What I certainly wasn’t expecting was to be told was that I had a tumour in my pancreas.
A CAT scan would reveal more, and two weeks later Jas and I were sitting with an upper gastro-intestinal, liver, biliary and pancreatic surgeon discussing the situation and where to go from there. Seeing his serious expression and hearing the words cancer and malignancy in the same sentence while being introduced to the lovely woman who would be my counsellor going forward, suddenly it was all too real, all too serious, and all too frightening. Pancreatic cancer sits at the bottom of the table for survival rates; it’s the one you really don’t want to have and that’s why, having sent Jas off to work that afternoon I threw myself into a full-on weeping, wailing, ranting, why-me fest before conceding that strangely enough, I actually felt fine. I had no clear symptoms and given the annoying twinge had disappeared almost as quickly as it had materialised I could hardly be at deaths door.
And so, as most of us do in these situations, waiting the short time for the next investigative procedures - a camera down the throat and biopsy followed by an MRI - I turned to the internet for more information and found it full of stuff on fighting cancer with the right focus and a heavily plant based diet. How easy could that be? Already I was seeing the final score as me one, cancer nil and you can't get more focused than that! Discovering that these nasty invasive cells just love sugar and amino acids, the fridge and cupboards were cleared. Out went the designer ice-cream, the brie-slathered baguettes and Nigella Lawson’s favourite chocolate, along with all dairy and meat. In came salads, vegetable curries and healthy carbs. And for the first time ever, I was cooking from scratch. I’m not a saint though and completely fell off the wagon last weekend at our niece’s romantic wedding in Napier. Hitting the champagne with complete abandon I also made short work of the lovely desserts, not to mention the fabulous wedding cake. You see, it’s not the will-power I lack, just a touch of the 'won’t' power every now and then!