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In The Uncertainty

Fat Mum Slim /

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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.

  • Philippa

    I have but one thing to say..

    • Michele

      I burst out laughing and into tears at the same time!
      How very true.
      Chantelle – we are all routing for you!

  • I hope they give you answers very soon, the unknown plays so much with the the mind. My fingers and toes are crossed results come back cancer free, thinking of you xx

  • Belinda Docwra

    Oh honey, I sincerely hope you get answers soon. Sending you lots of love xxx

  • That void of uncertainty is one of the most painful places you can be in. It’s even worse than knowing, I think. Especially for us control freaks.

    All you can do is try and be present to right now, but don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s bloody hard.

    Wishing you peace as you wait out the uncertainty xxx

  • Thinking of you and your girls and sending positivity, love and light your way xx

  • Jenni from styling curvy

    I know that cry, bingo with the huz sounds great…I’ll join you. Love you Chan X

  • Murf Lorraine Arndell

    How brave of you to share your distress. I too send all my best wishes and hopes you will be absolutely fine very soon. Be kind to yourself and take care.

  • Kathy Stern

    Already told you Chantelle…you are destined for big things. Bump (small) in the road. Carry on young lady. Carry on.

  • You’ve been on my mind. You are so brave & strong, even when you cry. BIG HUGS and I hope you get all the best answers xoxo

  • Oh Chantelle how terrifying. I do know how you feel. Last year I discovered a lump behind my ear and tests confirmed it was a rare tumour. At the time I was told it could be malignant and if it wasn’t cancer it would turn into cancer, so it had to be removed. The surgery to remove the tumour was very precise as if it was done incorrectly could paralyse my face permanently. So I had to return to Australia for the surgery. Only after they removed the tumour could they confirm if it was malignant or not. Waiting for that surgery was excruciating. The not knowing was the worst part.
    In the end the surgery was successful (although I lost feeling in part of my face) but the tumour was removed and not yet malignant.

    Take care and be gentle on yourself, I hope you find some answers soon. Xxx

    • Corinne! I had no idea you went through this. You poor thing. That must have been so stressful, especially have to fly all this way for it. I’m glad you’re ok. xx

  • Nayeli Guerrero

    I’m like you, I hate uncertainty but this verse always gives me peace.
    you’ll see that it was all a misunderstanding… Xoxo

  • Sending big love to you. I hope the answers come soon. The waiting is the hardest part. xxxx

  • Janni Gumly Gumly

    Oh Chantelle, sending you such bigs hugs. Tough things to be going through but just take one day at a time and bubble baths are a great place to have a good cry. ?

  • Sarah Gooley

    Although we have never met, I feel like I know you. About a month ago I said to my husband, “I’m worried about Chantelle from Fat Mum Slim. Her feed and stuff hasn’t been normal the last couple of months.” He looked at my with stone dead confusion, who from where, written all over his face.

    As someone who has been travelling the wave of uncertainty the past couple of months, not knowing what the day ahead will hold, will it be good or bad. I wish i could send some words to comfort you. What gets me through is knowing that even though i think hubby has every right to just say this is all too much for me, he stays and loves me more. And my girls (2 and a half and five months), the moment with them that make me smile and laugh and just break my hear with pure joy. I hold onto these.

    Sending you lots of love. If I did know you I’d drop around a bath of healing soup and a cake. S xx

    • This means so much, thanks for noticing I was distracted. Your words are as healing as soup, so thank you. xx

  • I hope it all comes back as a minor problem that can be easily fixed. Not knowing must be horrible.

    • Me too. I’m sure I’ll be coming back here and announcing that it was my small toe {or something equally as embarrassing} all along and I had everyone worried for nothing.

  • You’re such a beacon of light Chantelle. Your light can’t be easily snuffed out. x I’m praying that the results come through that you don’t have cancer. It’s awful living in the in between of a diagnosis. Cry and let the emotion out and try not to dwell on the negatives or the what ifs. I will be praying for you sweetie. xx

  • Sending you lots of love light and strength to get through this difficult time

  • Georgina Moon

    Oh my goodness. I don’t know you either, but I feel like I do, from your writing. I hope things work out for you and it is a happy ending. You sound like a very positive person and your strength will carry you through.

