For about 3 weeks, I have felt a little odd under my arm and seen a swelling developing between my breast and my armpit. At first I thought it might just be weight gain but then started to wonder if I should get it checked out.
Breast cancer – I think most women live with this as a potential threat somewhat like rape.
I remember mums friends getting breast cancer and dying.
It is scary stuff and despite knowing I should check my breasts and watching guidance on how to do so, I remain pretty clueless. I mean breasts can be lumpy normally a bit right? How hard should I press? All too often, I have thought if anyone is likely to detect a problem, it would be my husband.
Anyway, wondering what to do I sent a tweet sort of knowing that this would guarantee someone telling me to visit the GP. Which gives the lie a bit to those who think Twitter is pointless. That is easy to say if you are surrounded by a big support network in real life. The rest of us rely on an army of blogging and Twitter pals to get us through. Thank you to each and every generous spirit who took the time to tell me to go to the GP.
So I went to the GP yesterday because Twitter friends told me to and because a former colleague who is battling her own cancer told me to get there PDQ and also because I read that amazing post by @dragonsflypoppy
I sat in the waiting room with people far older than myself. I finally found the doctor. Where have the days gone when they used to come to the waiting room to collect you and welcome you?
I lucked out in my hope for a female. I got a man but family photos on his desk reassured me a bit.
Despite my naked mum credentials, I did not say “Doctor, can you look at my tits?”
I explained the issue and he asked if there was any family history of cancer and I replied “No”.
“Have you had any problems with your breasts before?”
“Well when Mum got cancer I got a bit jittery and had them checked” I replied.
Confused face and once again I am reminded how us adopted people have to remember that not everyone is up to speed with the complexities when we seek healthcare.
I told him I was adopted so had no genetic link with my Mum.
He called a female nurse in who put me behind a curtain. I don’t get the point of that as the doctor will be round once you are undressed to have a prod.
Was I in pain? Nope. Google seems to give mixed views on whether that is a good or bad sign.
He found a definite lump.
He said to get dressed and then “We can have a little chat” That’s doctor speak for “You have a problem”
He told me to select a hospital to visit.
I wanted to ask him to send me to whichever one will a) say there is nothing wrong or b) agree if it is cancer, they will chop both boobs off as fast as possible.
I came into the car park in a state of shock and pulled a face at my husband. He says he thought they would send me to hospital although he had not told me that in advance.
After going on at him, he admits he feels “nervous” about the whole thing.
I google and statistics are friendly.
I am told not to google by lots of people who I know are on my side.
I hear that people quite close to me have gone through this recently and I wish they had reached out so I could have offered support.
I hear so many good news stories.
People reach out saying they will be there for me and to contact them anytime.
The Twitter and Facebook response was overwhelming really.
I am keen to get my hospital appointment so I know what I am dealing with. They say I should have a letter within 2 weeks although also say there may be an administrative cock-up so to call in to the GP if I have not had a letter by then. Reassuring or what?
I will leave it at that for today.
Right now, as someone kindly reminded me, it is just a “harmless if irritating lump”.