I have Breast Cancer
Ok firstly, sorry for the dramatic title but well, how else do I put it? I have breast cancer.
Last Wednesday I found a lump. It was hard and, well, lumpy and felt about the size of a grape. I’ve been breastfeeding for 6.5 months and have recently been weaning and put it down to a blocked duct. Given I had no other symptoms for that or any signs of mastitis I thought it best to see my Doctor so I booked at appointment for that morning.
The Doctor decided to refer me for an ultrasound and mammogram just in case but agreed that in all likelihood, it was probably a blocked duct. I then spent the next couple of days trying to massage it away with each breastfeed but it wasn’t budging.
At the scan appointment they confirmed that there was something there and they referred me for a biopsy the following Monday.
I had a Core Needle Biopsy which is when they numb the area with a local anesthetic and then use a hollow needle to remove breast tissue from the lump and the results then went to be tested.
The next few days was just horrible, waiting and waiting for the results. I called and called and was told that the results were not in until finally, on Wednesday, the Nurse said the words you don’t want to hear – “the Doctor would like you to come in to discuss your results”.
I was at work. I sobbed, just couldn’t stop. Pure devastation. Something inside my mind had told me to expect the worst, like I almost new it was coming. I’d so hoped my gut instinct was wrong. That I’d get the all clear and be able to look at my kids again without contemplating whether I would be there for their next birthday.
I had breast cancer. I have breast cancer. It didn’t need to be said.
I called my husband who walked with me to the Doctor’s office. The longest 10 minute walk of my life in the baking heat feeling like I might just die on the spot.
We sat in the Nurse’s office for an eternity, waiting for the Doctor to be free. She confirmed it was breast cancer.
The rest of the appointment was a blur but we booked in for me to see a surgeon to talk about treatment options.
In the past couple of days I’ve already gone through a million different emotions.
When I got the news on Wednesday I was completely devastated. Just in total shock.
How is this happening? What have I done to cause it? Should I have caught it earlier? Am I going to die? Will I never see my kids grow up? You can probably imagine. Really, really dark thoughts.
I was scared to go to bed, to be alone with my emotions. I didn’t sleep much but hey, I rarely sleep.
I surprised myself on Thursday by waking up and feeling ok. Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved to have woken up and it to just be a dream!
The previous day I had done what you’re told not to do and I spent a LOT of time consulting Dr Google. My breast cancer is grade 3 (not to be confused with Stage) and is Triple Negative breast cancer. It’s a very aggressive form compared to others.
I decided very quickly, and had talked to my Doctor about this when she gave me the results, that I would do whatever I had to do to get rid of it. To really get rid of it.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy is certainly in my future and as much as I’m dreading it, I can’t wait to get started. The sooner I start physically fighting this, the better. I’m not trying to minimise how serious chemo is, I just want to get started and feel like I’m doing something to fight.
A bilateral mastectomy might be in my future if a lumpectomy is not sufficient.
I have a love/hate relationship with my boobs. They’re too big! I don’t mind them though and I would have never done anything to change them.
The breast cancer decided to root itself into the bigger of the two at least, so I can afford to lose a bit of that one :)
Right now I have some mixed emotions. I have a lot ahead of me and I met with the surgeon today and devised an action plan. I’ll write about that soon.
I feel so lucky to have caught it now but more than that, I have so so much to live for.
I’ve been able to carry, give birth to and breastfeed two beautiful babies. My boobs have literally given life to others. So they’re not all that bad.
I’m lucky to be in a country with one of the highest survival rates for cancer and to have a support network of the best family, friends, colleagues and specialists that anyone could possibly hope for.
Soon I’ll have tests and the results will show me what exactly I’m fighting against and whatever that is, I’ll fight it and I will win. If anyone can beat this, I can. I’m the strongest person I know and I don’t apologise for saying that. I am. I’m strong and I’ll win.
I have everything to live for and I will live each day as it comes. It’s helping me to plan only for each day and not to look too far ahead into the future. It’s less overwhelming that way and it’s keeping the dark thoughts at bay. If they pop into my head, I push them right out again.
Today I felt so confident and so positive from the moment I woke up this morning and after seeing my surgeon and coming up with a treatment plan, I feel even more confident than before.
I will do everything it takes to beat this. I will be cancer-free and living my life to the full. I do not have time for cancer, I have too much to do.
Check your boobs. Women and men. Check them every day. Check them standing up and lying down. My lump moves around and could have easily been missed for longer. Check your boobs and encourage your friends to do the same.
Ask me anything. Do not be afraid that you don’t know what to say. Talking helps, sometimes I will and sometimes I won’t want to talk about cancer but I do want to keep talking – distract me with your news, fun and laughs!
Positive thinking, a strong mind, an amazing support network, humour and exceptional medical care will get me through this. I can’t wait to write the post one day soon where I tell you I’ve beaten breast cancer.
And I WILL be writing that post :)
For more information on breast cancer, I can recommend you visit Cancer Council NSW’s website here.