Being told you have bile duct cancer

Maybe it’s my age, but my memory is shocking! We all do it….go upstairs to get or do something, only to completely forget 13 steps later, busy ourselves with some pointless task, only to remember the second you get back downstairs what you origianally wanted.

But one thing that will be etched on my mind for the rest of my days, is being told i had cancer. Myself and Richard had sat in the waiting room, on chairs metres apart (due to socially distancing regulations) and i nervously scanned the room which was full of wall displays with Macmillan leaflets. I tried not to overthink this.

At this point, i had been given ultrasound, CT and MRI scans. These had shown a shadow on my liver. As scary as that was, i was certain i had a cyst or maybe at worst, a begnign tumour. After all, i felt fine. I was not ill at all, i was just experiencing pain.

We were called into a room where we sat in front of the Dr and a Mcmillan nurse. I should have guessed from the look on their faces that this was not going to be good news. I was right.

I was informed that the shadow was in fact cancer of the bile duct and it had spread to a prominent lymph node. I was also told that my cancer was already at stage 3 and inoperable.

I’ll be honest, i didn’t really take much in after that. I thought i had but reflecting on that appointment now, i really hadn’t. I do vaguely remember the conversation appeared to move towards prognosis at which point i really couldn’t take it. My brain just couldn’t process any more information. All i can remember, is holding up my hand in an attempt to stop them talking and said:

“Just tell me there is hope. If i don’t have hope, i have nothing”

The nurse simply replied, “there’s always hope.” What else could she have said? Richard was beside me, in bits.

We were asked if we wanted some time out in another room before going home, which we did and our lovely nurse talked us through some things (i have no idea what). I think Rich may have asked some questions…again, i don’t know what. It was the most surreal experience and reliving it here, is actually making me feel very emotional.

I only had one question; “how do i tell the kids?”

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