Is it, or isn’t it?


I realise that lots of women face this, but those were the three words that registered on Sept 30th, though a lot more was said.

To backtrack:
On Monday, 19th September, Hubby felt a lump.
Instantly alert, I checked both sides, and yes, it was a definite lump.
I have no idea how I missed it in the shower as I am usually so thorough.
We went to the surgery the following day, and I was able to get an emergency appointment immediately, as in RIGHT THEN, that moment. Hubby came in with me.

The doc confirmed there was ‘something there’ and arranged for a Breast Clinic appointment within the next 2 weeks.
I received a letter the next day for Sept 30th from the surgery, which was confirmed the day after by the hospital.
Time seemed to drag until Friday, but we talked about the possibilities, agreeing to go in together.
The clinic was full and running late, so I didn’t get seen until half an hour past my appointment time.
The consultant was actually the wife of the GP who referred me.
I had seen her once at the surgery but didn’t realise she was now specialising. She was very nice, but I was worried.
After examining me, she admitted she didn’t know what it was.

I was sent for a mammagram, something I am already familiar with and the results from last year had come back clear, so they had something to compare to.
I was taken somewhere else for an ultrasound.
This isn’t new to me either, and Hubby was watching the screen intently.
The doctor then said:
‘There is a small lump, about 2 centimeters in size. That means it’s treatable and curable.’

There is a history of breast cancer on my father’s side of the family. His grandmother had it, his twin sisters had it, and one sister’s daughter had it.
This is on my medical notes, and is one of the reasons why I am so vigilant about checking myself regularly. My aunts and cousin are classed as ‘close relatives’ which could give cause for concern, even though breast cancer isn’t actually hereditary.

I then had a core biopsy, which involved a local anaesthetic and a needle inserted to take samples from the lump to be sent off to the lab for further analysis.
Having a thing about needles and to take my mind off the procedure (which didn’t hurt by the way), we talked about dogs.

Sporting steristrips and a padded dressing, we went back upstairs, and were shown into a private room where we were joined by a specialist nurse and the consultant I’d seen earlier.
I had already prepared myself for bad news, but preparing and actually being told is two different ball games.
They are not sure what it is, but know it is not a cyst or inflamed muscle.
I was given another appointment for October 12th (again under the two week referral system) where I would be given the biopsy results and details of what happens next.

Two more weeks of waiting, not knowing, surmising, worrying, discussing, anticipating, anything but planning until we know what we’re up against.
Thoughts of surgery and that again will be another wait.
Then time to heal before the next course of treatment starts, what that will be, how intrusive, where to go, expected side effects.

Today, 12th October.
I’d had a call yesterday saying the results were back as ‘normal fatty tissue’, but they were not happy and asked me to come to the hospital for 2pm today for another ultrasound and biopsy.
I saw a very nice nurse and a Consultant Surgeon who looked at the results, my mammagram and the ultrasound pictures taken 2 weeks ago, from which they determined the biopsy results should have read something different to ‘fatty tissue’.
I saw the ultrasound image on the screen this time, and there is a small mass clearly visible.
Hubby was allowed to stay when the biopsy was taken today.
I was so glad he was there as it was painful this time and I am badly bruised, but it is as they expected, that it is a small cancer, and these results will tell them more about the type it is and what treatment will follow. Surgery is definite.

And so we wait again.
Hubby is right there beside me.
We talk a lot. We share our concerns and anxiety.
He is worried. So am I.
But we can beat this. We will beat this.
We have friends who are supportive and not gossips.
I have told Bro, but no-one else in my family just now.
We can be up front, matter-of-fact, honest and open about our feelings with them and each other, discuss the issue sensibly, logically, rationally and calmly.
But in those private moments when I am on my own, be it in the shower, walking the dog, or even in a shop, those three words echo in my head:
Small, treatable, curable.

But I’m coming up with three more:
Positive Mental Attitude.
And another three:
I’m not alone.

But do you know the irony?
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! In November 2020, we lost our beloved Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney. We now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of Kizzy, my GSD when Hubby and I first met so had hers done too. On February 24th 2022 we were blessed to find Maya, a 13 week old GSD pup who has made her own place in our hearts. You can follow our training methods, photos and her growth in my blog posts. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
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25 Responses to Is it, or isn’t it?

  1. I was diagnosed (13 years ago) in October too. Weird, right? Mine was small, curable and treatable. I did not need chemo but I did have radiation. Now they are so much more advanced. They can more accurately diagnose the type and the aggressiveness which helps your course of treatment. Good luck to you. BTW my first biopsy was awful. I had a second one done by a surgeon and that was much easier.

