As our taxi navigated Shanghai's rush hour traffic heading toward the local hospital, I had an apprehensive feeling about the looming prospect of another stomach inspection. No breakfast today yet and on top of that the unpleasantness of that snake-like camera tube wriggling down my throat again is definitely not the best way to start anyone's day. On the upside, the previous month's gastric pain and discomfort had dissappeared, so the treatment appeared to have been successful and I thought this check was going to be just a formality. Ha, I could not have been more wrong...
The camera inspection seemed to take ages as the diligent Dr Wang carefully scanned around every nook and cranny of my stomach, she finally declared that no gastric infections were to be seen, however there was a little puffiness in the top part of the stomach wall, which led her to suggest I should have a CT scan just to see what is going on outside the stomach. I didn't feel worried at this stage, after all my stomach complaints had gone and I was feeling the relief from that, so how bad could it be? Reluctantly I agreed, just to be on the safe side.
Things move fast in a Chinese hospital, the next day Jenny and I were looking at my CT Scan image with Professor Yang (Radiology) who pointed out two shadows, one in the liver and one near the pancreas. He then advised an MRI, ultra sound and blood test for cancer. Immediately my thoughts rushed to grasp what I was hearing, yes I heard it right he used that dreaded word "Cancer" and not only did he say the big C word but also that it could be Pancreas Cancer already spread to the liver. I felt numb as the shock surged through my body, this did not sound good at all. Anyway next stop that afternoon was the blood test, Ultra sound, which confirmed the two shadows and MRI.
That evening I made desperate searches on the web to quickly learn about Pancreatic cancer, what it is and how bad is it? Those short searches only served to fuel the fear and uncertainty that was already hammering loudly on my door, so I wisely reasoned with myself and Jenny that it is best not to jump to conclusions until we get more evidence (and that as you can imagine that is easier said than done).
The following day heralded the start of 2015 Chinese New Year holidays, so that meant a week's wait before receiving the results of the blood test and MRI. That week presented the first in a series of many difficult challenges that my wife and I would face in the coming weeks, we had to quickly learn how to handle the ferociousness of fear and uncertainty!