My life changed forever on Friday 7th July.
Following an amazing weekend in Rome and attending my debut Pizzup I was suffering an epic but 'happy' hangover. Luckily I had the day off work and the kids were still booked into childcare (great planning/parenting), so that shower should have been amazing - I didn't think I'd find a lump in my breast.
My first thought was that it must be a pre-period breast lump, just another one of those hormonal things girls get used to. My more dramatic and sensationalist mind jumped to all the stories I had read of mothers with breast cancer so I got out of the shower and instantly get a doctors appointment for that day. My sane, more rational mind did eventually kick in and talked me into cancelling the appointment and seeing if the lump was still there after the weekend. A busy weekend meant I was able to pretty much forget about it - but Monday came and there it still was. By lunchtime that day I had been referred to our local breast care unit. The doctor had confirmed there was 'something' there and due to my age (33) a referral was standard procedure - but reassured that it was most likely a cyst and that these referrals usually ended in good news for 90% of people. Our NHS gets a lot of bad press - in my experience it is nothing short of amazing. My appointment letter was on my doormat the very next day and I only had one week to wait and seven days with children, a job and general mum life does wonders in masking a whole world of potential issues and worry!
If you've never been to your local breast care unit its quite eye-opening to be in a waiting area surrounded by people from every walk of life, every age group and all with that one thing in common - they might have cancer.
Once called you undergo an examination with a nurse who then decides if you require an ultrasound or mammogram; again a cyst was mentioned as the probable cause of this lump and an ultrasound would be all that was needed to confirm that. A scan of the breast is no different to a pregnancy scan, there's just less to see.
Years of watching Casualty paid off in the next moments as I saw the black blob on the screen and sensed a change of atmosphere in the room, even I could see that was no cyst! They began checking around my armpit and instantly I knew they were checking if my lymph nodes were clear of similar black blobs.
Shit just got real!
What followed was a biopsy of the lump, it sounds horrendous but its really not that bad, they inject a lot of local anaesthetic into the area and you feel nothing. God bless the nurse trying to keep me occupied by talking about my kids while various needles were inserted into the area and cells from my lump were extracted for microscopic examination - she commented on my calmness which I can only attribute to the need and desperation to do anything to get this thing resolved.
I was told that all lumps are rated between 1-5 and that mine was a 3 - not deadly serious, but also not completely normal. The biopsy result to determine what the lump was would take a week to come through but the staff prepped me to be ready to hear the words everyone dreads.
That brings me to now... frantically documenting this blog as I count down the hours to my results. Mentally I am fine - I can handle what is to come, I just want to be in control as much as possible.
I've lived the last seven days as normal, the bare minimum of those around us have been told the potential news - purely not to cause an unnecessary cancer panic. I don't want to be causing a drama over nothing, and I do not want to instigate unnecessary change into my children's lives before it is essential.
The only thing I can be sure of as the seconds tick by is that I am going to publish this whether the news is good or bad - not to increase my follower numbers, over share or be the centre of attention but because I am 33 years old, I have two young children and this came from no where.
Check is maybe the only 'C' word we can all truly take to heart and like from this: check yourself, tell others to check and be checked if you're unsure! I found my lump randomly having a wash, I wasn't even purposefully checking. I could easily have ignored it, luckily I didn't because the results I got about an hour after writing the above confirmed that I did have cancer.
Actual. proper. CANCER. 😕