Most, if not all of you, will remember the “No Make-Up Selfie” craze that swept social media last year. I duly took part on my personal FB page. I remember loving the unity between women as they complimented each other, understanding that a photo without make-up was a hard thing for many to do. There was sense of unity & it was lovely to see women supporting other women, not to mention the fantastic comments from lots of men. I also remember being surprised by the criticism about the craze. Cancer charities saw a rise in donations & it definitely raised awareness, which can only be good in my book!
It raised my awareness & prompted me to check myself as I’d not done so for a while. I then wished I hadn’t, which was a stupid thing to think but better than the thoughts that raced through my head when I found a lump. I went to see my GP who talked about breast mice & dismissed any concerns around cancer or simple links to hormones & the migraines I’d experienced. The GP went through the tick list for identifying cancer from a lump & mine didn’t tick any of the boxes. I did what all internet savvy peeps do & googled breast mice as soon as I got home. Everything the GP had said tied in with what I read. I still felt a sense of disatisfaction with the GP’s approach, but I breathed a sigh of relief & carried on as normal.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago. The lump seemed to be more uncomfortable on an increasingly regular basis. I was still convinced it was linked to hormones, although the migraines have become less frequent. It was really disconcerting to have a lump in my breast that I seemed to be increasingly aware of. I went back to the GP. The infamous breast mice were discussed ago. The difference was, this practitioner decided to take a “peace of mind” approach & referred me for tests.
6 weeks, 2 mammograms, 2 ultra sounds, 3 fine needle biopsies & a mammotome later I have a diagnosis of DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ), described as pre-cancer cells, in the lump & another area. The spread of these cells means I am having a mastectomy & reconstruction in September. The after treatment will be decided after the removed breast tissue has been tested.
So, I have met my surgeon & have avoided the temptation to request 2 new Double D numbers! I know what to expect in September. As long as I have a plan I am fine. I will be busily preparing endless lists & filling in calendars in preparation for the family members who will be stepping in to cover my Mommy duties. My “Northern Bird” sister in law is intending to come round to devise a spreadsheet. The title of this blog entry stems from the numerous conversations we’ve had since all this started. She gets I don’t want a fuss but is concerned for me at the same time. She expresses this through taking the pee out of me!! Her approach is perfect!
Obviously a mastectomy is a big thing to have, it took me a while to learn how to spell it properly. It’s a big thing to have, both psychologically & physically. However, I am grateful it has been diagnosed now rather than further down the line when it could have been a lot more than pre-cancer cells. I only have a tiny idea of how someone would feel if being given a true diagnosis of cancer. Whilst this is still a possibility, it should only be a small one. What will be will be.
The reason I am writing this is a) to save myself needing to send numerous texts to let people know or ruin completely pleasant conversations and b) to raise awareness. It was the someone starting a trend to raise awareness that has brought me on this path. I also want to say to people not to be afraid to question the professionals. I questioned mine, but I should have done it a lot sooner. If I had not gone back to the doctors for a further explanation……well you can imagine the what ifs & maybes. I want my story to be a reminder to others both male & female to check all your lumps! If you have something suspicious, make sure you are thoroughly checked & examined. It’s better to make a nuisance of yourself & be safe, rather than sorry.
In the meantime, I have a good few weeks to fit in work, holiday & fun with my boys. After the op I will have plenty of recovery time. I will need to ensure I relax, which isn’t my strongest assett. Guess what I’ll be doing, other than hospital trips, sleeping etc, to fill my time……
So, nothing more to see here. What are you waiting for? Off you go…go check yourself right now!!