The colonoscopy takes place on a Thursday. I have Friday off and the Monday is the August Bank Holiday so Tuesday is back to work. My inbox is full and I'm head down trying to get to grips with what's going on. Then my mobile rings and it's the consultant's secretary: he would like to see me earlier than the original appointment - could I make Thursday? She is at pains to point out that he doesn't have the biopsy results yet but expects to have them Thursday morning; when I ask her if I should bring someone with me she simply says, "For biopsy results I would always suggest you bring someone with you." Strangely I'm not comforted and I spend much of the rest of the day being hugged by text by a wonderful friend who is just recovering from chemo (breast cancer) and so has been through all this testing and results nonsense. Her theory is that the consultant has to go to his kids' swimming gala next Thursday (the original appointment) and he is rearranging his diary.
So Thursday is another hastily arranged day working from home. My boss is being marvellous which is amazing considering all that we've got going on in the office, although I think she also realises that I work hard when I'm working at home. I'm still foot to the floor (deliberately) when DH drags me away for the appointment.
We are the only people in the waiting room as it's the end of the day - the hospital is eerily deserted. "OK" magazine is not enough of a distraction, particularly as the appointed time comes and goes. After what feels like an age, but is in reality only ten minutes, the consultant appears. And I know. I know before he even says a word. There's just something about his manner that is too solemn for anything else. And so the clocks stop.
He will remove the polyp in a laparoscopic procedure. This involves resecting the bowel completely, because of the cancerous cells in the top of the polyp. Bizarrely, the laparoscopic version of the procedure requires an incision almost as large as the non-keyhole version because, of course, you still have to get the bits out. Further treatment depends on what 's found in the section that's removed. He can fit me in next Thursday. I need a CT scan, a pre-admission appointment and an appointment with the stoma nurse. My children might be at greater risk so I should also see a geneticist. I will be off work for at least 6 weeks.
Neither of us cry until we're back in the car. Then we both do.