Wednesday, 7 September 2011

A personal post

Sorry about the personal nature of todays post, I assure you that shit and giggles will be returning as normal for tomorrows blog.

Yesterday as I sat in my consultants waiting room I sort of planned this post out in my head. It went one of two ways. Either I was going to be at the start of a long medical journey or I was going to be writing this with a huge massive hangover, a bar of chocolate bigger than my head and a new purchase of something expensive and unneeded.

Well someone fill my glass (again) because this girl is going shopping.


I need to start at the beginning.

A lump in your breast is terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. We hear so much now about checking your bumps for lumps, we hear stories of people losing loved ones to cancer, we raise money for breast cancer and ALL cancers.

But we rarely think anything will happen to us.

We travel through life in a little bubble, putting our money in the box, sponsoring people to raise funds, A couple of years ago I did The Moonwalk with one of my best friends and raised almost a thousand pounds. We spent the night walking and talking with people, sharing stories about why people were walking 26 miles in their bras. Stories that brought a lump to my throat and made me feel a fraud when I replied I was doing it for a challenge.

When my breast first started aching I ignored it, I'm a mother of three, I don't have time to brush my hair let alone make a doctors appointment. And if I went to the doctor with every little ache I would have my own little chair with a name plaque on it, I'm 35, it's all downhill from now on.

After a couple of weeks I finally went to the doctor who diagnosed mastitis, gave me antibiotics and sent me on my way. (Now considering my youngest is 5, I was dubious but the doctor knows best doesn't he?)

A week into a ten day course with no change I was in the shower, soaping myself up, as you do (If all men could keep both hands on the desk where I could see them at this point please) when I decided to check my breasts myself (honest)

If you have ever found a lump in your breast you will understand what I am saying.

I found a lump, a definite lump.

I felt sick, not just a little bit sick. I wanted to throw up. I wanted to call my mum, I wanted to keep it secret, I wanted to cry, I wanted to laugh. Hundreds of different things came into my head and left without giving me time to think about them. I barely slept that night. I kept talking to myself telling myself it was nothing but the "What If" fairy kept messing with my head.

You've all met the "What If" fairy havent you?

The sadistic bitch who can take anything positive you say and twist it into your worst nightmare.

As in, "I will buy this dress for my night out with friends I haven't seen in months. It will look great"

In strolls the "What If" fairy

But what if the dress makes you look fat? What if someone else is wearing the same dress, What if the dress is poorly made, you sit down and the whole thing rips, leaving you naked on the dance floor with all your friends laughing at you.

The "What If" fairy.

What a bitch.

My doctor was amazing, he referred me immediately to the consultant. (He didn't even take up the opportunity to have a feel himself, didn't know whether to feel grateful or insulted)

The wait to see a doctor with any condition is always the worst part. I shared what was happening with a few people. then a few more, and possibly a few more. My original plan was to be brave and keep it a secret.

May I suggest that if you are going through the same situation. Talk about it. It helps. It is like lancing a boil, otherwise the sheer panic that sets in just takes over. It is always helpful to have someone there who understands or will hand you wine and chocolate and just LISTEN.

Seeing the consultant I thought would allay my fears, unfortunately the consultant expressed his "deep concerns" which really didn't help. He decided I needed a mammogram, a ultrasound and possibly a biopsy.

Once more with the waiting.

The sheer panic that was setting in at this point was excruciating. I told everyone I was ok, I wasn't worried. It was going to be okay. but inside I felt like I was screaming. I wanted to run away from myself. The claustraphobic feeling was so strong that occasionally I felt like I couldn't breathe. I could feel the walls closing in on me and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

That is when talking helped. I had friends who would listen to my fears, friends who distracted me and friends who didn't need to say anything, just gave me the hugs they knew I needed.

The mammogram came first.

If anyone tells you that a mammogram is painful. don't listen. In fact tell them to fuck off. A mammogram isn't painful. Yes it is uncomfortable, but not painful.

I'm a 34GG, Squishing my breasts flat is no mean feat. I was slightly concerned that she was squashing them so flat I would be able to sweep the floor with my nipples (a party trick no-one wants) I did ask if she could double them over and squish them flat, it might save on bras, but alas the mammogram lady must have just come out of surgery for a sense of humour bypass as she just ignored my nervous chatter and let me get on with it.

Another tip for you, if you can see the screen with the picture of your breast on it, don't look. I did and petrified myself by seeing what I thought was a huge white lump, now looking back on this if I wouldve concentrated and squinted a bit I'm sure I could've found the face of jesus as well. The mind is a funny thing and can play tricks on you.
Don't look, you are not a doctor, you can't interpret the mammogram.

and then the waiting.

