Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Breast cancer awareness month: Fried egg problems (part 1)

Author: Better Days

Finding the lump:
So I'm 39 and recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, yes breast cancer, its grade 3. So I guess this is my story of my new adventure and honestly I never thought my little set of fried eggs would cause so much trouble.

I have three amazing children, one boy aged 11 and two girls 8 and 9. I live with my partner of 21 years and our dog Dexter. I work full time as a youth work supervisor and extremely lucky that I love my job. I have a pretty good life and yes I could complain about this and that, but in all honesty we've got it ok, the bills are paid, there's food in the cupboards, clothes on our backs and life comforts. Ok theres no holidays or expensive treats but we are happy and have our health, or so I thought...

Here goes. Before Christmas 2014 I had a really bad kidney infection that decided to linger around till January, so I went back to the doctors, was prescribed more antibiotics. When I got home I decided to get a bath. When I was taking off my bra my hand brushed passed my right boob and I felt a lump.

So I prodded around thinking "no, no its not" and "oh shit it is" and then "no, no its not" (you get the picture). I asked my partner to feel the lump and we both had a "oh shit" moment. So the next day it was off to the quacks. I was referred straight away to the breast care unit, being told that it could take two weeks to be seen. Two weeks - it felt like a lifetime.

Telling people:
What can I say, how do you say it, what words do you use to tell someone you have breast cancer. Its simple you just say it, you can't sugar coat it or make it sound any different. It is what it is. Breast cancer.

I hate delivering bad news, I'm crap with emotions and all that stuff. Don't get me wrong if someone needs me then I'm there with tissues, hugs and will do anything I can to help. But if I'm honest I am crap at being honest about how I feel, I'm the one who helps fix people's problems not the other way round. So I told people in my way:

I was like "ok so I have breast cancer, its treatable, and you never know I might get that boob job I always wanted." I instantly noticed those around me go into "lets wrap her up in cotton wool" and the "I'm really sorry, if I can do anything just ask." The cuddles, the tears - wow it was so hard watching people's reactions - I'm a strong independent person, I'm the one who runs round, deals with stress - me not them.

When people say 'I'm sorry' in my head I just wanna say "why you sorry, you didn't give me cancer, my own body did." Its no one's fault, its just the way it is, its crap but shit happens. I now just have to deal with it, it's not gonna be easy but since when is life meant to be easy. I don't want to be the person sat rocking in a corner, I'm a fighter.

I dont want wrapping up in cotton wool, so I decided life goes on and explained that for now, before my surgery and treatment that all I want from people is normal business as usual, people can fuss when its needed. You see at this moment I dont feel ill, poorly, just tired but I have felt like that for months. I do realise that come next Friday after my surgery yeah I will feel like crap and need help but right now I need to be me, because the thought of having to ask for help and not being able to do right now scares the crap out of me. It's me that's the mum, the partner, the manager, the youth worker, it's me thats meant to do everything.

Once you tell people it's like all of a sudden you're the cancer, lots of questions, the looks of is she ok? People care and my god I am one lucky woman to have the people I do in my life. It would just be nice to be just me, just to forget even if its for a short time its not going anywhere yet, yes I have cancer but I'm not going anywhere, I havent disappeared.

The feckin MRI
So the feckin MRI, im calling it that because it got cancelled twice, so it was third time lucky. What a racket the MRI machine makes even with ear plugs in and what's with the music, you can't even hear it lol.

Now for the surreal moment of the results sat with the consultant and she's just "yes cancer in the right however the MRI has shown a mass, it might be nothing but we need to check." I think i did a "whatttt" moment, you know that moment where you kinda go really hold on a minute you're meant to be giving me my surgery dates not telling me you've found something else! I was just shocked and kept looking at my friend and saying the words "really", "wow" and "fuck". We had to wait for the ultrasound and we sat in the tears and sympathy room just attempting to make each other laugh, flicking through leaflets and discovering that a posh named sprout is actually crest!!

This was scary very scary. I already knew about my right boob having cancer, but cancer in both, in both!!

The ultrasound was more daunting than the one I had before, the nurse did her thing and I think she even sighed with relief when she discovered it was just cysts. I have never been so relieved in my life, the cancer is just in one. Ok the reality is that I will need to keep coppin' a feel and checking for lumps but it's not there at this moment. It truly was a rollercoaster ride all in a hospital unit.

They then changed my consultant and gave me my surgery date for 10th April. Things were back on track, you see my way of getting through this is step by step. OMG this step had truly changed into a escalator for a couple of hours. But back on track now I have a date and things can move forward.

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Write for the blog! This blog is one of a series being shared on the Young Women's Breast Cancer Blog UK during October, breast cancer awareness month, but the blog is here year round. If you are a young woman in the UK who has/had a breast cancer diagnosis and you would like to be a part of this blog, please have a read of the additional information here.

Check your breasts
Breast cancer can happen to any of us - regardless of age. Information about how to check your breasts can be found on the Coppafeel and Breast Cancer Now websites.

Further information and support:
Younger Breast Cancer Network UK - an online chat and support group for women under the age of 45 in the UK who have had a breast cancer diagnosis.
Baldly Beautiful - a YouTube channel with make up demonstrations, created by Mac makeup artist Andrea Pellegrini who went through chemo herself in 2014.
Take A Moment - This is a group for women (all ages) who have/had breast cancer who want to explore, reflect on and express their feelings and experiences through photography. This is a link to the public page - to join the group, send them a message.
The Osborne Trust - Providing children of parents with cancer the opportunity to access time out recreational activities whilst their parents undergo operations and treatments
Jen's Friends - Free heart-shaped pillows for women (and men) with Breast Cancer. Designed to provide comfort and protection after a Mastectomy operation.
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