How do you tell your loved ones you have cancer?!? Unfortunately I was faced with this predicament and to this day I still don't how how I got the words out. Once I had arrived home from doing the school pick up I settled the girls in front of the TV with some afternoon tea. Once they were happy I picked up my mobile phone (hands shaking) and called Ryan. His phone rang out. I frantically tried calling it again and it still rang out. I was becoming impatient so tried calling his office number but this also went to message bank. I suppose in a way I started to panic - I really wanted to speak with him but couldn't get hold of him. Thankfully he phoned back minutes later and I told him through the start of tears 'I have some bad news'. There was a brief silence where I started to sob and I went on to say 'it is cancer, I have breast cancer'. Ryan was in shock but was able to respond with 'oh babe, I'm so sorry I am leaving work right now and will be home soon'. To tell you the truth I don't really remember much more about our conversation - it really is a blur but I remember being extremely upset to the point where I thought I might vomit.
I then picked up the phone to ring my Mum and Dad. Their home phone went to message bank so I immediately called Mum's mobile. Similar to my call to Ryan I told her I had bad news and that it was cancer. I was very emotional and although Mum was in shock she was strong and all I really remember her saying was 'oh Emma, I don't believe it'. I knew she would want to know the exact medical terminology so I told her that it was malignant breast carcinoma (I specifically remember asking my Dr this as I knew both my Mum and Sister would ask!). I have a feeling she was telling Dad in the background but again I don't really remember much more about the call. My next call was to my sister Lizzy. By this stage I was a mess and she knew the news wasn't good the moment she picked up my call - my voice just gave it away. She was also crying so between sobbing I was able to tell her as much as I knew which wasn't really too much. I was relieved I had told the most important people in my life but the whole situation felt quite surreal. I remember actually pinching myself at one point - I wasn't quite sure if I was just in a bad dream. I was extremely emotional and what made the situation all the more hard was my gorgeous little girls asking me why I was so upset. I remember telling them that Mummy is a little bit sick and Jaz always being so curious asked 'where'? I didn't want to tell them too much so just replied with 'Mummy's sick on the inside'. Part of me is relieved that they aren't old enough to understand exactly what is going on but the other half deeply saddens me as I know they are aware that something isn't quite right.
Whilst waiting for Ryan to arrive home from work my mind was racing. I had so many questions that I wanted to ask but I knew the answers would frighten me - first and foremost, what stage and grade was the cancer? Will I need a lumpectomy or mastectomy? Will I need chemotherapy or radiation therapy? Is it anywhere else in my body? Will it come back later in life? I can't deny that dying crossed my mind also - how could it not at a time like this especially the thought of it returning down the track. I know this must seem very negative but I also recall sobbing at the thought of missing out on all the wonderful times that Ryan and I would share in the future if I didn't win the battle (especially a dream of ours to renew our wedding vows on our 10 year wedding anniversary and also for Ryan to take me to New York and experience a horse & carriage ride through Central Park), building our dream house in the Scarborough area and of course seeing our girls reach the important milestones in their life - such as finishing primary school, graduating from high school, their first boyfriend, their first job, wedding day, having children. It absolutely ate me up inside to think that there is a chance I wouldn't be around to be by Ryan's side and to be there for my girls through all their ups and downs. Ryan is a wonderful husband and Dad and I know that he would do anything and everything for our girls but it pains me to think he would have to do it all on his own, should the news be of the worst kind.
When Ryan walked through the door, we just hugged and sobbed. It was such an emotional moment.
Ryan's mum kindly came over and took the girls out for a couple of hours. We didn't want them seeing us so upset so it was nice that Noeleen could take them out for an early dinner.