I'm not very good at waiting at the best of times. waiting a week between a mammogram and ultrasound and possible biopsy turned me into the most insane I have ever been. (and I can be pretty insane)

If you have ever had a pregnancy scare, remember how all you see are babies and pregnant women. All I could see was death, It was as though I was carrying around an hourglass and I could practically see the sand just falling away.

I cried, I shouted, I oozed fake positivity like a salt covered slug (I have a beautiful way with words don't I?) I tried to forget about it, I tried not to punch the next well meaning person who asked if everything was ok.

The ultrasound was a breeze. Apart from the lady in the waiting room praying loudly. That was something I really didn't need.

It was a complete turning point for me when the ultrasound technician said that she didn't need to do a biopsy, she could see everything that she needed.

For the first time I felt like I could really exhale. and I dared to say the C word.

CANCER.

As in, "I really don't think it is cancer"

Before I hadn't even been able to say it. The word just stuck in my throat. I could say that I was worried it was serious, I could say anything but not the word "cancer"

Now I could.

I walked around and although it may sound like a cliche I felt like I was seeing things afresh. I dared to wash away all the negativity surrounding me.

Of course the negativity trickled back in while I waited for my consultant appointment. "Perhaps the problem was so big they could just see immediately what was wrong"

Hey, I never said that I pissed glitter constantly.

But now I could push back the bad thoughts with the words from the ultrasound technician "I don't need to do a biopsy"

And yesterday I finally saw my consultant who has discharged me.

He said it is possibly down to hormonal changes.

(Well I am a VERY hormonal dramatic woman)

No cancer, nothing to worry about, no going back in six months.

It is over. Completely over.

I can breathe again, even though I didn't know I hadn't been holding my breath.

I have some apologies to make to people I have been insufferable to. I have some flowers to buy for people who have been amazing.

I want to buy some new bras.

Before this whole thing I didn't like my breasts. I felt they were droopy and past their best.

You know what. I LOVE MY BREASTS.

I will never be ungrateful again for what I have,

Can I urge everyone who reads this post to just take the time to check your breasts. It is so important. I have tried to be open and honest with this post. There are parts I have deleted and rewrote about four times. I don't like to share parts of myself.

Honestly?

Different people get to see different parts of my life. never the whole thing.

But I digress.

Check your breasts. If you find a lump, it isn't necessarily the end of the world. I hope I have showed you that with this blog.

You are entitled to panic, but don't let it take over. Speak to people around you, Listen to your doctor and consultants and know that a lump doesn't necessarily mean CANCER.

My apologies for the length of the post.

If you are still here at the end. Thank you.

For those that were here at the beginning, the middle AND the end.

Thank you.

Your support has got me out of some dark places this last few months.


Thank you again.



Kellie

Big Fashionista x x
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57 comments

  1. Giving you a massive hug (and nestling my head in your bosom). Very proud of you for sharing this and so happy you are OK. x

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  2. What an amazing post kellie! I honestly don't know how you were so brave.
    I'm so glad to hear that the results were negative, hormonal changes are a bastard! Xxx

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  3. Amazing amazing amazing post hun, thankyou for being so open, lots of hugs :-) you go girl xxx

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  4. I'm so pleased you are ok, it must have been a terrifying few months

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  5. Amazing post Kellie - and a timely reminder for everyone to CHECK THEMSELVES! So glad to hear you got good news, big hugs to you and your boobies.

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  6. Thank you soo much for sharing this amazing post Kellie. So so very happy all is okay, sending mucho bigs hugs your way lovely lady! :D

    Love Aysh xoxo

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  7. so glad you are ok. I had the same experience the year before last and had to have the lump removed, but it was all fine thank god. You've nailed it though, it's the scariest esperience and makes you grateful for what you have. Lots of love Amie xxx

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  8. Glad to hear you are okay Kellie. A great blog post. Many thanks for sharing. Sending (((HUGS))).

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  9. Amazing post darling. I've been through all those tests myself and know what it's like. V brave of you to share the experience. I hope it gives others the courage they may need to face their fears. It may even save someone's life. Dramatic but true.
    Big hugs Nic xxx

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  10. I can't imagine how awful it must have been. I love reading your posts as they're always so well written but in spite of that I know that everything above is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of how petrifiying it was.

    I'm just glad you're okay!

    Bxx

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  11. this is a grreat post, im so happy that things worked out for you :D big love xx

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  12. Lovely lovely Lady.
    Having 2 close friends who are going through treatment right now - I am overjoyed for you.
    I've been at the Marsden twice for lumps and scary bumps. As calm as you try and be my first thought too was 'I can't leave my babies.'

