The doctor explained to me what she called “standard procedure”, “usually we treat this like this”: Wide excision (cut more tissue away from the original tumor), and sentinel lymph node dissection (look for cancer in the next lymph node). She didn’t wait for a reaction from me, she gave me a piece of paper and told me to go to another ward for inpatient treatment. Her last words to me where: “And don’t let them just send you away!” I remember that made me angry.
On the inpatient ward I was not the only one waiting for a date to be admitted. The patient next to me complained about her bruises, that could not be explained. Shock had set in, I had started shivering and just couldn’t stop it. I wanted to yell at her: “And I have melanoma, so just shut up!”
At least my inpatient treatment was scheduled for the next week without any hassle.
Then came the worst part: To tell others.
I stood crying at the train stop and talked to my husband at the phone, who worked in Cologne at this time. We agreed I would pick him up at work and we would drive home together. I wouldn’t have managed to go home by myself.
I must have called my employer at some point and told them I wouldn’t come in this day, but I don’t remember this.
Then I stood before my husband, still sobbing, and his boss told him just to take me home, so he did.
I wanted to tell my parents later in person, we had set up an appointment weeks ago.
At home I realized we wouldn’t be going to Malta next week. More bad news. But my husband and I agreed: Health comes first, cancer treatment is more important.
On the next day I went to work. We agreed I wouldn’t come in before my hospital stay and that I would call in later, when I know more. One colleague said, she would have gone on vacation if she were me, to recharge. But I would not have been able to enjoy the vacation knowing what lies ahead of me. And there was this voice in my head saying: ” Do it NOW!” Putting of treatment never was an option. And so I said goodbye to my colleagues.
I told my parents a few days later when we were having them over for coffee and cake. We had wanted to meet one more time before our vacation. Well, the occasion had changed. My parents didn’t know until then people die from melanoma. But they kept the shock to themselves.
After everybody knew, all I had to do was waiting for the treatment to begin.
~ To be continued ~