The big day came - results day: Thursday 30th April, 11:00am. I walked in, I remember exactly what I was wearing, where I was sat and the layout of the room. The consultant peeped his head around the corner and shouted my name. I followed him into his office, alongside him sat two nurses who gave me a smile, that kind of sympathy smile you get when you’re about to receive some bad news. I already knew that I had cancer but to be told professionally was a completely different ball game. He asked how I was, I said good thanks even though I had never been so scared in my life. I didn’t even ask how he was; I didn’t care at that moment in time.
“So Jak, bad news I’m afraid, the biopsy results came back and its Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. We think it’s classic”.
I had maintained eye contact with the consultant until the word Hodgkin’s. My head instantly fell, and I was staring at my feet. I couldn’t look up as I pinched the skin on my right wrist begging this was a dream, the worst of nightmare of my life. As someone who is so into fitness, an ex-personal trainer who trains 5 times a week, plays football, walks to work and eats so cleanly it was so hard to take. Someone who almost never drinks alcohol, never touched drugs and never ever smoked tobacco. I just couldn’t accept it, I was so, so bitter. One of the nurses took me into another room, I’m surprised I didn’t topple over as I walked. Head still didn’t look up; if you put that nurse in front of me now, I wouldn’t recognise her face. She tried to console me but, in all honesty, I just wanted to be by myself and I told her I wanted to leave the hospital. She explained what will happen following on from the cancer diagnosis.
I left the hospital and text my partner these exact words: “I’ve been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, cancer. Walking home now, will have a call with someone within the next week to arrange further scans.” She told me prior to the appointment that she couldn’t bare the call if it was bad news, she just wanted it via text straight away. I was on my way home feeling so bitter and sorry for myself. I was judging everybody I saw, thinking why me and not them? Was a very toxic selfish mindset. I got home and it was time to reveal this news to my family, closest friends and work colleagues. The only people who knew at the time of my hospital appointments was my partner and some of my closest friends. I hadn’t told my family about anything as I didn’t want to put them through the stress of ultrasounds and biopsies in hope at worst it would just be an infection and I wouldn’t need to tell them anything.
I called my mum and she instantly sensed bad news, worst call of my life to date. I rarely ever cry; I hold my emotions back very well, but she set me off. She had been halfway through her food shop at the time and still to this day hasn’t gone back into that specific supermarket.
Next up, my dad; again, dreadful call. I think he thought I was joking and as the realisation slowly crept in, his tears muffled his words.
One of my closest friends called me for a random catchup. He was unaware of my ongoing hospital appointments, he was devastated. In a morbid way, it was nice to see how much people outside of your family care for you. That helped me a lot during this time.
Consult were brilliant with me. I was fearful of redundancy, sick pay etc resulting in losing my flat and potentially having to move back home. On the day I was diagnosed, HR called me and reassured me of my position for as long as I’m ill, no targets until I’m physically and mentally better again, full pay and when work becomes too much, just stop.
Getting diagnosed with cancer was somewhat ironic considering I had shaved my hair short just 11 days before hand.