    Sending you love, happiness and all the bats you will ever need.

    Cxxx

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  13. Great post. We always fear the worst with medical problems. You have been very brave and done the right thing- and it's great that you have shared your experience. I think a lot of people are scared about what happens after you see the doctor, but this has given me a bit of strength.

    I hope you enjoy your well deserved block of chocolate. You deserve some relaxation after the stressful time you have had xx

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  14. What a lovely post! I know I shouldn't wait for moments like these, but it has encouraged me big time to check for lumps and bumps. eek :(
    so glad you are ok! omg, what if indeed! xx

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  15. Caroline's right, it's always the 'I can't leave my babies' that's the worse part of it. Even when they say they don't think it's anything but we'll do a mammogram, you mentally loose a boob whilst your waiting to be seen. And having had several I agree on the pain front too, even a needle biopsy isn't as bad as I expected. The truth is most lumps aren't cancerous, if you find one get it checked out. But look for alterations too and if you notice something different in texture get that checked. Don't ever take no for an answer, I have a fabulous friend who noticed a dip in her breast as she was breast feeding. the midwife brushed it off as nothing. She's incredible - Mastectomy, Chemo and Radiotherapy later she's doing great and has had another baby to boot. Her belief and positivity shines through.

    And after all that you can't help but love your boobs for what they are and seriously do those lines on your face really matter.

    Great post lady - thank you for sharing. xx

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  16. Bloody brilliant post; tears and laughter in one read. You know that I am thrilled for you that you are in the clear and I love that you have opened up and shared your experiences, its this kind of thing that helps less out-going people realise they are not alone, a priceless thing to be able to do for someone facing the same fears you had. I had a smear recently and whilst the humourless bitch with the speculum was doing her bit I visualised your little frog on the side bar and thought froggy thoughts! xxx

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  17. I cried.
    My Nana had breast cancer, and I've always been scared enough to check my breasts regularly - I remember one Saturday evening I checked them and found a lump almost near my armpit.(it's always a weekend, isn't it? So that you can't just go to the doctor straight away, you have to fucking WAIT). I'm not ashamed to say that I burst out crying, gave myself a dose of the runs worrying, got blind drunk, and spent all day Sunday in bed, leaving only to wee. I went in to the doctor Monday morning and couldn't even tell him, I just whipped my top off and pointed & mumbled "feel that". He examined it, said it was an infected gland, then gave me the antibiotics and it cleared up. Over, just like that. I can't imagine what it must have been like to feel that sick feeling of total and utter dread for the length of time you did - I'm so glad that you are okay, and thank you so much for sharing this very personal story. The 'shit and giggles' are fantastic, but this is very brave of you to share and reminds us all to CHECK OUR BREASTS. Sorry for the essay xxx

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  18. Fantastic post thanks so much for sharing it.

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  19. I am so glad you can put this behind you and get on with your life but I can see how the experience of it has shaped you to the person you’re speaking as now. I know how you were feeling in the run-up to it, and appreciate you confiding in me. In turn your words have really helped me on a personal matter and I shall hold onto them when things get tough. I realise something like this truly tests your strength and ability to deal with it because let’s face it, until it actually happens, you don’t know how just brave you can be. It’s so easy to envisage the worst and curl up into the foetal position and want to cry. Talking about it really does help – you’re so right. It’s definitely the best therapy with no harmful, side effects. It is normal to get upset and panic, worry, etc – that’s just the motions we all go through. Thank you for writing about this and thankfully it has a happy ending though I know you would still face up to the truth if it was ugly. Your post is encouraging and gives hopes to others, it also reminds us all to deal with things sooner rather than put it off.

    I found a lump in my armpit about 10 years ago, and mum marched me up to the doctor’s straight away. Luckily it was a false alarm but the moment I found it, seemed like forever until I went to the surgery. I also found a lump on my hand which turned out to be a cyst and a lump on my leg recently (an infection that was treated with antibiotics). I urge anyone to get checked out the moment they suspect anything. Chances are it will be a false alarm but in the event it isn’t, the sooner it is detected, the better.

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  20. Thankyou for this and the good news outcome. I cried, it is the leaving of the babies even though mine are 19, 17 and 15. Thanks for your honesty. Jan xxx

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  21. Thankyou for doing this post. It's important to remind people to check themselves and actually that being informed is far more powerful than the feeling of not knowing.

