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Thursday, 23 July 2009

Waiting for the diagnosis

Well, here's something I really didn't see myself writing about. I'm quite a lumpy boobed person and I try to examine myself before each monthly period. However, one morning, about 3 weeks ago, in the shower, I felt a lump on the upper side of my right breast - if felt different, small, hard - as though it shouldn't be there. A day or so later I decided to visit the doctor as it was playing on my mind. The doctor asked me to return a week after my period, which I did. The lump was still there and he referred me straight away to the Primrose Clinic at Derriford our local breastcare centre. I only had to wait a week for the appointment, which was last Monday.


At the clinic I had the usual visual checks and the specialist felt around and marked the area of the lump. I had a mammogram done on both breasts. The specialist saw me again and said that they were going to do an ultrasound and possibly some other tests. I went for the ultrasound and the gentleman who did the ultrasound mentioned the lump that I'd found was in the lymph, but there was a second lump in the main breast tissue. He decided to do a biopsy on the lymph lump and said that they may decide to do biopsies on the other lump on the same day. The fact that they found a second lump made me begin to worry - I hadn't felt that one at all. I went back to the waiting room as I was to see the specialist again. I was OK, reading my book, trying to take my mind off it but I began to overhear other women talking about their experiences and to be honest I couldn't zone out of their conversations - it was like a morbid curiosity scenario - anyway needless to say it began to scare me. I felt tears welling up in my eyes and I couldn't hold them back. I was trying to pull myself together when a nurse walked through and saw that I was upset so she kindly took me into the examination room and let me sit by the window to get some air. She went off to see if she could get the specialist to talk to me. A few minutes later the specialist was there with a cancer care nurse that I hadn't met before. The specialist asked me how I was feeling and all I could manage was "scared!" at that point she explained to me that they were concerned, but that whatever it was, it was treatable. She said she thought I'd been through enough that day and that they would hold off the other biopsies until next Monday when I was to go back for my results on the first set. The specialist asked if I had any questions and I said at that point I was so shocked about the second lump they'd found, I didn't know what to ask. They were very understanding and very nice. The specialist then left me with the cancer care nurse who told me that I could call her and talk to her about any concerns or worries during this week. Kindly they let me out the back way as I work very close - less than a minute's walk away. I went back to work and just collapsed into tears again. It is hard to explain all the thoughts that were going through my head at that point - I was hanging on to the fact it was treatable but at the same time I was thinking things like "I can't even tie a bandana!" stupid huh? Obviously I didn't stay at work I went home, I was a mess. I spent the afternoon talking to people on line, people who'd survived breast cancer sharing experiences and I think it's the best think I could have done. Slowly I begun to realise that there was hope, that it may not BE breast cancer to start with and, even if it was, I am not powerless, I can make choices for myself in certain areas and that I can get through it. It amazed me just how many women wanted to show solidarity - how many women wanted to say "I'll be there for you!" it was incredibly heart warming. Some people I know would keep this to themselves, wait for the diagnosis and live this week in turmoil. I honestly feel that talking to people from the outset was the right thing for me. They've really helped me to get this far without panicing myself too much. So, if you're reading this ladies - from the bottom of my heart - THANK YOU.

This week I've been busying myself creating some ATCs and other artwork. I've been thinking that I want to record this time, in full, so that should one of my friends ever experience anything like this, I will be able to offer some consolation at, what I know to be, a very scary time.


The two ATCs below aren't perfect art - they're quick sketches that record how I was feeling last night. I didn't want to dwell on them too much I just wanted to record what was in my mind. Whoever reads this I want them to know that although they look negative I'm actually feeling OK. These are just recording the random thoughts that stray through your mind at a time like this :) Don't be afraid. You have to be strong.




3 comments:

sharon said...

just to let you know....I'm thinking of you tmrw.x

Darcy said...

That had me blubbing, but you know not sad blubbing...'proud of you' blubbing.

xxx

Love the boobie drawings, I wish I had journalled my experience, cos I can't remember even half of it now lol

Dee said...

Aww bless I've only just caught up with these comments. Thank you so much ladies. I know you've started journaling since then Darcy, how are you getting on with it?

Thanks for thinking of me Sharon :-) I'm further down the line now and so far, so good.