“It’s not good news…”

Those were the words spoken by the consultant at the ENT clinic in Blackburn Hospital.  That was the moment I knew I had cancer.

Actually, I’d known a few minutes earlier when my wife and I were called in to get the results of my biopsy.  Instead of just the consultant and the nurse in the room, as before, now there was a third person.  A woman with a very serious expression on her face.  And she was clutching a clipboard.

Nothing good ever comes on clipboards.


That was when I knew.

Although, to be fair, I’d suspected what the diagnosis would be when the receptionist in the x-ray department booked in for a CT scan for the next day.  Appointments usually take weeks, at the very least.  Hurrying a scan wasn’t a good sign.

Neither was the fact that the consultant had taken FOUR samples during my biopsy – two from the outside of the lump in my throat/neck, and two from inside.  The complete right hand side of my face and neck had been numbed, and then the consultant had slid open a drawer of tools that wouldn’t look out of place of the set of a horror movie.  They glinted in the harsh, fluorescent light.  If they had voices, they would have been cackling.

The first two samples were taken via a gadget that was pressed against my throat, then a thin saw punctured my skin and slid inside my lump.  It was horrible – not because I could feel the samples being taken, but because I could hear the saw rasping back and forth on the flesh inside, well… inside me!

I can’t even be in the kitchen when my wife cuts up pieces of chicken!

The two inner samples were simply ripped out of the lump.  By that point, I had a weird feeling that something was amiss.  This feeling was enhanced by the consultant’s insistence that I didn’t go home but, instead, returned for the biopsy results in 45 minutes’ time.

That was a fun three-quarters of an hour, I can tell you.

But, does it really matter?  Does it matter if I can pin down the exact moment when I knew I had cancer?  Is that in the slightest bit important?

I really don’t know.


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  1. Tommy, what can one say, please keep writing, and let me know whats happening. I lived in Stacksteads 60 years ago. Up Heathhill Drive.. This week I went along to an Orthodentist to see about getting new dentures, He,s found 2 nodules in the roof of my mouth, so now I am starting on the ct stuff. and yes I,m bricking it, BUT I,m 74,and all kids including grandkids are all grown up. So my dear boy, I feel for you and your family big time. I was a nurse up to 3 years ago. so they say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I will think about you every step of the way… Cant hold you in my arms, BUT I can hold you in my arms. Big hugs to you and your family. xxxx


  2. Ah, thanks for sharing your honest blog. I will be reading your updates from now on with hope and faith for your full recovery.

    I do know how you feel, having been diagnosed with breast cancer in April last year. I was 33 and have 2 young kids. I knew it was bad news when they got my husband and me coffee in Real cups while we waited.

    Best wishes.


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