    I too have been through this, about ten years ago I experienced a fibrous adenoma and it was terrifying. However, it was whipped out and I have been right as rain ever since (although acutely aware that I need to keep checking myself out).

    So relieved that your lump is benign, and a huge amount of respect to the women who weren't so lucky but just keep on fighting.

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  22. Its good to hear a 'lump' story with a good outcome! I went to the doctor last year, a couple of days before I got married, with a lump that I was SURE was just a blocked duct or something after breastfeeding my then 5 month old baby. Fast forward a couple of months and I was diagnosed with breast cancer, 10 days after I turned 30! I've now had a mastectomy, reconstruction and also had chemo! I'm so happy your story had a happy ending! Cancer has really changed my outlook on life, I want to spend as much time with my 2 boys while they're still young!
    All the best
    Jacinta

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  23. I've been debating commenting for a fair few minutes now, purely out of not knowing what to say. I think this calls for a shower...
    I'm massively pleased that the post turned more positive later on, the amount of dread I felt bracing for myself reading that another woman has been wronged by cancer is indescribable. I also think that indulging in some yummy underwear is a brilliant plan, especially after this ordeal.

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  24. so sososososo (x1,000000000000000000) glad that it was all okay. fantastic post xxxx

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  25. Brilliant post! Glad you're okay :) Oh, and I love your writing.
    -- @littlewing_123

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  26. I'd like to add if you are a lady of a certain age and get the letter to go to the routine mammogram GO TO IT. My mother nearly didn't but she was bullied into it, good job because it turned out she did have extremely aggressive cancer developing and by the time it had reached the 'feel a lump' stage it would have been too late.

    Because she went to her routine check her life was saved thank god almighty in his heaven for looking after my mum.

    oh god. crying... :(

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  27. God what a relief! So so happy to read this post... Lots of love to you and yours xxx

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  28. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  29. Anonymous if I ever find out who you are you WILL live to regret that comment.

    I promise.

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  30. I second Ms Reds comments, without a doubt. Very big of you to send an anonymous comment. Big Fashionista is more loved by her followers than you could ever imagine so I hope nobody does find out who you are.

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  31. Well that last comment should see anonymous go straight to damnation....


    So ignoring that twat...

    Great Blog, well written, I had the same experience and thankfully with the same result. Glad you did all the right things, got checked and can move on. Thanks for sharing

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  32. For anonymous: Really? I mean, REALLY? Is it ever okay or necessary to post something like that to anyone's blog?

    As for you Kellie: thank you for your blog post. My mother had to have a lump removed so this story hit home. I don't think my Mom ever really explained how she felt so this gave a bit of insight about the fears present. And I hope you don't mind a guy making a comment :)

    TTYL!

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  33. Thank you so much for taking the time to share and open up darlin! OMG... Your words had me pulled in and I am so happy to hear you are okay and I will keep you in my thoughts!

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  34. Anonymous, be ashamed of yourself you disgusting little shitrag.

    Kellie, you're wonderful, this blog post is beautifully written and exactly describes the tumult of emotions that go with finding a lump. Well done, so pleased for you xx

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  35. I'm SO glad that everything is OK - the relief must be massive.

    I know how you must have felt. When I was 22 (and just after my first marriage imploded) I found a lump. In the grand tradition of a river in Egypt, I went into denial (geddit?) and pretended it wasn't there for 6 months.

    Thing is, though I tried to, I couldn't ignore it. The fear was lurking there in the back of my mind ALL the time.

    Eventually, I girded my loins and trotted off to invite my GP to feel the offending (or offended?) boob. His response was swift, but rather scary for that very reason. Within 48 hours I was in the local hospital having a huge syringe inserted into my jubbly (hubby's word - as in "lubbly-jubbly") to see if they could draw off any fluid (if it had been a cyst, apparently there would have been fluid). When the lump stayed obstinately solid, I was whisked off to pre-op and by the end of the day I was waking up anaesthetic headache and some nifty embroidery on my left boob. The biopsy results - several weeks later - showed that is was harmless, probably a clump of fat or gristle.

    I was lucky. All was well. But the anxiety was real - as was the relief.

    So, enjoy the feeling of being able to breathe again - and pay no attention to stupid anonymous gits who haven't got the guts to put a name to their nasty comments.

    And of course, well done for sharing your story and helping to highlight the importance of checking our lady lumps on a regular basis.

    Hugs and kisses,
    Mandi.

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  36. Thankyou for blogging this so honestly - it's an important message to get out there. I'm relieved that you are clear too!

