Unexpected and about as unwelcome as they come, in fact….
The lump I found at the beginning of April worried neither me nor my slightly bored GP (“yeah, probably another cyst”). At the non-urgent referral to the clinic, the mammogram showed nothing and the ultrasound struggled to justify its existence showing fleeting images of a 1 cm globule which the clinician eventually decided might be worthy of further investigation.
The diagnosis on 1 May was a surprise to everyone. Grade 2 cancer (on a scale of 1-3), slow growing (yeah!) and HER2 inconclusive (might mean chemo, might not – needed further tests). No problem, a simple lumpectomy will sort this out, they said. Just to be sure, as it was tucked Gollum-like in the corner and a bit difficult to gauge the true size, I was treated to an MRI scan which shows everything in glorious technicolour.
Enter stage left under the MRI spotlight 3 additional tumours – small but just as messy, as proved by the subsequent biospsy. Now we’re talking about an infected area of around 7 cm, meaning the whole boob needs to go.
At this point I’ve really had enough of bad news and want to take my toys and go to a nice land full of fluffy kittens where this isn’t happening.
Instead I get a menu of options. Immediate reconstruction is advised and because of my size, shape, age, etc, all of the various ways to reconstruct a breast are suitable. I did ask if I could just have the ‘plat du jour’, but no, I had to go ‘à la carte’. So I spent much of the recent May bank holiday considering whether to go for an implant or have other bits of my body fashioned into ‘son of boob’. The images on the ‘helpful’ websites will stay with me for some time!
With that decision made, a date for the operation is now fixed. Monday 22nd June. It could have been a bit sooner, but Sophie’s last GSCE is Fri 19th June and I haven’t told the girls about it. I figure the risk of messing up the exam focus is worse than any fall-out I get over the web of deceit I’ve managed to weave. Also, as the news has been trickling in at a maddeningly glacial pace, I’ll be able to answer questions and address their concerns with a bit more authority than if I’d told them what I knew weeks ago.
So now social-media-phobic Sandra is a blogger! Future posts won’t be this long, I promise, but I did have quite a lot of ground to cover. If you’re reading this before 20th June and have any connection with Sophie or Emma, please be VERY discrete – nothing on Facebook and don’t be overheard. Once I’ve broken the news to them, I’ll let you know in this blog. Feel free to pass this on and to write comments, if only to confirm that I have mastered the technology!
With luck it might be the world’s shortest blog. I may have the operation and need no further treatment, in which case I shall bore you with details of my recuperation in the sunshine! The ‘roller-coaster’ metaphor is a bit overused, but pretty accurate so far. Now you’re on board, fasten your seatbelts and let’s see what happens next. Hoping for a bit more fun and an upward stretch and certainly not an Alton-Towers-style crash landing!!!