I just wanted to share something with you that happened to me around 1month or so ago.
I was lying in bed on a Saturday night when I discovered a lump in my left breast. I have always been fairly good with checking myself regularly as I have a long and horrendous family history with cancer.
My mum has been battling a rare form of breast cancer for a number of years now. It is fairly dormant these days but she is now dangerously low in vitamin D, calcium and requires regular checks on her heart because the strength of the 38 weeks of chemo and radiation she endured; was pretty much enough to kill a horse. She will never be “in remission” due to the type of cancer it was (we always told her she was special, you see). It will just switch from being dormant to aggressively trying to kill her whenever it wants to.
My Mum’s mum has had both breasts removed due to breast cancer quite some time ago and had been diagnosed with a form of cancer in her back as well.
I lost my dad to lung cancer when I was 13 years old. He was diagnosed and then 11months later he passed away. Needless to say, my family has the cancer gene.
You can imagine that finding this lump in my breast made me heart skip a beat. Life as I knew it started to flash before my eyes. I had visions of a doctor telling me I had breast cancer and I thought to myself, my god, if this is what I think it is, I am going to fight this with all I have. It blows me away, that only a few years ago I was smoking and drinking and not looking after myself because I felt that there was nothing good to live for. These days I am so happy, if I die of old age at 100, that is not enough time for me to spend on this earth.
I booked an appointment to see my local doctor on the following Tuesday. I knew that my breasts had changed a lot (read – gone completely) since losing a load of weight and I read online that this can be the cause of some lumps/cysts that women find. That was a bit of a relief, but still quite stressful and upsetting having to type into Google “what to do when you find a lump in your breast”. I guarantee, if anyone else on Tumblr has ever done that – it is shit scary.
The doctor told me that the lump was definitely suspicious and I was being referred to a specialist hospital immediately. Nice. Going back to work after being poked and prodded by a few different people – to then sit and wait for a phone call from St Bart’s hospital booking me in for a consultation? Not my idea of fun.
I went to the hospital pretty quickly after my initial appointment. They do that with high risk patients. It was comforting to know that they don’t muck around when it comes to breast cancer! I went to the appointment on my own, feeling pretty numb. I didn’t know what to expect or what to think. Weird, I went with my mum for all her appointments from start to chemo and now here I was without a clue. On my own. In a waiting room filled with other women and their loved ones. Freezing my ass off in the lovely gown they provided for me.
After waiting for around 1.5 hours I was called to see a nice older male doctor who explained what they would look for, how they would look for it, possible scenarios, asked about my family history and then asked me to hop onto the bed. When he told me straight up, yes this doesn’t feel right – I wanted to cry. He found more than one lump and send me for an ultrasound on the floor above. So off I trotted to the floor above with my folder of paperwork and waiting my turn for the ultrasound.
I may as well have been sitting there topless as I felt the whole world had seen my little boobs already! The ultrasound lady was very nice and again, was informative about what was happening and how things may go. I felt comfortable through the whole procedure which was a relief. It was cold and sterile, but the ladies were friendly and informative and comforting. She said that things didn’t look good on the ultra sound, so they would put a needle into the lump (IN MY BOOB!!), drain some of the fluid and then send it off for testing. That wasn’t nice, but it was bearable.
Off I went to wait for the results with all the other ladies in the waiting room. I now know why they have their loved ones there. It was quite a testing time since my mind had gone from being numb, to racing around thinking “what if?”.
I was called into the room with the first male doctor I saw that day, who informed me that I am very high risk and will be put onto a register with the government to find out more about my family genealogy and also get free MRI’s when required. That’s nice, but do I have cancer? Well, the answer is NO. I do not have cancer..
Oh…. My.. goodness.. I almost cried.
He told me that I must book for regular check-ups every 6months, continue with the self-examination and be extremely vigilant. The lumps in my breast are cysts and not cancerous now, but could be in the future. What a relief.
My poor little boobs… are more cysts than actual boob. Its official ladies. I have NO BOOBS. Just cysts. Darn!
So ladies, this was my experience. I encourage all of you to please – get to know your boobs. Check them out. Feel them. Poke and prod them. Get your boyfriends to grope them. Do whatever you can to be aware of your breasts and notice any changes that happen as early as possible. Trust me, you know a lump when you feel it.
If this post makes even one of you go and check your boobs out now, then I feel I have accomplished something!