The journey started here….

30/06/18

A journey started this day that I wasn’t even aware of at the time.

It was a usual Saturday morning in our house, two slightly hungover parents were lying in bed half awake, listening to the cub through the monitor in her room chattering away with teddies and waking herself up to a suitable level that she could arrive in our bedroom with a ‘good morning all’ serenade. Happens every week. This one seemed no different.

But as the man cub rolled over for a hug and an arm went round my back for a quick snuggle (like I said – usual Saturday morning), there wasn’t the usual noise of satisfaction but an ‘oh’ that followed. I mean, if the child is a passion killer, an ‘oh’ surely is a close second.

‘There’s a lump there – have you felt it?’

Well, no, was the short answer. Followed by a quick grope of my own. Yep, definitely a lump on the outside right boob, and a fairly sizeable one at that. I frantically scoured my memory for when I had last had a good check. I couldn’t think. But surely I would have noticed it? Surely he might have noticed it?

I should mention at this point that I am usually (not on this occasion!) quite good at checking the boobs. Twelve ish years ago I had a pseudoangiomatous stromal hyperplasia (Pash) lump removed along with, over the following couple of years, a few cysts drained. At the time Pash was relatively unknown – my consultant had sought advice from American colleagues – and it is still rare to this day , a rare, benign, non-cancerous lesion that once removed should cause no further issues. Even then, I never once heard my consultant refer to it as Pash, only as its full name.

As with previous lumps, I moved into my usual pragmatic self – I mean you can’t do much else when the next voice you hear is the five year old duly following her usual routine with ‘good morning all’. I showered later, had a good feel around elsewhere and satisfied myself that this was the only lump and it would be fine. Of course it would be fine, at best it would be a cyst, quick appointment to get drained and all done and dusted. At worst it would be Pash, not an unknown entity, but simple enough surgery, removal, job done.

However this time round I hadn’t anticipated that being a mama would play on my mind quite as much, I was ratty as hell and when the parentals returned from their two week holiday and met us for Sunday lunch the next day, both the man cub and I were in the foulest of moods and snapping at everything. To the point the parentals offered to take the cub for a couple of hours to give us some ‘time’. Now this would usually elicit some joy and delight that we could fall into bed, fool around and shut out the world for a bit, returning to the childless years for a short period of time. Not so – we sat in silence, for the next two hours and awaited the return of the cub.

I never realised how long a weekend could feel at that point. From that Saturday morning to the Sunday night felt like a week, all just waiting to be able to put wheels in motion. Ring the doctors, get a referral to the breast care unit, attend the breast care unit, wait inordinate amount of time in main waiting room, wait some more in internal waiting room in a gown, get ultrasound, confirm diagnosis (cyst – drain, Pash – surgery), get dressed, leave. I had it all planned out by that Sunday night and was utterly convinced that the journey was set.

Monday morning, and I didn’t even make the phone call to the doctors until 11am – I was far too busy with work and very important meetings and catching up on the gossip off everyone about their weekend activities. Normality had returned. By the time I made the appointment for the Wednesday with a lady doctor, I was blasĂ©. I had this.

04/07/18

I sometimes hate the bureaucracy of getting a hospital appointment. Sitting in the doctors waiting room, I knew I was about to waste her time with something that I could have booked myself straight into at the breast screening unit. A quick undress (confirm that your right boob is bigger and saggier and always has been so compared to the left – yes!), and feel of said lump confirmed that it was a lump (shocker!). Then a quick tap away on the computer and five minutes later I walk away with an appointment for said Breast Screening Unit (Purple Zone!) the following Wednesday. Another week to wait. Which would then be twelve days since I had felt that lump.

But still I continued my pragmatic approach. This was no big problem.

I had this.

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Cathartic – let loose

So the Instagram world went wild last night as Bree (Marcia Cross from Desperate Housewives – an amazing actor and female icon) posted a pic of her losing her hair due to chemo. It was a moment that threw me more than it would have two months ago. A moment that had me thinking about every decision that I had made in the last two months. Also a moment that had me thinking about every decision I am about to make in the next two months (and more)

And it got me really thinking.

When do you announce to the world that you have gone through, are going through, are about to go through the scariest, most ridiculous period of time in your life? Is there a right time? Is it anybody’s business but your own (family)? Do you want Facebook ‘friends’ offering condolences? Do you actually want to open yourself up to this (I am ridiculously anti social)? But then should you share? Should I make this a platform for others to learn from? Would this help?

All the questions.

And this all got me thinking, what do I actually need at this moment in time. Post surgery (pre results – lets hope they got it all out), do I need anything? Do I want anything? Here’s the answer – I think I do. I think I want to spread the word that this Breast Cancer can affect anyone. And I mean anyone. Mothers, sisters, grandmothers, daughters, step-daughters, step-mothers. And all others. It really can.

That is the message.

I don’t want sympathy, or pity, or knowing looks, or condolences, or stories of others.

I feel like I want to spread the real word. I want every woman to be on high alert. I want everyone to be on the look out for this sneaky little body invader , who creeps into your bed and body and can attempt to break the steeliest resolve in a heartbeat. The invader that can bring a mother to her knees without a moments thought for herself or partner but her child is paramount.

Lets get onto me:

I am the most stubborn person (ask Jon who I sit next too at work) in the world. Accepting all management training speak and a lot of work over the years, I still make an effort on a daily basis not to lose my s**t daily with sub standard actions.

Cancer, however, doesn’t really comply with me losing my s**t and yelling at it. It is already in my body, haunting my tissue, making an attempt on my soul. And I can do jack about it, but comply with all medical appointments in the natural order of things. Which can feel bloody slow and long and winding. But I tell you what – steely resolve is still intact and I am fighting with every part of my body and soul. Not just for my beautiful child and family, but for the world of women. I have already signed up to a research programme (which I passionately feel is positive), I am determined that the next Race for Life I feel well enough for I will be running ‘for my left tit’, and I have promised myself I will document the full journey from actual start to ultimate finish for the child. She is my world. And I will do everything to keep being her world.

Next step is chemo – guaranteed hair loss. BRING IT ON!