“I have a really bad back” I say, staring past the young lady Doctor I have chosen because she has the same name as my best friend.
I have to take a deep breath because there is no point in coming here unless I screw up my courage to add “and I have a lump in my breast”.
The words catch as I squeeze them out. Has she heard? Yes.
On the examination table she kneads my underarm. “Is there anything there?” I ask
“I can’t feel anything”.
“Yes” she whispers, eyes squinted in concentration, “at least 3″.
“And the breast?” I manage, “You think it’s cancer?”
“Oh yes” she says “No doubt in my mind”.
I breathe in; gather my courage but I never get the question out. No matter, she sees and understands.
“2 years” she says “but some do better”
“What are you doing for the pain?”
I mumble about codeine and nurophen and she nods and believes me.
I wish she could read again in my face and help me without my having to ask.
“You’ll need to see a surgeon very quickly,” she says.
I start to cry, “Isn’t it too late?”
Tears plop down my face and I look around the room and realise there are no tissues.
A big number 11 forms on my top lip and I purse my mouth shut. She leaves.
She comes back with tissues but I have already used my sleeve.
“The surgeon is just your first stop, she’ll advise you on what will happen” she says looking across the table at me with newly sad eyes. “You’ll need a doctor, I’d like to be your doctor”.
“I knew once I came here and told I would be on a roller coaster”
“I’ll be there for you if you choose me, at any time during this journey, if you need me”.
It’s the first time I have heard the word journey along with anything except trains and planes and buses.
She hands me books and brochures and sticky notes with phone numbers on them.
I clasp it all to me and stand up without shaking and leave the room and the building and strap myself into the 2nd last car of the biggest roller coaster I’ve ever seen.