  • sweetheart with the sweet heart. Be kind to you. Love and light xxx

  • Domenica

    Nope, I refuse to accept it is anything other than a dodgy gallbladder because you are awesome and the universe is going to play nice. NICE, universe! Now go and have lots of chocolate cake while you can justify it as therapy for stress. (PS My levels went CRAZY when my gallbladder was stuffed. No idea what the levels were that were up high, but I remember the docs being concerned. Now go and eat cake.)

  • Uncertainty is so uncomfortable. I like to read the last page first. I’m pretty sure your last page features you and the hubs playing bingo. Be thinking of you until we know for sure. xxx

  • Lisa Bailey

    Chantelle, I can only imagine how terrified you are feeling right now. You are an incredible, inspiring woman and to think of you as feeling so weak and out of control is devastating but understandable. I hope that everything works out for you and that you continental to share any news with us. Best wishes from here in the U.S.A.! <3

  • Cat Bensein

    Hi Chantelle, I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts. I had huge complications with my gallbladder and it created some huge red flags on my blood screens. I even turned a lovely shade of bright yellow while I was in hospital waiting for the influmafion to settle before they could go in remove it! I’ve felt much better since! I remember my doctor told me that “a quarter of western women will die without their gallbladder” I nearly died thinking if I had it removed I only had 1:4 chance of surviving the surgery – turns out he meant that when a western woman dies of natural causes 1 in 4 won’t have a gallbladder Haha!

    I really truely hope that after the removal of that pesty little gallbladder you will be feeling better than ever and that your other tests are clear.

    I will be thinking of you and wishing you health and happiness. Xxx

    • Oh gosh Cat, I had no idea you went through that.

      I see my GP today and I hope to have a plan. xx

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    Chantelle I hope your worry for no reason lovely,I am sending love and virtual chocolate and flowers and keeping you in my thoughts for a great outcome,thank you for sharing your health concerns it’s sometimes better when we share Xx?????

  • Maadz

    Hi Chantelle, I read your blog regularly because I love your work but have never commented on your posts before. But I really felt the need to comment on this one. I think you are so brave for sharing this. I sincerely hope you are ok and get through this period of uncertainty soon. xx

    • Thanks for starting to comment Maadz. It was nice to see you pop up. And thank you for your kind words. xx

  • Sarah @sarahdipityblog

    Oh Chantelle, I’d be exactly the same as you, I don’t do uncertainty well at all. Take care of yourself x

  • Love, hugs and crossed fingers. Uncertainty is the pits but I’m a big believer in instinct. Go with your instincts. x

  • Melanie Dias

    It’s the uncertainty that gets us every time. Stay strong.

  • I hope you get very clear, positive news soon Chantelle xxx

  • Oh Telle you are in my strongest, healthiest, happiest thoughts and prayers. I’m writing this through tears as an over thinker and a motherless mother knowing all of those feelings swirling through your mind right now. Be strong. Stay positive. Face whatever with all your ‘fierce’ xxx

  • Barb N

    … oh dear.. Chantelle , my heart goes out to you… It’s not nice to be waiting and confused about what is happening to yourself… sending hugs and prayers to you… praying that all is well and the results are good.. xxxxx You are so brave to share this post.. xxxxx

  • What a blessing you are to share this journey with us and remind us of our mortality. It reminds me to appreciate my life as it is right now because who knows what will happen tomorrow.

    I hope you have all the information you need to know what your future holds super soon xx

  • What an amazing woman you are to have been able to continue doing what you do while feeling so tired, being low in iron and not knowing it. I take my hat off to you! And pray that you will be okay. I’m sure you will be. Stay positive x

  • I love your Brave & Strong approach.. rock those R&B songs and keep positive but do be kind to your body.. we only have the one πŸ™‚ Kisses to you sweet x

  • You are brave and strong, there’s no doubt. You’re also surrounded by a lot of people who really care about you, so if it ever gets too much, please let us be brave and strong for you. x

  • Leigh Blaikie

    how eff’d up are our minds sometimes! scary stuff makes us automatically assume the worst .. but that’s just human, I know, I’ve been there and done that the last 6 months or so, it’s scary, it puts bags under your eyes and no amount of words from anyone will take away your concerns however, you are an amazingly strong woman and whatever it is that you face (which I’m sure will be no where near as bad as our crazy brains will let us imagine!) you will conquer! the scary stuff shapes us just as much as the smiley stuff .. and as clichΓ© as it sounds, we don’t know how strong we are until we have to be! sending blessings, stay strong but remember it’s ok to cry too! thank you for sharing this, it’s amazing how many of us have been here but don’t often talk about it! (((hugs))) x

  • My goodness that’s so much to think and worry about, I do love your attitude and have all the things crossed. I hope my big girl panties don’t get an outing for awhile…. but you are an inspiration. Kia Kaha xxxx

  • janice meyers foreman

    I spent a good deal of my life needing iron infusions, my body just couldn’t absorb or hold the iron from food! I remember the tired, exhausted feeling, and the not knowing is also exhausting. wishing you well.

