Thursday, 8 October 2015

The Lump - part 2

Sometimes, I am an absolute tit.

I was going to write a post about going back to the breast clinic, and finding out that everything's totally normal, and WHOOPEEE FOR ME!

But a few seconds after I'd tweeted that my news was good, a lady replied saying, "I wish mine was."

This lady has breast cancer. She went on to explain, kindly, that she had already had chemo and is facing a round of radiotherapy.

And here I was, dancing around, getting my healthy baps out and giving myself an extra big cheer. Nobber. Nobber. Nobber.

This made me think more carefully about my time in the clinic, and about the other ladies waiting with me. As I had lots of tests pencilled in, I was there for hours, and got settled in with a very bad book and an enormous bag of rice cakes. One by one we were led away into a room to have our breasts fondled, and one by one we came back, awaiting the next round. I'd noticed that the woman next to me had been gone for a while, and I'd assumed that she'd already slipped out unnoticed. But a little while later, out of the corner of my eye I saw her return, red eyed. She sat down next to me and turned to her friend. "It's cancer." she said. Her friend let out a creaking noise.

I looked away.

90% of breast lumps are not cancerous. But there were 20 people in that clinic. Which meant that, statistically speaking, my neighbour was probably not the only one to be diagnosed that day.

I imagined that the 'other' person in the room was going to me. I forced myself to live the moment of telling, the moment the doctor revealed the bad news, in my head. I thought about how I would react, what I would say. I imagined the terror of telling my children. And my ex husband. And of course, like the complete twat I am, I started to cry too.

The lady who had just been diagnosed turned and gave me a sympathetic look. I felt like a dick.

I was lucky, of course. This time, at least. But 50,000 people, mostly women, are fighting breast cancer every year. So all that trauma - the telling everyone, the coming to terms with it, the treatment, the emotional sledgehammering, the issues with work...not to mention your sodding health - is happening right now. In fact, more than 130 people are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK every day. But...78% of breast cancer sufferers survive, and there's a strong desire to make this 100% by 2050.

So. If you don't mind me being matron for a moment:

  • Check your breasts regularly. Up-to-the-minute guidance is here: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Breastcancer/Pages/Breastcancersymptoms.aspx. If you find a lump, don't worry - it is most likely to be benign. But DO have it checked.
  • If you are offered a mammogram, take it with open arms. Well, arms above your head, anyway (mammogram joke). People told me some mammo stories that made me jumpy, but I can honestly say that it didn't hurt at all. 
  • If you find a lump, don't imagine yourself dying, like I did. It just makes you look like a nob. Just get to your GP and let him or her cop a feel.
  • There is a wealth of information on breast cancer out there on the internet, but don't over-Google. You might do what I did and assume the worst. Leave it to the NHS; my experience was that they were swift, knowledgeable and caring.

Last time I went to the clinic, they were selling knitted tits. This time, it was knitted cupcakes, in support of Macmillan's World's Biggest Coffee Morning.  I bought a knitted cake, although if I'm honest, I'd have preferred a knitted tit.

And here it is. Glittery and everything. It could actually be a tit if you squinted at it in the half light.


Good luck to everyone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer this week. That's 520 people already. I am with you, as are all the women in the country. As for the rest of us - let's get knitting, or baking, or running, or spreading the word.... or something.

Because we all know someone who's lived or died with breast cancer.
___________

It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Give your boobs the once over. This month and every month.

And then the fun began...

14 comments:

  1. Hello! I stumbled across your blog recently whilst reading single mum/divorce stuff. Yep, I was one of those unlucky ones - went through breast cancer last year as a single parent with a then 7 year old and an ex trying to divorce me during chemo. I did have a partner who was wonderful during chemo but then had a "can't cope with any relationship" type depression and dumped me a week before surgery. Breast cancer sucks big time and the effects, physical and emotional, go on for far longer than everyone thinks after treatment ends. Glad to hear you are ok on this occasion. Everyone else reading this - FOLLOW LOTTIE'S ADVICE.

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    1. I'm so sorry you've had such a shit time. I really am. Hope you've got other support to lean on? How are you now? Lots of love, and thanks for commenting. xxx

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  2. Great advice Lottie. Like you, I was so happy to get the all clear a couple of years ago and find out that my lump was just a harmless cyst. I had all sorts of horrible scenarios going on in my head. Since then I have been telling friends too to get a mammography whenever it is on offer. Mine hurt a bit but it was over in a few minutes, and it was definitely worth it.
    #thetruthabout
    Fionnuala from www.threesonslater.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks so much Fionnuala. Glad your lump was a cyst. The whole experience makes you sit up and think, doesn't it?

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  3. Wowzers Lottie. Yay for you, what a relief, and what wonderful advice you've given to others. Breast cancer is rife in my family, and the very thought of it terrifies me to my core x #thetruthabout

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    1. Oh no - I'm sorry to hear that. Sending much love to you and yours... xxxx

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  4. I honestly think your reaction and joy at it not being you, is totally understandable. Please don't beat yourself up about it. It's a horrible, horrible disease and sadly becoming more common. The good news is that it's also becoming more treatable. Well done on the post.

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    1. Thanks so much Suzanne. Really appreciate your comments. xx

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  5. What an amazing post. I have just sat and had a good fondle and checked. I am so happy you are ok but sad for the lady in the room with you. It is a horrible, scary disease and one I do think about a lot. Fantastic you are making more people aware xx #thrruthabout

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    1. That's brilliant that you had a good fondle! Thanks so much for reading and commenting. xx

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  6. What an amazing post. I have just sat and had a good fondle and checked. I am so happy you are ok but sad for the lady in the room with you. It is a horrible, scary disease and one I do think about a lot. Fantastic you are making more people aware xx #thrruthabout

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  7. Glad you got the all clear. I recently got checked for a lump which was totally fine and, while I can't say I enjoyed being felt up by the rather austere surgeon in the clinic, (wish all people in this line of work were empathic... and prefs female) I knew it was for the best. No one offered me a knitted tit though - I'd love one! #htetruthabout

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    1. If I ever go again, I'll get you one. That's a promise! xx

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  8. So glad you got the all clear! But I know this is ridiculously common - we probably all know someone who has experienced breast cancer to some degree. My mum worried me a bit about mammograms as she had one (they offer them to all women over a certain age I think) and said it was painful! Glad to hear that you thought it wasn't that bad. Knitted tits sound awesome :-) #thetruthabout X

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