The waiting room is the same. Only last time, I wasn't anxious. Last time, I was sat here anticipating a good new year; looking forward to New Year's Eve, or more specifically, New Year's Day. Life had just started up again. There was fun, laughter and an enjoyment of the here and now. I was just in that waiting room as a precaution. No one could feel anything. It was just an ache, no lump. Nothing to worry about. Then, once inside, it was the doctor's stroke of my arm, the telling that it would be best to do biopsies there and then, the sudden appearance of the main consultant, the booking in all too quickly for another scan that gave the game away. There were shadows of concern. I usually like shadows.
Sat waiting for the next set of scans, the consent form I found myself filling in became a blur as I had a fleeting thought of my future grown up children. Will I see them? I intended to.
Two weeks later I lost a part of me. I lost a lot else too. But also gained something, with the support and love from those who cared. Harsh medical treatment failed to dent me and I seemed to be a stronger person. There was just a sadness of a loss, a loss of myself and who I had found myself to be. Now I was someone else. The longing to go back was overwhelming at times. I pined for an escape.
Hospital visits became routine. I was well looked after. Life continued as normal - rushing from school run to college, to school run, cooking, cleaning, organising homework, taxi-ing children around, trying to take photographs, trying to make art. Treatment ended eight months later and I had come through it all relatively unscathed, very few side effects, certainly no major ones. A champagne moment. I celebrated with good friends. But I still felt in limbo. With the routine gone came uncertainty, too much reflection, too much dwelling. And too much time on my own at times.
So today I had some good news. The anxiety had taken a hold this time and my request to bring forward what is from now on annual tests to spot any signs of it developing on the other side was granted. That same ache has been niggling me there for a few weeks. So this time, sitting in the same waiting room was different. This time, it was anxious. Several different scenarios were playing over in the mind, full of what ifs.
But the news was good. This time no shadows.