  • Cassandra Muller

    Hi Chantelle, you can do this with your granny pants on. I Beleive in you. I have severely low iron, lumpy breasts, a dodgy thyroid, coeliac disease and pernicious anaemia ha. Basically my body is trying to kill itself all the time. I lost my sister to cancer. The uncertainty is shit, but working in health and safety I realise that life is shit for a lot of people. Our lives and our bodies are so precarious its a wonder any of us are still alive. Life is uncertain, I’m not saying be brave, more that every day we are alive is a miracle to treasure. So hug your baby girls and your gorgeous husband, love them and cry with them and make something beautiful everyday. You are amazing and strong and have made the whole world a better place through your writing. I once got on a plane to meet that guy in Sydney because you told me to take a chance on love. And I did and he wasn’t worth it but I was. Embrace the uncertainty it is shit but it’s also the world giving you space to treasure every single little thing. Love to you and your family sweet girl. And if it is cancer you will handle it and beat it with the same grace you do everything else. Big hugs

    • I wonder the same, “HOW IS ANYONE ALIVE IN THIS WORLD?” but we are, and we have to embrace and do crazy stuff, like take a chance on love.

      Thank you for your comment. You made me smile. xx

  • Lauren Russo – Love_Live_Loz

    Love… you’ve still got this. You are strong, and brave and courageous and all those things but you don’t have to be all the time. Allow yourself to feel whatever you need to, without beating yourself up about it! I hope your results come back reassuring and you’ve nothing to worry about! Sending love, light and virtual cake xx

  • Emily Psaila

    Wow! No wonder you’re scared we all would be the same. The not knowing makes you crazy. I hope all is well and you’re in my prayers for the best of news coming your way

  • michelle barrington

    Uncertainty and the fear it brings can be a horrible beast that once it has its claws into us can be hard to shake. That pit of the stomach feeling and the wave of it that suddenly rushes up and washes overy you and takes your breath away.But you can do it. I empathise with you as we sit with uncertainty now about our son. One day at a time. Your doctors are thorough and while the uncertainty is crap but let the knowledge that they are looking into everything reasure you. Sending you strength

    • I thought of you yesterday, as I do often, and I couldn’t imagine what your journey is like. The worry, the anxiety about taking him in for procedures. You are brave and strong, even when I’m sure you don’t want to be. πŸ™

  • You are incredibly candid Chantelle – I’m sure this will help lots of people. I’m sure that everything will turn out ok but just to say you don’t need to be brave and strong all the time. I think there is this new culture described as ‘manning up’ which is not always very helpful. Look after yourself – be weak if you need to. Good vibes sending across the waves.

    • Thank you for this. Sometimes you just need permission to cry, and I appreciate that. Thank you. xxx

  • Kaye Sayer-Mayers

    A great piece, sharing some serious concerns but I did have a good chuckle at the Enya reference. Also have suffered on and off with low iron – it is so debilitating! Hope your operation goes well. ?

  • Ineedacoffee

    Sucha brave post
    Thinking of you, hope it all turns out fine

  • Thank you for being so open and honest, Chantelle, and giving your readers the opportunity to send positive thoughts and virtual hugs. I’m thinking of you and trusting you will get good news soon that will move you out of the uncertainty.

  • Your honesty and rawness is so refreshing as always Chantelle! I too am a control freak and find it hard at times to let all the emotion out – but do. It is such a release and so natural. In this time of uncertainly and unknown just flow with it. We are all thinking of you and have your back! Sending big hugs your way xx

  • Euphemia Wright

    So. Many. Tears. Sorry I missed this post. *sniffles loudly*. Side note, some of your best writing though. Beautifully written. xx

  • RCTP

    I missed this original post too. I just want to say ((hugs)) x

  • Pita

    Big hugs and well wishes x

@Fatmumslim