    I had an experience of this sort after a series of smear tests that were repeatedly 'inconclusive', followed by 'a cause for concern' - I didn't realise how much it mattered until it was (in my head) about to be taken away. It could have been me, but thankfully wasn't.

    Thankyou again, if only I could have been as brave and open in talking about it as you!

    Best wishes xx

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  37. This was a really touching post.
    And in fairness, after reading this you've made me go and check myself because I (and i'm sure plenty of others) just ignore the awarness and don't check! and now.. after this. I am going to!
    I love your blog. Thanks! x

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  38. Omg I can't begin to tell you how happy this news makes me. Lots and lots of love xxxxxx

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  39. This is an amazing post. Massive hugs to you, I am so, so glad that you are ok. I don't check my breasts often at all, and I know that I should. I'm never sure what I'm doing, or if I am doing it right, but I am going to start.

    High five to you for being amazing and getting through this. You're inspirational! xx

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  40. I am so happy that you are ok! Thank you for bravely and honestly telling us about your experience, it's so reassuring to read this kind of lump story with a positive outcome and just goes to show how important it is to check your breasts.

    I am totally bowled over by your courage!

    Lots of love xxx

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  41. I am actually crying (hormones here too!) what a brave post to write, thank you so much for sharing. I'm so glad it all turned out positive in the end, it must have been terrifying x

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  42. I'm so so glad everything turned out well for you beautiful. Sending huge hugs and tonnes of love xxxx

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  43. Kellie, I'm just going to send you another pile of hugs and kisses.

    Xxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Sam

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  44. what an amazing post - so pleased that everything worked out well for you, and for your family. Much love xxx

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  45. So glad everything was ok. I found a lump in my breSt when I was 21, I was about 30 weeks pregnant at the time so had it checked out after I had my daughter. The night before I was so upset, I just kept thinking I've only just become a mum and now it's all going to be taken away from me, she 'LL have a stepmum and will never remember me. I was hysterical. But it all turned out to be fine, I had the needle sticking test thing so got my results on the same day and it was a huge relief x

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  46. I went through the same as this last summer .. also 3 kids, mid 30's (although sadly much smaller breasts) and luckily came out with the same outcome. Good on you for writing about it though .. we all need to be more aware!

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  47. I'm really glad you have the all clear, having two close family members suffer from cancer, I can fully appreciate what a terrible waiting game it is to find out news. Take care and I hope you had a big glass of wine!!xx

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  48. An amazing post Kellie, I am so emotional, you know what I could feel the ups and downs in this post and I remember the dubiousness of the mastitis diagnosis. So relieved for you and keep talking x

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  49. Bravo for having the courage to write about this hun! Amazing post, a sad read but great that you had a happy ending (and sexy breasts!) :)
    xxxx

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  50. I'm late on hearing your good news, but so so relieved it's had a happy ending. Thank you for sharing your story, I admire you big time for sharing something so intimate with us. You've also inspired me to check myself out regularly. Now go and have another glass of wine girl!! xxx

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  51. Thanks for sharing this with us, you didn't have to but you did and that alone makes you an amazing person. Glad you are okay and here's to new bras! :D

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  52. Another tip for you - if you ever end up in the position where you can see your cervix on the screen - DON'T LOOK! :)
    Really important subject, thanks for the post - smears and breast checks all the way ladies! xx

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  53. This post is well ... Wonderful so glad you shared as we all take our brewed and life for granted my father in law (not married but may as well be) has cancer he will not get cured or better ... He can just have treatment to make the most of what life he has left :(
    Cancer has taken so many people from me, and still it shocks me how people think 'not me' and yes that 'what if' fairy is an utter bitch ;p I think people should read this and really take it in. I feel that big 'C' is taking more people than ever, same are lucky and beat it ... I think if there's any way to support people who go through it than everyone should. I'm so happy and thankful that your okay Kellie, I can't think about finding a lump :( it's so scary. Thank you again for this and I hope everyone checks their breasts more after reading this xxxxxx sorry for my long message, I hope it makes sense haha

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  54. *breasts for granted even bloody auto correct !! Xx

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  55. Amazing news and a brilliant well written post!

    I have had a similar experience with smear test results and although I am still in the 'pre-cancerous cell' category I am so glad I got it checked out before it got any worse!

    If anyone ever has the 'something isn't quite right here' feeling, please please please get it checked!

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  56. New reader via Twitter… amazing post and so glad for you, that stomach-sinking hurtling that happens with something like this has to be about one of the worst feelings in the world.

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  57. Weird reading this, I have literally just done a similiar post before reading. My results didn't turn out so well though.

    Glad you are well xxx

    http://cateycate.blogspot.com/

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