Stephen Norwood - Cancer - Diagnosis 1

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On the 7th December 2010 I arrived for a hospital appointment with my ENT surgeon. The appointment had originally been the day before, but having arrived at the hospital the previous day, I had been informed that the doctor had been called away on family business. The apologetic receptionist asked if I could come back the following day. I was reluctant as I had already missed time off work but she added, "the doctor was very insistent that you come back tomorrow. You'll be the first appointment so you won't have to wait." I agreed and walked away with those words "very insistent" going round in my mind. The words were still going round my head as I tried to sleep that night.

October 2010

This was just a follow up after my really minor surgery removing a painful pimple in my ear canal. It was so minor that I'd be dropped off the operating list on my first surgery date after waiting in the ward for five hours. That was it, the doctor realising that he had to cancel my surgery the first time was now proritising me after cancelling me this second time. I went to sleep.

I arrived early, the usually busy waiting room was deserted and the receptionist was just setting up for day. "The doctor will be with you soon." she said before I had even introduced myself. I sat for a couple of minutes before the surgeon arrived and called me through to his office. "Take a seat", he offered as he began removing his coat having clearly just arrived. "Now look here, Mr Norwood." he suddenly burst as he fumbled with his coat buttons. "This thing we took out." he paused, "Well, it's nasty, really nasty. In fact it is malignant." "You'll have to go off to St George's, they usually see you quite quickly - probably two weeks." I just sat there not sure what I was hearing. Did he just say malignant? Wasn't that something to do with cancer? Why do I need to go to St George's? I sat in silence as he continued. "I suppose I better take a look at your ear." He shone his torch in my ear and announced "Yes, that is healing very nicely. Well, as I said about two weeks at St Georges." I can't remember whether I said thanks, goodbye or anything. All I could think of was that I needed to get out of that room immediately. I needed to escape.

I was back in the car. I had to see my wife, Catherine. I drove to her school. I parked. I went to the office. I was taken through to the deputy head's room. "I need to speak to Catherine." I stated. I don't whether it was my tone, my facial expression or just the out of the ordianaryness of my visit but he said "Of course." and was immediately gone to get my wife out of class. Catherine arrived clearly surprised to see me. "I'm sorry", I mumbled, "but I think I've got cancer." and then I burst into tears.