The Fight is On

When I was referred by the GP to the radiologist at South Lake, I was led to the scan room by a young dainty girl. She looked at me and got her tongue tied. I thought I should be the nervous party there but no. Trainee. Of course. I would have guessed. Malaysian. I didn't need a confirmation, I could detect one a kilometre away. Just another one of my not-so-useful gifts. 

Nervous girl led me to her mentor, a much more assured lady in her early 30s. The young girl blushed when she instructed me to remove my pants so they could do an ultrasound at my troubled region. Within a minute, I became the guinea pig of the sonographer and her inexperienced apprentice. I was glad most people were dead unconscious during their surgeries. It wouldn't be a thrilling experience at all if you find an intern fiddling around at critical times like those. "Oops madam, I sniped this intestine into two, what's next?" You know, those moments. Fortunately, no matter how the little pretty twisted the cold steely thing around the thick gel she applied generously earlier on, I couldn't be hurt in any way. 

So I spent my time listening to the conversations between mentor and student.

"Turn it up this way and hold it there, freeze, measure."

"Like this?"

"Uh-huh, great job. Now move laterally across and freeze."

Blah blah blah. It soon turned boring.

"Do you smoke?" The senior lady asked me suddenly. Without skipping a heartbeat, I replied negative. "So I don't deserve this..." I added. Both of them laughed out loud. I knew I didn't have a stone that caused the blood in my urine my buddy in Singapore suggested. It was worse than we both expected. That question was very casual but too specific to be random. I was prepared for the worst but I kept that within myself. No point alarming anyone, as I knew no one would take me seriously anyway because I had always been a 'pessimist' in most people's mind.

The GP was worried about what he saw when the results returned. Immediately he ordered me to return to the same clinic to do a CT scan. Fortunately, I managed to get it done on the actual day because the GP put it down on the referral letter as urgent. The CT scan was terrible. I was required to drink a huge jug of iced water with some chemical that was supposed to illuminate stuff inside my body during the scan so they could get the best possible result bringing out the details necessary to  diagnose my condition. My bladder was bursting during the scan. All I could remember was my concentration of the pain of holding my urine till the end of the test. When it finally ended and I was permitted to unleash hell in the nearest toilet, only then I noticed the guy who slotted the needle into my arm did such a bad job that left me a rather big bloody bruise. Mind you, I was a blood donor almost 50 times over during my days in Singapore and I wasn't a pussy when it came to needles. When I meant bad needling, it was bad. How many interns did they have? Fuck.

Back to the GP again. GP was cheerful as usual but his expression switched radically as he went through the conclusion from the radiologist. He looked up at me and asked me strange questions such as, "Is your family here with you?" My gut feeling was confirmed. I wanted to tell him to cut the bullshit and get it out. 

"You have,"

"....cancer," I finished.

The doctor looked a tad surprised at my reaction, nodded and apologised. It could very well be one of the firsts, if not the first time he broke news to a patient diagnosed with a condition that could be terminal if discovered at the wrong end of time. He didn't look seasoned and displayed obvious discomforting having given the role to break tough news to a complete stranger.

"What do I do now?" I asked the good doctor. 

My mental preparation took me only that far. Beyond that, it was shrouded with darkness. With my condition confirmed, I spent the next days and weeks learning about bladder cancer. I read everything I gotten my hands on that I might be able to give a lecture on that topic itself. It was definitely a blow to my family. It wasn't easy for me to reach where I was from the day I decided to step out of Singapore. When it seemed that I had planted my feet firm enough to walk the first steps, cancer intercepted it. 

Though I wasn't born to a well-to-do family, I was very lucky to me the youngest in the family with sisters and parents who doted on me. I didn't have to take on many fights in life. I rode through much of my early life on a piece of fluffy cloud. I cannot even remember when I have not gotten a good fight in ages. 

This will be an interesting one which I can't, and am unwilling, to lose. This fight will be epic. I'm fighting for the ending to be life-changing, not life ending.

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