D-Day: A Day of Discovery, Diagnosis and Decisions
Hello, my name is Alex, and I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer on the 5th of October 2010 in London, England.
Although I would love to talk about my children, friends, my family and my life in London, I’d like to save that for other Blog categories and ask you to read the following story. If this could change one woman’s mind from putting any exams off, it would strengthen my purpose for this Blog and website, to help others today.
It was a very normal day as many patients find, rushing around getting sorted for the week. I went to my doctor to get something checked on my chest and a much anticipated Mammogram, last checked from 2 years. I didn’t expect to go in one minute for two routine exams and 45 minutes later, to find I have been diagnosed with cancer. It is horrible for any woman to hear and my story is not very different. However, the way it was presented was a bit strange.
After having taken the first film of my left breast then to my right, the technician administering the x-ray suggested I ‘moved’ in the first which I found a bit odd. Sparing all details, it’s near to impossible to move anywhere once in the ‘position’. I should have picked up on it then, but I had had issues from Mastitis earlier in that very same breast a few years back, so, I thought nothing of it.
No sooner did I sit my butt on the couch in the waiting room, they were ready for my scan. I undressed mid-waist, lay on the table and lay waiting for Dr Perry to perform the Sonogram. Please understand I did not initially go in for a Mammogram, I have a fatty deposit on my sternum called a Lypoma, and that little bugger raised all of the red flags and bells, it’s what made me call the doctor(s).
He squirted the scanning gel on to my right breast and began to ‘wand’ my armpit, my chest area, and all surrounding tissue, over and over and over again. His extreme thoroughness was unexpected, I thought, for something so routine. But as he went over the areas, each time very slow, stopping occasionally and punching buttons as markers in the scanning records, I began to wonder.
“Excuse me, Doctor, are you looking for something?” I asked. “Not in this one, but I want to make sure”. That’s not verbatim, but pretty close, which raised the hair on the back of my neck and I started to shake a little from fear.
And like a dowsing rod, he went to the left breast, and found what he was looking for. A big, black, hole with jagged edges of absolutely nothing. I have had the privilege to birth three children and had Sonograms on each one and never in my experience did I ever see something so dark and ugly.
“Excuse me, Doctor, would that be Benign?” I asked. “I am not absolutely positive, I have to do a biopsy right now. This will pinch a bit.” he said. I moved onto my right side, the Lanacain ointment was squirted on, 5 minutes later, he sliced me open and took three samples for the Lab. “We should have the results in less than an hour.”
After the initial shock of pre-diagnosis, the nurse suggested I sit back down in the very same waiting room I came out and wait for my results. I was horrified to say the least after realizing I was the very first appointment of the day, the 8:30am slot. I suggested another location, even a broom closet would be better than to put me there with all of those woman, waiting for their turn. Didn’t she realize, we were batting 1 for 1 now? Oh my God!
Getting to another location was tricky, I had to go through that waiting room, but spared them all by turning and hiding my head. I honestly now don’t what was worse. In hind sight I think seeing me was just bad!
I sat, shaking, free-falling in to this abyss of nothingness. I have never ever stopped thinking of anything in my life. I am a very busy person. There is always something to do and hope for at the end of the horizon, at the end of each and every day. Come on! But today, there was nothing.
The door opened, a woman popped in, she shined like an angel. I don’t know, maybe it was my over rubbed swollen eyes. But she came in and sat in front of me and said these very words of hope to me. “Six years.” Six years ago she was diagnosed at the age of 31 and was living proof that I could make it through this terrible disease and time of my life. And just like that, snap! The lights went back on! I started hoping, healing, and better yet, getting back to happy. I knew everything would be okay.
There’s more to tell, but the purpose of this story is don’t roll the dice. I hear countless friends not making time for themselves because they have playdates to schedule, dinner parties to plan, and extended family to deal with, the list goes on. Aren’t we all on this boat?
I said earlier I went in for something on my chest, it turned out to be a Lypoma, a fatty deposit that sits, to this day, on top of my sternum. Getting to my appointment was one of the biggest unnecessary hurdles of my life, not by way of transportation, but the people I had to go through. Every single professional, 6 Doctors and 1 Radiologist, either said I didn’t need a Mammogram or suggested I go see a plastic surgeon to have this lump removed. It couldn’t have been more obvious, this suspicious lump was in between my breasts. Hello?!
But I trusted my gut and pushed through and got what I needed to take care of myself. I am very lucky they caught mine early. My prognosis is as good as it is going to get. My Oncologist, although has suggested he is not ‘God’, said I should be around for a long time!
I say Amen to that Sisters!