And so begins two days of testing. They call it staging, in other words, how bad is it? Or, when will you die?
First is a blood test. We go to a local clinic before dropping Mr 20 months to childcare. He rampages around the waiting room as my partner shepherds him towards toys. I take a number and am soon called in.
The form reads breast ca, barely disguised code.
I sit in the chair and the phlebotomist draws my blood, filling tube after tube with dark red liquid.
At the end he says “may I say something..” I nod, what else is there to say?
“You must be strong” he begins, “for that little baby out there, and for your husband. You must be strong for them. You must beat this for them….” he continues clumsily along these lines, reassuring me he will pray for me.
My eyes well up, as they do so often at the moment. So do his.
The day begins with phlebotomist’s tears.
You know it’s bad when even the nurses are crying.