Monday, 18 March 2013

Of big scary needles, little and big lumps

Edited to add I'm linking up with I must confess ...if only I'd known then what I know now, my life direction might be immensely different .

It has been a tough month I've seen two much loved women I know through the internet and a friend, both diagnosed with cancer the same time as I was , pass away. I know of two other young and vibrant women, loved and taken by cancer.

It rocks me to the core and my heart breaks for them and the loved ones they leave behind.

I am okay, for the most part , I am getting through the treatment ( now finished 7 of 17 Herceptin infusions) . My husband and I are getting back into everyday activities and trying to live full and healthy lives. I live with  fear , every little odd thing, pain or lump ...we live one day to the next.

Tuesday night at 11pm I found a little lump where my right breast used to live , down from my port, it was 'movable', above the scar and between my ribs. The cancer was in my left boob.

I won't deny how scared I first was, I slept a little and I kept checking to see if  it was just a nightmare or dream.

I wasn't going to wait and see. I rang the GP at 9am. I couldn't get into the oncology clinic.
Thankfully I got a GP appointment at 9.45am , she was running late and the waiting was intense .If anyone saw me fondling my chest - I didn't give a stuff. It was still there and I was still waiting at 10.30am.
My GP was reassuring and said she thought it was likely a cyst.
"Nothing to worry about."
Then she said to get an ultrasound "to be sure" , to be sure I wouldn't have left there without one.
As it was I already had an ultrasound appointment I'd been waiting 2.5 weeks for , for a bigger lump in my left thigh - a neurofibroma. I've had it for years and it is starting to give me grief with pressure, numbness and odd feelings down my leg.She rang to ask them to fit in my little 'chest' lump.

I had both ultrasounds with 'technician / radiographer' on Thursday morning and waited an hour in the u/s room afterwards for the Dr. He was busy doing another procedure...nail biting stuff.

The Dr had a quick look with u/s wand too and he said he thought it looked benign but he recommended a needle biopsy, because of my history .He said he would write it in the report and then he was gone in 2mins.

[The kindly receptionist started to ask for the co-payment then changed her mind and said "I'll bulk bill you". She knows me by sight and probably name after having almost a dozen procedures there in 9 months (4 heart scans, breast u/s, mammogram, punch biopsy, bone scan, knee x-ray, leg and breast-less u/s). I was very grateful because we have out of pocket costs in the thousands already.]

I picked up my scans minus the report ...they weren't ready and would be sent electronically to my GP (- are you one of those people who open your results immediately out the door breaking the sealed warning ....only to be opened by the DR.)

Another sleepless night ensued but with a little less anxiety realising that none of this is anything I have any control over and to trust my GP.

More assurance from GP and soft words 'benign' 'nothing to worry about, unlikely to be anything of concern' ...the C word unmentioned , but in agreement with DR's report she said to have a needle biopsy. Relief , I guess, because knowing for certain it is or isn't - is more reassuring.

I rang the scan place back for another appointment and it's today at 4pm.I'm grateful I don't have long to wait (sure they fitted me in because of my history), and that they offered to bulk bill it again. Not to say I am looking forward to it but having the biopsy is another step closer to restoring calm.

All weekend I censored it from my thoughts and I'm feeling calm. I'm not scared of the biopsy, not that I enjoy being prodded by a sharp needlestick.

I just wanted to tell you again , it is so important to keep checking your breasts, go to your GP immediately if you notice, feel or see any changes and don't delay because of fear of the unknown or what lies ahead.