I had to go to see Dr Frank the next morning. He had told me nearly a year before that I should have a Glucose Tolerance Test to see if I was diabetic. My blood test had shown that I was borderline even then. As this involves having a blood test then drinking a glass full of glucose and then waiting for two hours in the hospital blood test waiting room, I could not be bothered. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Dr Frank gave me a bit of a bollocking and to be honest it was justified. “Why did you not go for the test? You would now be in the hospital having your op if you had. We would have had it under control by now” He said.
My reply was weak “Well I did not know I was going to get cancer and I did not think it was that important at the time”
We shook hands and Dr Frank gave me some tablets to get my blood sugar down. He was positive as usual and said that we can get the blood sugar down in time for another operation. It really helps to have a friendly and positive doctor in this situation.
The drug is called Metformin. http://www.drugs.com/metformin.html
“Some people develop a life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis while taking metformin.”
I was told that I MUST eat before taking them and if I vomit, then I cannot take them for that day. These sound like heavy gear!
So the next morning I made my way back to QE Hospital armed with me Jah Wobble book ‘Memoirs of a Geezer’ which I highly recommend.
The results came back the following week and it was confirmed that I was diabetic and I was borderline, I could actually have done something about it, but at the time I thought I was indestructible like Captain Scarlet (good title for a song there).
In the meantime, my consultant told me that he would see me again in five weeks to see if we could re arrange for the Mastectomy again. He told me not to worry and that in reality we could wait for up to 6 months, but I was not keen on that option. He gave me Tamoxifen
Tamoxifen (Nolvadex®) is a drug that interferes with the activity of estrogen, a female hormone. Tamoxifen has been used for more than 30 years to treat breast cancer in women and men.
It is a good job that I am ‘down’ with my feminine side!
My Mum had been in hospital for a week by this time with Shingles and a deteriorating back and we both joked as to which of us would be in out of the hospital first.
So fast forward to 23rd February and back at the QE to see my consultant. He asked me how I felt and it was decided that 7th March would be the new date for my operation. But first I would have to have my blood sugar tested again a week before the op date. It was imperative that I eat sensibly and stay stress free.
That very night Kirsty my eldest daughter came to visit which would calm me down. Unfortunately, at around 9.30 that night she had a phone call from her mother that my girls Grandad (who a few days before had had a triple heart by-pass) had taken a turn for the worse, so I drove her back over to Walthamstow as soon as I could. For the record he now seems to have recovered significantly.
The next afternoon (24th February) I had received a phone call from a nurse on my Mums new ward saying that she had deteriorated and that they were going to give her an operation. I tried to ring them two hours later, even though they had told me that they would keep me informed, but could get no reply. Even though I could not go and see her, I felt that I had to be near her, I cannot explain why. I drove over to Walthamstow to our family home and waited there. I was stressed beyond belief and unwisely and stupidly went to the local shop and got some Vodka and Guinness.
I rang the hospital later only to be told that she had not had an operation and they had no idea why anyone had said so. They put me on to my Mum and we had a laugh about the fact that I had panicked and driven over. She was in good spirits and I was now relieved. I was not to know that would be the last time I spoke to her.
The next day, I picked up my youngest two girls Mollie and Emily and drove back over to Plumstead for what I would hope would be a stress free day. I dropped the girls off at home and then went to get some milk. On the way back from the shop I received the shocking news that my Mum was not going to last the night, which was (and still is) a complete shock.
I broke this news to my girls who were deeply upset. They said that they wanted to see her for the last time, so I drove them to the hospital and told them to ‘give nanny a goodbye kiss from me’ Even writing this now it is so distressing and sad.
I went back to the family home and got some more Vodka and Guinness and waited for the call from my girls. This came at around 5.15pm. By this time one of my dearest friends and my cousin and his wife were at the house.
It was a strange experience and feeling.
I thought I was at the house for about an hour, but it appears that it was a lot longer than that. I guess that is what the shock and grief of losing my mother and trying to stay strong for my girls did to me.
I do not know what time I got home, but I did make one life changing decision and that was that I would never touch alcohol again. I believe that out of a negative must come a positive.
For my Mum