The uninvited guest

My Xeloda holiday is about to end. No big deal. I’m turning into the curve and the second part of this phase. I choose love over fear, every single morning. And it works. Despite the corona/chemo combo, life is peaceful mostly.

But after midnight, uninvited guests arrive. This time, it was fear. Pit of the stomach kind of fear. What if my morning appointment brought me unexpected news? I’d felt a new lump in my breast. A small one. Could it be the big C raising its head once more? My knee jerk was to ignore it. I wouldn’t have that much bad luck. I turned onto my side and took a deep breath. Sleep came easily to me and I almost drifted off. And then I didn’t. Last time I ignored a warning, I paid heavily…

The crystal sea was a lake now and tiny waves lapped against the polished boulders. Soon the twelve apostles came into view. Bakoven stretched ahead and the turn up to Camps Bay lay beyond it. Should I mention the lump to Dr G? No. Why open a can of worms? Get the appointment over with as quickly as possible, pick up the meds and come home. That would be the simplest plan. The last stretch to the Pinelands turnoff served to solidify my plan of action. And then we were there.

“I’m here,” I text the secretary.

“Come straight in. It’s all clear,” is the instant reply.

I catch my breath for a second, as I’m stopped at the entrance. The scanner is aimed at my forehead and I hope like crazy that I’m not running a temperature. A masked nurse waves me through. Dr G is there to greet me from behind her own disguise. “Bit surreal, isn’t it?” She indicates the chair. “How are things going?” There is a feeling of serenity. And total control. She is unflappable and I feel held.

“I have a new lump.”

“Let’s have a squiz,” she offers immediately.

Her hands move expertly. She knows exactly what she’s looking for. “Feels like a little scar tissue. Nothing to worry about.” But she does a needle biopsy anyway. “I’ll ring you in the morning.”

The way home feels shorter and my bout of car sickness is over. Archie is waiting at the gate. He butts heads with Xena and then scampers up the fir tree. No amount of cajoling will bring him down. I can tell that he’s listening to me but he’s intractable. We left him behind and took Xena. He’s nowhere near ready to forgive.

The afternoon mellows into dusk.  I light a fire and unravel a badly knitted beanie. The smell of chicken soup entices the angry hunter to the lounge and I’m forgiven in return for a piece of flesh. I watch a re-run of yet another detective series, before heading off for bed. This time I’ll sleep easily. If the little lump is nothing, then life can just carry on as normal. If not, I’m in the best possible hands. 

The morning brings sad news… my former principal and mentor has succumbed to colon cancer. I postpone a zoom meeting so that I can absorb the shock and spend some time honouring her memory. She was an icon in the deaf world and her passing is rippling through the community. I wonder if she ever realised just how much she was loved. Messages from past pupils are pouring in and I relay the information I have.

There’s still time for a short walk before the morning’s cut off.  Archie watches me stroll down the road. It’s his territory really and he’s not used to seeing me there. When I get back, the phone is ringing. “I’m confirming that the lump is just a little scar tissue. Nothing to worry about.”  If I could hug Dr G through the phone line, I would.

A glass of bubbly would be so good right now…



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