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.
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.
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.
Your support has got me out of some dark places this last few months.
Thank you again.
Big Fashionista x x