All Clear Thinking

I’ve had cancer, twice. Both times it came as a complete surprise because I felt so well. I was always fine until they started to treat me, then my troubles started. The cancer conundrum.

First time around when I went back to hospital for the results of my post chemotherapy blood tests and bone marrow biopsy and medics gave me the ‘All Clear’  I ran to the hospital foyer payphone. I  just had to call my mum because I knew she was making herself ill worrying about me.   I rested my forehead on the wall mounted box part of the payphone, shared my news, and listened to her cry with joy.

Today was sweaty, heart pounding, dry mouthed, jelly knees check up day. It comes around twice a year. All clear again.

 Since I was first  diagnosed I’ve lost my mum, my dad and two of my best friends to cancer so I’m not capable of taking good news for granted. It’s not superstition exactly but I always go back to that same payphone in the hospital foyer and press my forehead against it the way I did when I talked to my mum first time around.  I  miss her most when I have good news to share.

Today there was a man already talking on ‘my’  lucky phone, and a queue for it behind him.

I figured nipping in and pressing my head to the part of the phone that was mounted on the wall wouldn’t interrupt his conversation at all and would save me waiting in line. I know now it was a ridiculous thing to do but please remember I was euphoric and planned just to press and run.

Planting my forehead on the phone  gubbins mounted on the wall didn’t interrupt his conversation at all. He was kind of side on to me when I crept up on him. But getting my hair stuck in a crevice between the phone box and the wall did. It really hurt. He saw I was stuck and much too far into his social space and started to shout “Help! Help!”  I started to call “Help! Help!” too because I was bent double and my back was starting to spasm and my hair was  very stuck and the man was panicking because I couldn’t go away. 

Happily a passing Doctor recognised an emergency  when he heard one and released my hair from the grip of the phone using a medical instrument he happened to have in his top pocket – a biro . The man using  the ‘phone was demanding of me “Why you do that? Why you do that?” as I ran away in embarrassment. I think he was Italian.

My husband asked me exactly the same question when I told him what happened and it struck me that life after cancer is like that – you live in a hurry and take chances you may not have done  before. I also talked with him about the wonders of modern medicine which tackled my disease. He only partly agreed with my views on what returned me to good health.  “I loved you back”  he said.

3 comments to All Clear Thinking

  • Julie Pereira

    This has made me laugh, cringe, cry, weep, laugh out loud some more and sigh oo – all in two minutes! That’s quite an achievement for anyone in few short paragraphs. Glad the doctor didn’t drag you off to the mental health unit or t that he Italian man didn’t called the police from that payphone.

  • Ginny Willis

    I agree with everything Julie says in her response – I remember only too well after my cancer operation I asked for I’m gonna live Forever” on the hospital radio. Don’t know if it will work but always hoping so. We are so lucky……

  • that’s great news Anna – so pleased for you…