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I have only written one personal post so far this year. This was about my Mum and her fight with breast cancer. To say that I was worried about her is an understatement and I remember her not understanding what all the fuss was about. Over the past couple of weeks, the shoe has been on the other foot!
The weekend before last I woke up with a severe stabbing pain in my right breast. It really bloody hurt! I checked my breast and wasn’t sure whether I could feel anything different or not. The following night, Sunday, when I went through the same pain again I made an appointment with the Doctors the following day. I could feel a slight lump which really hurt to touch. Just over a year ago my Mum had a mastectomy, so of course my thoughts naturally turn to that and the fact that I need to be vigilant when it comes to things like this.
On the Monday morning I went over to my Mum’s and told her about my appointment. She said to me that it was fine for her to have breast cancer, she just didn’t want her kids to get it. I told her not to worry, that it would all be OK. Basically what she had said to me last year! She asked if I wanted her to collect Grace or come with me, again I told her that it would be fine. Just before the Doctor’s appointment, I went to Grace’s school carol concert up at St Michaels Church in Sunninghill. I know the Vicar, Stephen Johnson, as he was my Musical Director for the Panto last year. We had a bit of a chat as I was the first there and then I sat in the pews and said a little prayer about what I was scared of, asked for strength and to keep me strong, particularly for Grace.
Once the carols were over, I collected Grace and set off to the Doctors. I explained to her that the Doctor was going to examine me but I don’t think she understood fully until we got into the room. I explained to her that I needed to go behind the curtain with the Doctor and that I would like her to look after my bag. Normally she would want to come with me, but I could see that she ‘got it’ and stayed where she was with her important job to do.
The Doctor examined me and said that she felt that it could be a cyst but couldn’t tell and was going to refer me right away to King Edward VII Hospital in Windsor. I was scared. Very scared. But I couldn’t show this to Grace so we had a bit of a chat on the way out of the Doctors and I explained to her that I needed to go for a check up at the hospital. We left it there and amused ourselves with ‘Dominick the Donkey’ on the way home.
Last Thursday I received a call to say that my appointment had been arranged for 20th December at 10.20am. I had a week of not knowing and getting on with my life to do. I am the sort of person who hates people feeling sorry for me and won’t broadcast it to the world on Facebook as I feel that a negative status is not constructive. If I have nothing positive to say, then I say nothing. What I do instead is tend to beat myself up at the same time as cutting myself some slack, so gym went out of the window yet again!
This morning Grace had a special treat as both Ross and I took her to school. We played ‘Dominick the Donkey’ (again!), ‘I Believe In Father Christmas’ (I may have almost converted Ross and Grace!!), some of the Muppet Christmas Carol Soundtrack and played I-Spy all in the name of normality.
After dropping Grace off, we got to Windsor a little early so, Ross and I parked the car and ventured into town to find a coffee shop. We sat in Costa in my favourite part of Windsor – the old Railway Station. It looked beautiful with the Christmas trees and lights. Ross took a business call and I sat there thinking, and for the first time I started thinking ‘what if?’ Then the realisation of the importance of needing a will hit me. What would happen to Grace if I wasn’t here anymore?
We set off for the hospital and I started to cry. Ross said, in his usual sensible way, ‘Let’s deal with the problem of finding a parking space first!’ I said ‘Don’t say problem because then it becomes one. Say ‘challenge’!’ A lovely Indian man had just come out of the hospital and was pointing at the space he was about to come out of. Problem solved! Or should I say challenge met?!
We went in and I was given a questionnaire to complete. That done, Ross and I started critiquing the people appearing in OK Magazine (one of our favourite past times!). I was invited in by the first nurse around half an hour later. She was so kind, with a sympathetic smile. I just tend to make jokes when I am in a difficult situation and this was no exception! She carried out a mammogram on both breasts, squashing them between two perspex plates. It really bloody hurt! But I knew how important it was to relax so that they could get a good picture.
I went back to the waiting room where Ross was watching this weeks wrestling on his iPod. I listened to his chatter about the matches but am ashamed to say that I didn’t really take it in. My thoughts were elsewhere.
Then I was lead into the room for an ultrasound. I told the nurse that the last time I had done this, I was pregnant so it was going to feel weird having the gel put on in a different place. I asked if I would get the results today and was told that I would. It may mean a biopsy or if it was a cyst then they would want to drain it today. I was dead scared – needles are my biggest phobia!
Back to the waiting room again we had 20 minutes left on the car. I texted my Mum to update her. I think the nurses must have known and timed it perfectly by coming out 10 minutes before our parking ticket was going to run out! Ross came with me this time. We sat down and the lovely, friendly Doctor told me that there was no lump, no cyst, it was water retention in a breast duct. It may be painful but it would disperse itself, and I could use Ibuprofen gel to alleviate the pain. I looked at Ross and just grinned. I could see the happiness and relief on his face too.
When the Doctor told me that she would like to examine me once more it didn’t bother me in the slightest. The cough I have had for the past two weeks, the mess the builders have made in our house for the last two weeks (insurance claim due to leak in the downstairs bathroom), the worry and stress of money and lack of work all paled into insignificance. I was OK!!!
As we left the hospital, I started to cry tears of relief. Ross put his arm around me and we walked to the car. I rang my Mum to give her the good news and she sounded so happy.
This year I can’t wait to spend time with the people I love knowing everything is going to be alright. The one thing I have gleaned from this is how important it is to make my will now. Grace needs the future security just in case because we never can tell when our time is on its final countdown.