That day was probably the longest day of my life because it all started with the phone call while I was at work. I left work to take her from the doctor's to the hospital, and then we were in A&E for four or five hours before the specialist could come and see Waheed.
She had emergency surgery, and after that I sat with the registrar looking at her scans and he explained to me that there was a growth on the bone. That’s what had been causing the pain and the loss of sensation in her legs – because she had a growth on one of the bones of the spine that was pushing onto the spinal cord. She was admitted to hospital early in the morning after she’d been to the GP. The next day, at about 11am, she was in the operating theatre having emergency decompression surgery.
When I got home from the hospital after Waheed’s emergency surgery, it was about two or three in the morning and that was when I first managed to just catch my breath and the full impact of what was happening hit me. At that point I did feel very alone and I really needed someone to talk to. I didn’t have anyone that I could talk to at two or three in the morning. So that was hard. I just had a massive cry. Really the events of the last 24 hours had caught up with me at that point. I was very tired and I didn’t know what was going to happen next.
The next day there were lots of things that needed to be organised. I needed to get the children back from who’d been looking after them, and just get things organised around the house and get back to hospital as soon as possible. I didn’t talk to anyone about the feelings that I had with Waheed’s cancer diagnosis. I read some articles online about other people’s experiences, but I didn’t talk to anyone about them myself.
The surgeon said that if they hadn’t done that when they did, another day perhaps and she could’ve been permanently paralysed in her legs. We didn’t have it confirmed as cancer for about ten days after the emergency surgery, because they had to take some tissue samples of what had been removed and go through a detailed pathology investigation.