About Me

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London, United Kingdom
Holly Searle is a writer and an artist who was made in Soho and thereafter born in the heart of London. She has been blessed with two quite remarkable children and grandchildren whom she adores. She enjoys the company of her friends and the circus that is life, has a degree in Film and Television, and has exhibited her artwork in several exhibition.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Send in the Clowns By Holly Searle

Two months ago I was diagnosed with cancer. It seems like years ago now, as it's really starting to drag.

Since then, I have met and taken my clothes off for strangers, visited 3 hospitals, spent in excess of thirty hours waiting to see people or attending appointments whilst hemorrhaging lost income.

I have had blood tests, biopsies, cardiac reports, MRI's, scans, ultrasounds and one operation.

And this is just the beginning.

Because I decided on the living tissue op (boob off and reconstruction carried out in one fell swoop), it has caused a slight problem in communication between two of the hospitals that have been sharing my care.

In my post lymph nodes removal state, I still had a long list of appointments to attend prior to my big op on June 25th. These are starting to manifest themselves like some crazy most do list in my head that I need to complete as I edge closer to the big cut.

High anxiety

I attend my surgical appointment to discuss my up and coming op to be informed it's now a week later on July 2nd (I didn't get that letter), and then wait around for two hours to see the cancer surgeon, who within moments of finally sitting down with me, it becomes apparently clear that he has none of my information or notes.

He is obviously more than a little stressed about this. But not as stressed as I am about it. Instead of fessing up and saying Look, there's been a massive cock-up, fancy coming back on another day when there isn't, he just tries to apportion blame elsewhere, which makes him look like a clown.

To add insult to injury, he starts calling my cancer my disease. He repeats this phrase several times during the course of our meeting. Disease, disease, disease. So much so that it really starts to grate on my nerves. I haven't got the Bubonic plague, I have cancer.

Seriously. I feel like Alyssa from The End of the F***ing World.

I am furious, as I do not leave knowing anything else or what he proposes to do. I do bag a body scan and a bone scan and the knowledge that if my cancer is bigger, after asking about the histology results from my lymph nodes, that my disease may have spread.


I am so angry. I have a whole weekend to worry about all of this and if my once sex-bombed re-imagined time-bomb body is hosting further possibilities.

My disease and I send emails of despair to those who might be able to shed some light on the situation. All weekend we stress.

Monday I make calls. I am literally shouting HELP as I have lost all confidence in the support from hospital two. Finally I get some.

The incredible supportive team at hospital one rescue me with their empathy, kindness and humanity. They tell me to come and see them and to talk. Then I realise I will be able to hear my lymph nodes histology result a day earlier than anticipated. So I brace myself.

They contain micro cancer too.

Thanks disease.

I ask the doctor I trust what he thinks. He tells me that there are four types of possible cancers that they look for in lymph nodes and that I have the more positive one. He says he thinks my prognoses in his experience should be okay.

But, I probably won't have radiotherapy but chemo instead.

It's all a big top of fun.

On the day my solo exhibition was beautifully hung in Bath, I sat under the hospital atrium in the bright sun light reviewing the images and enjoying that moment of pure joy and normality at the end of an otherwise hectic and emotional day.

Don't you love farce


sonia shuter said...

Love you Holly . You are an amazing person x

sonia shuter said...

You are so brave and inspirational .I think you should share your blogs with the different breast cancer units , they could share with other women going through similar experiences .