On Friday the 2nd November I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Now I know what you're all thinking, " We've read diaries from woman before who have had the same, why should your blog be any different?" Well, I can't answer that one, all I can say is that writing is suppose to be therapeutic - and to be fair, I've got the urge to say things that family and friends may not understand - but strangers might.
When the doctor told me at the hospital that they had found a tumour and it was cancer, to say I was shocked would be a fair assumption. However, relief was a great word to use as well. Let me explain, 3 years ago in 2009 as I was planning for my wedding, a tumour was found in my stomach, well to cut a long story short it went on to grow to 13lb before I had it taken away. It was a very traumatic time and even though I had to postpone my wedding, I did finally managed to walk down the "aisle" with my dad and son supporting me. After the wedding and after lots of problems health wise, I was put on HRT, I argued and rallied against it but as I had gone into premature menopause, it was a final solution, and it worked. However at the back of my mind, I knew I had been given a intermission, and it was only a matter of time before I got breast cancer. Now I am sure most people reading this would think how morbid, fancy thinking that.
It took me a long time mentally to get over the operation, one year after I broke down and had to go for trauma counselling, two years after, I cried continually and became moody and horrible, so by Christmas 2011 I decided, after a long chat with my husband, in which I described myself as a broken woman - that I had to get my head around what had happened, stop worrying about what may or may not happen health wise in the future and get on with my life. So after being subscribed anti depressants, I told my story in a woman's magazine. Remarkably, seeing the story in print like it had happened to someone else worked and in July this year - three years after the operation, I forgot about the upcoming date and sailed on with life - any thoughts on breast cancer reeling its ugly head, was pushed to the back of my mind - still there but controllable.
However, only one month later as we were packing for our holiday, alarm bells started going off as I noticed that my nipple looked a bit strange, I showed my husband and he told me to get it checked out. I decided I was going on holiday first, we were all tired and we needed a week away, my nipple would probably clear up in its own time. After all I was on first name basis with everyone at the doctor's surgery, and I didn't want to renew my season ticket, to the NHS again!
We had a great holiday and when I came back I kept looking at my nipple, I couldn't figure out if it looked better or not, but still didn't go to the doctors. Then around 5 weeks ago I was watching Lorraine and it was breast cancer awareness week, they pointed out 5 different signs of how to spot breast cancer, I had 4 of them. Of course, you can scare yourself stupid and self diagnosing is not the best thing to do, so I plucked up the courage and went to the doctors. I came out of there with some steroid cream and was told I had psoriasis of the nipple and to go back in a week. I wasn't entirely convinced but if that's what the doctor said who was I to argue. At this time I had convinced myself that this so called belief that I would get breast cancer - was in fact only going to be psoriasis of the nipple and all these years of worrying were for nothing. My constant yo yoing of thoughts was exhausting, but in fact I was so convinced that this was all it was, I actually took my daughter in with me two weeks later for a second check up. Also by this stage I had convinced my husband and myself that the lumps that had now formed in my breast were in fact blocked ducts from the cream that I had been applying.
So when the doctor told me in front of my daughter that he was sending me to the breast clinic I was fine, last time I was given a so called emergency appointment it took 2 months for it to come through. So in my mind, that was fine - I could carry on with life.
In less than a week I was at the hospital, now for anyone who has every had a mammogram, it is safe to say that it is one of the most awful experiences - especially when you're not prepared for it and you have a sore and swollen breast - which is what I had by now. (another reason to think I had an infection) I was asked to have an ultrasound then another, and by this stage I've got 6 people in the room and my boobs hanging out. whereas I am laughing and joking with the nurses and consultants who had gathered. One biopsy later, lots of blood and a little bit more discomfort. I drive myself home and am told I need to come back the following week.
So when I went back last Friday, whilst wearing another set of matching underwear, I am examined and told I have breast cancer. I looked at the doctor and a million thoughts go through my head, and I can't believe that one of them is relief. I hate myself for the feeling as I really thought I had convinced myself that I was just being silly. Who in their right mind would convince them self they would get breast cancer? However, after the chat with the nurse and a few tears over the possibilities of losing my hair, talking about reconstructions, and what happens next. The one thing that kept playing in my mind is now this has been confirmed I can get on with the rest of my life. In fact while driving home, I start to think that after, hopefully after getting pert boobs, a great wig and eyelash extensions I can get on with living.
So where am I now, after telling my family and close friends, I think it’s okay to blog about this. I am under no illusions that I have a tough and painful battle ahead, but I am determined that cancer will be the start of my life and not the end of it. My children aged 15 and 16, have been told. They were great - I know that's not always going to be the case, as after all I am their mum. I told them straight, I have breast cancer and as a family we are going to fight it, there will be good days and bad days. But, I also told them that they cannot use this as an excuse to get bad marks at school, or use it as a get out clause. We should be available to talk to each other at all times, and we are going to try our best to not be sad. We've decided that we can all back each other up if one of us is having a bad day.
In fact my son laughed yesterday when he heard me using the pain in my breast as an excuse to my husband, I overheard him telling his sister " Mum is using having her tit off as an excuse for not doing the washing up"
On showing my daughter my new reindeer PJ's for hospital she commented " Mum you are the most positive person I know" I did tell her there are days when I am not going to be positive and she is to use those days to kick my arse and vice versa. She replied " No mum we are going to kick cancer's arse"
As I sit here now, tomorrow is the day when I go in for another ultrasound to see whether the cancer has spread into my armpit and lymph nodes - and yes I am scared. Friday I will get my results so I will then have my care plan put into place, I am scared of chemo, I am scared of being poorly. One thing I am not scared of is dying. I have thought about it and today is one of those days I am not scared of it. Tomorrow may be different, but I'll take my chances, after all I've got a lot to fight for.