Books for Kids

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Night Terrors

I was catapulted from sleep. For a moment, I couldn't understand what was happening to me. The thud I felt as I jerked into consciousness was something I've never experienced before. I tried to concentrate on the rail which ran round the ceiling. It was silver in color and its smooth curves disappeared into the dark recesses of the room. What it was doing there I didn't know or care, for the moment it was my life line. I counted the little upright poles screwed into the ceiling at intervals that held the rail in place. Memory flooded back and I realised the feeling was sheer terror. For those of you who have never experienced night terror be very grateful, for those who have, I sympathise.

As reality kicked in I lay there letting the knowledge wash over me. The only thing that kept me from screaming was to chant repeatedly 'you have breast cancer and you have to deal with it' 'falling apart will not help' I spent the rest of that night alternately dosing and repeating those phrases to myself. It was August 23rd the second night following surgery for breast cancer and one of the longest nights I've ever spent.

I never found a lump or got a call back from a routine mammogram. I just woke up one morning in July with a painful right breast. I mentioned it to my husband saying something like,

'I must have slept awkwardly last night my right boob really hurts this morning.'

Two days later the 12th of July I had an appointment with the practice nurse at my GP's surgery for my B12 shot, by then all I had was a dull ache and my nipple looked a little squashed. During a conversation about my general health, I mentioned the boob.

'Let's check it out' she said, 'just to be on the safe side.'

I don't remember what I was thinking as I stripped off my t-shirt and lay down on the examination couch but I'm sure I wasn't worried. She pressed and prodded for a while then said 'I think I'll just get the doctor to take a look. And so began a journey no woman wants to take, the past had been consumed, the future was incomprehensible, and the present was nothing but a series of tiny footsteps drawing me inexorably closer to a place I didn't want to be.

To be continued...

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