my one of her best friends was diagnosed with cancer the day before and only had 8 months to live. She asked how my infusion went, and when I told her I thought I might break down then, but I didn’t. ‘Brave & strong,’ I told myself.

Hubby went off to night shift, and the girls and I camped out in bed together, as we do when he works nights. We all passed out early, and slept like babies.

I woke suddenly at midnight and didn’t feel brave or strong. I could hear the soft snoring of both my girls beside me, and in the darkness of the night I lost it. I was not strong. I was not brave. I was scared. I cried silently until my tears soaked my pillow. I cried until my eyes were sore and puffy. I cried until my heart felt like it was broken. I sobbed, softly and painfully, so not to wake the girls. I cried because I didn’t want to have uncertainty. I cried because I need to see my girls grow up. I cried because I need to hold my future grandbabies, and spoil them like only a grandma can. I cried because I need to grow old with my husband, and drag him along to Bingo with me, as well as fulfill all the dreams we have for our future. I cried because I was scared. So scared. I cried myself back to sleep.

I know I have nothing sinister going on in my body. I know that I’ll look back on that tearful midnight moment, and think that I was such a fool for getting caught up in what could be instead of what is. I know I just need to get answers. I allowed myself one moment to break down, and then pulled on my big girl panties again and decided to deal with what was in front of me, not what might be.

I just look forward to stepping out of the uncertainty, and back into my normal, everyday life.