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On being told I might have cancer
(CATALONIA TODAY – SECTION: LONG-TERM RESIDENT - ARTICLE FIFTEEN)
It started with a cold, about a month ago, which I smothered with an evil little over-the-counter product called Couldina (which includes codeine, a morphine derivate, among its ingredients). A week later, I stopped taking the Couldina and the cold sprang back with a vengeance, throwing in a nasty cough for good measure.
I went on hawking and sneezing for the next fortnight, and when the coughing got so bad it started to produce painful muscle contractions in my chest, I decided it was time to visit the nearest A&E.
The doctor sent me off for an X-ray to see if there was any bronchitis involved. Once he'd seen the pictures, he immediately ordered a magnetic resonance scan, after which I was placed in a small room and left alone for three hours. This, it turned out, was the time it took for the X-rays and scans to be analysed over the internet by a specialist at another hospital. By now, I was beginning to suspect I had something a little more serious than a cold.
Sure enough, when the doctor stepped into the room, he came out with the strangely familiar line: 'I don't want to scare you, but the news is, frankly, not so good'. He placed the X-ray of my chest against a light-plate, and pointed to a disarmingly large sphere floating at the bottom of the right lung.
This, he explained, might be a pocket of air, a benign tumour or – and here he paused – a cancer. He urged me to see a pneumologist first thing Tuesday.
By the time you read this, I will have been told, I hope, what it is I have. If it turns out to be the worst of my three options, I promise not to talk about the approach of death in every succeeding column. On the contrary, I will talk about everything but. Life, I have just realised, is even more interesting than I had previously suspected.