Tess and I are having coffee in the sunshine. “How long has it been?” she asks. “How long has what been?” Then it hits me. One year ago today Nick drove me to the Harley Street Clinic. That afternoon Mr Hadjiminas removed two malignant tumours from my left breast.
Suddenly I am reliving it all in full colour: Paper pants and elastic stockings. The walk to the operating theatre. The wait for the lab results. Mr H's serious face as he told me that the cancer was in my lymph nodes. More surgery. Waking up in ITU. Miranda and Eloise arriving late at night. Friends. Flowers. Morphine. Hospital food. Vegetable juice. The compression bra. Walking to the corner of the street. The desperate search for alternative therapies. The ice hat. Armchairs in the chemo unit. My hair coming out in my hands. Sickness. Lying on the couch with the red tartan rug. Hundreds of pills. Getting a wig. Fatigue. Mouth ulcers. Manuka honey. Money anxiety. Crying in the Macmillan centre. The sleeping cap. Writing my blog day and night. Tattoos. Big Bruce.
I have heard said that the full impact hits you later. Today I’m experiencing deep sadness and shock that I simply didn’t feel at the time. Just eight days after finishing the long, hard months of chemo and radiotherapy I was catapulted into traumatic months of betrayal and abandonment. So I never really got the chance to process the emotional impact of having cancer.
I hope I find a good therapist soon.