    • Thanks Kate. This is what we’re hoping too. My first biopsy was painfree, but yesterday’s hurt like hell! I felt like she was trying to attack the couch through me! She was very apologetic though, but knew what she was doing, and it will be her who does the surgery.

  2. cindy knoke says:

    Oh dear! The waiting creates such stress and bothers me for you. My mother in law, best friend, and two aunts all had breast cancer, further along than yours, and all the relatives died in their 90’s of old age, and my friend has been cancer free for ten years and she had advanced breast cancer. So did Betty Ford and so many others. So yes! Keep that in mind. Positive Mental Attitude, Small, Treatable, Curable!
    Thoughts and prayers flying your way.

    • Thanks for these positive thoughts Cindy. I also think of Kylie Minogue, Sheryl Crow and Anastasia. We have confidence in the Consultant Surgeon we saw yesterday who told us ‘like it is’. I just want this thing out so in two weeks I should also be given a date for the surgery, which they have said is only a day, so that too is a positive sign.

  3. Do not let yourself be alone! Don’t hold back. Tell everyone. We’ll all worry with you.

  4. colinandray says:

    All that stuff happened on my birthday…..that has to be a good sign! It is now even more important that you keep up your weight control program with healthy eating so your body can be in its best fighting shape!
    As has been said earlier, it should not be your secret.. and has no reason to be your secret. Tell the world! You may be surprised at how many other women appreciate hearing that they are not alone. My daughter has been fighting a brain tumor for 8-9 years now. She is proof that life can go on quite successfully given a good attitude! Keep smiling All the best Di.

    • Thanks Colin…. the main reason for ‘putting it out’ on my blog was not only to hopefully contribute to the awareness thing, but to do exactly what you said, let other women know they are not alone. Sadly, it probably wouldn’t register with my Mum, or if it did, she would dwell on it giving more cause for disharmony in the situation there. We have friends here and they are tremendously supportive. I’m in the best shape I’ve been for years so I have a lot going for me. That and being stubborn! I’ll know more in a fortnight.
      BTW, I think your daughter is amazing. 😀

  5. foguth says:

    Five minutes before I read this blog, I read which tells how they have known that vitamin B17 reduces, etc. cancer for 65 years… thought you might be interested.
    BTW, congratulations on having fatty tissue 😉

    • Thanks for the link! I have another two week wait now. Ho hum.

    • Went in on the link, and it’s interesting reading. Now that my eating habits are better and my weight has gone down (that was a gift as we may never have found the lump this early otherwise), I’m in the best shape I’ve been for years. I don’t drink and gave up smoking over 25 years ago. I walk at least 2 miles every day with the dog, so get regular exercise. All positive things, which is great!

      • foguth says:

        I’m so glad that you’re in such good shape – that helps a lot. Wish I could walk 2 miles! My spine got messed up about 6 years ago, and after a couple blocks, I start getting nerve spasms. Just started with a new spine doctor 2 weeks ago – fingers are crossed that this guy will want to fix whatever is wrong vs. have me on a ‘merry-go-round’ of pills, etc. that help the symptoms, and keep me coming back.

      • I sympathise having suffered with back pain for years. Turned out to be a combination of things aggravated by heavy lifting of coin in my banking days. I still get twinges or stiffness, especially if I sleep too soundly (I don’t move at all apparently). Hopefully your new doc will find something to get you sorted on a more permanent basis.

      • foguth says:

        My fingers are crossed for both of us!

  6. scifihammy says:

    I’m so sorry to read this. You must have been worried sick. The good news is you have caught it early and the prognosis is very good. I am impressed with the speed they are treating you and you are in good hands.
    The way I look at it is, some things are bound to go wrong as we get older, but these days the treatments are so much better. As you say, you are not alone, and all of us here on WP send our support too. Thinking of you 🙂

    • Thanks Sci. The waiting is the worst. I get the results of the second biopsy next week and a date for surgery.
      I am in the best shape I could possibly be, the weight, blood pressure, diabetes, fitness, the whole works. I just want it done so that we can get on with life.

      • scifihammy says:

        Yes absolutely, I totally understand. And really good that you are in such great shape! I am optimistic for a very positive outcome for you. 🙂
        As I said, things go wrong when we age; 6 years ago (and I can tell you to the minute!) I suddenly got myopic macular degeneration in one eye, with instant loss of vision. Really scary, and it can happen again in either eye at any time.
        But life goes on and you play the hand you are dealt.
        All of us here at WP will be rooting for you and I really believe in positive energy – so you’ll be all right. 🙂

      • I believe in positive energy and positive thinking too. The biggest thing is knowing you are not alone, and that this unwelcome parasite can be beaten. I’m certainly not going to let it get the better of me.

      • scifihammy says:

        You’re half way there already! 🙂

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