We knew, before we got the results of the biopsy that Chris had cancer.
The GP had told him as much, the tumour had spread indicating strongly that it was malignant. When we went to officially get the results there was no shock about what we were being told, there were no tears or anger. We just sat and well, stared. Waiting for the doctor to tell us how they were going to fix it. Make it go away.
Only when he started explaining what it was, rare, bone cancer, Ewings, amputation, did the warm heat of impending panic start to creep up the back of my neck.
‘But when you take the leg, I’ll be ok, it’ll be gone, it’s not life threatening if it’s just in my leg’ Chris finally asked
‘I’m sorry, it’s a very aggressive cancer, I’m afraid it is life threatening’ was the reply.
‘Well this is all a bit shit’ I said.
Flashbacks of how long his ankle had been swollen, how long he’s been in pain, the days out we’d had earlier in the year when the next day he couldn’t walk, all the times I’d given him little to no sympathy because I’d thought it was gout.
We had not caught it early. They tell you to catch it early.
Chris was sent round for a chest x-ray, the first organ cancer spreads to is the lungs. There was to be no more waiting around for appointments, from now on he would be fast tracked, they would call with results.
I didn’t sleep that night. We had taken our bed down as we were getting a new one delivered, Chris was on the camp bed in Lilys room. I couldn’t be alone, I ended up curled up on the floor wrapped in a duvet next to Sams cot listening to him breathe, resisting the urge to pick him up and cuddle him.
I tried to sleep but spent the night Googling what this disease was, looking for statistics, some shred of hope I could cling to.
Thinking about how this would affect the kids, how this could certainly turn Lilys world upside down, how we, the kids, I, could cope with this, if the worst happened. My stomach churned, my eyes stung.
Friends text, messaged, visited and I was just numb. I became monotonous in my telling of our sorry tale, if I stuck to facts then I could lock the fear away, the tears.
Two days later Chris was on his way back from somewhere, and he rang.
Doctor Gregory had been in touch, his lungs were clear.
His Lungs were clear.
I burst into tears.
I’m fighting them back now typing it, remembering it. That moment he said those words.
His lungs were clear.
That was the only time I have cried over cancer, over this situation.
I sobbed all afternoon. I cried until Chris got home, I cried when I hugged him, I cried telling people the ‘good’ news, I cried every time I thought about it.
His lungs were clear.
I cried with relief.
In those tears I knew he could fight.
In those tears I knew the statistics would be wrong.
In those tears is where I found hope.
In those tears is when I knew we would be mighty.