There is no easy way to tell people but this will be an easier way to keep all of my gorgeous family and friends, my support network, up to date with what is happening. It is hard to know when to call someone during a time like this and people worry about calling too often or not enough. Well, hopefully this will help keep you all up to date during this shitty time.
To give you the heads up, here’s what happened…
About three and a half weeks ago, Sam was doing the normal boyfriend grope while being slapped away which is normal girlfriend behaviour when he found it. The found the lump and I just expected he was looking for more time with ‘his girls’ and using a lump as his reason to get his hands back on them. Well, turns out he was right. I hadn’t noticed it but it was definitely a lump. I wasn’t overly concerned but Sam was. He asked me to go and see a doctor as a matter of urgency and being the well behaved (ahem!) girlfriend I am, I actually went. This doctor that I saw was from one of those walk in, you get the next doctor available after those waiting get seen, kinda clinics. I overheard the receptionist tell another patient that there were 68 patients with 10 doctors. Thank goodness I had one of my cousins manuscripts in my bag to read.
The wait went pretty quick thanks to a great read and without examining me, the doctor wrote out a script for antibiotics to treat mastitis. I am 43 years old with my one and only child being almost 22. I think it is pretty clear that I am not breastfeeding anymore but he insisted it could happen to older women too. At a last through, the doctor advised he supposed an ultrasound should be done so wrote me out a slip for that too. Over to the X-Ray sign I went and they booked me in for an ultrasound a few days later.
When you are in your early to mid 40’s, most of us would have had a few ultrasounds in our time and know the difference between the norm and one that isn’t so normal. The scan lady had spent quite some time doing her thing before calling in the ‘head dude’ who had quite a few questions to throw at me. Yeah, he was one of those doctors who were probably brilliant at what he did but has absolutely no bedside manner what so ever. I mean, I am laying there with my girls out. But he starts firing questions like, have you knocked your breast lately, has your breast always looked like that, show me with your finger where you think the lump is, how long have you had the lump, family history etc. He then says, book in for a mammogram as a matter of urgency please and walks out. That’s it? Ok, so off I go to the waiting room for another extended wait, more manuscript and candy crush saga and yay me, I get the same doctor as last time. I explained to him what the head guy had said about getting a mammogram as a matter of urgency. The doctor asked why. Um, how would I know why? I explained that the head guy who had told me this worked in the same building, just across the waiting room if he wanted to go and ask. The doctor then asked if I wanted a mammogram or an MRI. Now, I am about as much up with these words as long as they have been used on M.A.S.H. but it doesn’t mean I know the difference. So, he sits looking at me, waiting for my answer like I am on a game show. I answer, lets go with mammogram! He nods and proceeds to fill out a form for me to take with me and had a number of a clinic I needed to ring. He then asked, oh, do you need me to examine you? WTF? Is this guy the doctor or am I?
Obviously, this guy had really annoyed me but as he didn’t seem overly concerned about me, then neither did I feel any concern. The following day, I phoned the phone number he asked me to call. It was the same clinic he worked at and they advised they do not do mammograms here. Huh? The receptionist provided me with a different contact number of a different clinic, they didn’t do them either. After about 4 or 5 phone calls I had now had enough. I called my own doctor which is what I should have done in the first place. The reason I didn’t bother is because she is 45 minutes drive away and I didn’t think it was anything important.
I saw not my doctor but my doctors colleague. My doctor is so very popular and near impossible to get into without much notice. Dr Eleanor was amazing. She had me booked into for a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy after EXAMINING ME! I saw Dr Eleanor before Easter and I was unable to get into have these things done until the Tuesday after Easter.
This is where it gets real…
I went to St Andrews Hospital to their mammogram and ultrasound clinic. Same story as the first time. The lady did the mammogram (yes, they DO hurt) and went off to talk to the head person and came back saying she needed more scans with a magnifying screen. Then, off to the ultrasound section (more candy crush saga while I waited). Into the ultra sound room and I am starting to notice a theme with these scan rooms, they are all a bit ‘romantically lit’ with dimmed lighting. I wonder why that is?? I’ll see if I remember to find that out one day. A new lady set about scanning me and then two more ladies came in. The original mammogram lady and a smart looking lady. She had curly brown hair with a fair bit of grey in it. She looked like one of those ladies who were very intelligent and didn’t need to bother themselves with make up and hair styles. She asked me a barage of questions like the other head guy at the other clinic, asked for a feel (my girls are feeling very popular right now) and watched the screen where the scanning was being done. She then told me I had cancer. She could see it and it was quite obvious. She asked that I made it a matter or urgency to see my doctor once these tests had been completed. I explained I was seeing my doctor the next day. Four core tissue biopsies of my poor sad left boobie and a needle biopsy of the lymph node under my left arm and that was it. I have cancer.
Wednesday, 8th of April, it was confirmed. Dr Eleanor told me I have breast cancer. She also confirmed it had spread to my lymph nodes under my arm. She let me cry a little, called Sam in and together we listened to the next course of action. She organised an appointment to see who is soon to be my new best friend, Mr James Kollias. A few hours later, we were seated in his fancy office listening to his game plan. He was personable, relaxing, calm and confident. He was magnificent.
Tomorrow, Tuesday 14th of April, 2015, I will have 5 hours worth of scans.
Wednesday 15th of April, 2015, Mr James Kollias will tell me if he is able to operate to save my life. The scans will tell him how far the cancer is spread and naturally, I am hoping with all the hope I have that it hasn’t gone for too much of a walkabout in my body. Mr Kollias advised me last week that he hoped to be able to operate at the end of this week. Fingers crossed he can.
We know this much…. I’ll lose Ms Leftie Boobie. I’ll probably give up Ms Rightie too because Mr Kollias tells me that he builds the most amazing boobs. Yep, thats what he calls them. So, why get just one new one when I can have a pair of beauties? I’ll have an operation on the lymph nodes under my arm.
I haven’t blogged for quite a while so hopefully I have done it all correctly and I believe you can subscribe to be notified when there is a post or you can just save the address and pop in once in a while to see where we are up to. I will make all of the excuses now for not answering the wonderful text messages, emails, facebook comments etc. I might be tired, Sam might be busy, Mum might be at work. All of these reasons and more maybe why you dont hear from us promptly. Hopefully I can keep this blog updated regularly so you will know where I am.
Sam and I want everyone to know we are going to fight to beat this. This is just another journey for us to take together and I will make damn sure this man of mine gives me his name at our favourite tree. Sam has said, failing is not an option and he is right. We will beat this together and with everyone behind me. Thank you everyone for your love, support and concern not just for me but for all of those around me. It will be a tough time for all of us but I am hoping one day soon, we’ll all be sharing some wonderful bubbles and happiness celebrating my health and cancer free body (oh, and my fancy new boobies).