This isn’t a running post, if anything it is far more important than anything else I’ve written about on here because while my running has been all about lengthening my time on this planet and filling it with adventures, in the past few months I’ve been dealing with something that has threatened to shorten it.
“I have a lump”, is never a phrase you want to say out-loud to a doctor. By vocalising it, some how it becomes real and unavoidable; fear made tangible. This small pea size protrusion next to my ear had been an annoyance for a few years and being a typical man, I had chosen to ignore it. The ignorance of that sentence, enrages me even now. That by simply ignoring the health issue it would magically go away one day. But after instance from my wife and my friends I went to see my GP which ended up in some scans and a few other tests.
Flash forward to August and I finally went under the knife to get it removed. The op was straight forward and over in a flash, however, the lump was far bigger than was originally thought. After only a few hours from arriving and with only a large scar to show for it I was done or so I thought. The lump was sent for a biopsy as they always do but it was then that I fell through the cracks of an incredibly stretched NHS. When I finally heard back I was told that I needed some follow ups, abnormal results threatening to rip through my plans for the future. Some blood work ensued but after what felt like a lifetime I finally had a call to go into to see the doctors. Not doing it over the phone made me believe that it was only going to be one thing. The stress in the silence while waiting for the results had been all consuming but sat in that cold empty waiting room I felt a strange sense of calm about it all, as if I had come to terms with the fact that it would not be good news.
My appointment was probably about ten minutes long but I only remember three words in a sea of science and small talk; “it’s not cancer”. It was simply fibrous tissue; annoying yes, but not malicious in intent.
So while my results have been all clear, the fear that has surrounded it all has made me acutely aware that it could have gone the other way. So boys and girls but crucially boys, as we are so bad at seeking medical help, check for lumps and bumps and if you find anything that doesn’t feel right, go and see a doctor straight away.