Sunday, February 10, 2013

Discovery to diagnosis

"Are you going to get that checked Babe?"


It was the question that put the wheels in motion on Christmas Eve, just seven weeks ago.

The elves had done their work, the presents were under the tree ready for two excited little boys to discover in the morning and two tired but happy parents were climbing into bed. The question escaped my husband's lips as his hand gently squeezed my right breast and it shocked me. For a minute or two we both lay in silence and then,"Yes, I suppose I will...".


Here's a tip, if ever you want to kill the mood and cut a Christmas Eve schnook short, just mention cancer, it will banish all desire in an instant! We held hands for a little while then said goodnight and lay in the dark, both our minds working overtime until fatigue finally kicked in.


I had vaguely noticed a lump the week prior but didn't pay much heed to it because well, let's face it, it was the week before Christmas, we were hosting our annual Christmas party, I had a toddler and a pre-schooler to chase after and a to-do list as long as my arm to finish. Like most mummys, self care had dropped to the bottom of the priority list.


Christmas was spent in quiet panic...well, inside my mind anyway. There was a feeling of dread that kept creeping up and turning my blood cold. A little monologue kept running on a loop in my head...I can't have cancer, I'm only 35...I have two little boys and their daddy to take care of. There's no history of cancer in our family, I can't have cancer! In between the bouts of panic were little bubbles of determination that if I did have it, I would fight it tooth and nail. I'd be damned if it robbed me of seeing my babies grow up to be taller than me!


I went and saw my GP on the 27th of December and she looked rather grim which didn't boost my confidence. I went away with a referral for a mammogram, an ultrasound and a biopsy and then it was a case of hurry up and wait. Two weeks later, on the 10th of January, I took myself over to John James Private for two hours of testing. There was a decidedly awkward moment when I noticed milk leaking from my right nipple during the mammogram. "Well that's just weird" I thought to myself, almost laughing out loud. I hadn't breastfed for seven months and it seemed a little ridiculous to still have even a tiny bit of milk left. And because awkward wasn't enough, a bit of agony was thrown in for good measure when they performed a core biopsy twice in the same spot. It was like being kicked in the chest by a horse and stung by a bloody great big wasp at the same time. The burning in my breast remained for the rest of the afternoon. By the time I left the hospital I was exhausted and upset and by no means ready to go home so I stopped at Manuka to lose myself in the faraway world of The Hobbit for a few hours. It was good medicine, allowing me enough time to pull myself together.


Two days later I celebrated my 36th birthday by having a gorgeous girly brunch with some of my dearest friends followed by an afternoon of cake and balloons with my beautiful boys. It was a lovely day full of joyous distraction and I needed that distraction...waiting for my results was very trying. I was, I was GREAT at putting on a brave face to everyone else but it was quite a battle internally.


On Monday, the 14th of January my GP called. You know first off that the news isn't fab when your doctor asks if you have anyone else with you and that you need to sit down. Oh bugger...bugger bugger bugger!!!Diagnosis: The tests came back positive for cancer cells, the tumour was an invasive ductal carcinoma almost 2cm in diameter and the cells were very active which meant I was Category 1 for surgery. We talked about my private health cover and the options for immediate surgery, she said that she would arrange it and that I needed to come into the clinic to see her in a couple of days.And that was that.I had cancer...oh bloody hell, I had cancer!



  1. I've just read through your Big C Journey posts and I have to say, I love your energy. You put so much effort into how you write and it's fantastic.

    My thoughts are with you for a super duper speedy recovery x


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