Cancer Diagnosis, The aftermath of the diagnosis

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A dedication to a very special sister

Louise and I went to my parents’ home to break the news to them first. It was her idea, she knew they would be devastated and she wanted to tell them herself face to face in their own home and not on the phone or to hear from another relative. Understandably, they took the news that their daughter had breast cancer rather badly.

One by one the rest of the family were informed and we all decided that we would pull together to help Louise, her husband and her two daughters get through this ordeal. After a night of intermittent crying and sleeping, I awoke to the awful realisation that it wasn’t a nightmare. It hadn’t gone away. My little sister had cancer. How could that be, she was my little sister after all, it wasn’t supposed to be this way. The day loomed ominously ahead and I lay there in a zombie-like state wondering what I could do to help my sister feel better, I mean if this was how I was feeling how on earth she got through the night I’ll never know.

Then my bedroom door opened and my son Scot popped his head round and was smiling at me, I didn’t recognise him at all, something was wrong, very wrong, but at first I couldn’t think what it was in my semi-conscious state, and then it struck me. He was totally bald, and he certainly wasn’t the last time I saw him.

I said “what have you done” but he just stood there smiling. Eventually he muttered, “I did it to support Louise – its only hair”. My son had shaved his entire head bald using a small razor. Yes he had cuts on his head too. I mean this was a 15 year old boy who hadn’t really started shaving his chin yet and only a few days before had spent a small fortune on having his curly lochs straightened and dyed blonde. I actually didn’t know what to say and found myself asking him if anyone else had told him to do it. In some strange way I wanted someone else to be responsible. No, he had done it of his own accord. I realised this was having just as big an impact on the rest of the family as it was having on me.

Scot then left to go and show my other half his new look and true to character, Serge didn’t react at all. Somewhere in my subconscious I took this as a sign that it was all ok. Inwardly I was worried about what Louise might say. She hadn’t lost her hair yet; she hadn’t even started her treatment yet, although she had been warned that she would lose her hair. I wondered if the reality of what was ahead might hit home too soon if she saw Scot. I was wrong; Louise was extremely touched by his gesture of support and informed us all how much she loved us.

I started thinking of my poor mum and dad and my other sister, and how they were devastated too. I knew they were in a lot of pain and I felt saddened by the fact that they were all alone at home with only their thoughts for company.

Later that second night a whole gang of us went to Louise’s house to comfort her, or perhaps it was to comfort us, I just don’t know, Louise seemed to be coping just fine, she even made us all laugh with her jokes and sharp wit. She already knew deep down she informed us, so it hadn’t come as such a shock to her. Turns out she had found a lump some time before and knew she had to do something when it starting growing rapidly. She hadn’t told anyone to start with. How I wish she had, not that it would have made any difference, but you just never know.

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