Updated: Apr 9, 2018
In this post I want to give you my next steps after my two week wait for those dreaded results, if you have just jumped in here you may want to go back and read my first post to help you understand what is going on!
As I was saying I want to give you an insight to what tests I had to face next both physically and emotionally.
On the day of the 28th February I went back to Thirlstaine Breast Centre in Cheltenham. It was a Wednesday, which was fast becoming the worst day of the week for me and the time was 3pm (all results appointments are afternoon and tests are in the morning). My mum, boyfriend Karl and I waited anxiously in the waiting room, until we were taken to a different consultancy room, in which we saw yet another consultant. She had a warmth and calmness about her, which was comforting, considering what she was about to tell me was not something anyone wants to hear.
She started by drawing a picture, just a curved line really with a round circle in the middle for the nipple, then some lines and dots on the top above the nipple. She explained they had found DCIS- 'Ductal carcinoma in situ'.
You maybe thinking what is this, well I know i was! in simple terms it is abnormal cells inside your milk ducts, considered as the earliest form of Breast Cancer. Yes Breast Cancer at 25! Who would have thought it, no no-one really it seems.
The consultant explained that this was uncommon in younger women but it seems something was in the air or water (her words) as more women in their late 20's and early 30's have been diagnosed recently and even as young as 14. I broke down in tears hearing those words, to be told that you have early stages of Breast Cancer is one thing, but to know you are one of the youngest ones really does hit hard.
With that information sinking in, I was told that before I leave and before anything else is analysed I would have to have further tests in the form of a mammogram (a test that is normally given to over 50's) and an MRI Scan, to build a bigger picture of they area affected and size of the lump, then potentially more biopsy's. Taking this all in my stride I agreed to have the mammogram that day as I wanted to get things moving as quickly as possible.
My assigned nurse Maureen agreed it was best to to it that day, as obviously the longer you leave it the more likely it will develop. So off I went downstairs to the scanning area to be greeted by another caring nurse. Again I was asked to strip off my top half and put on my favourite robe (pure sass), to then be called by another lady who said 'you look young to be down here'!!! (Don't I know it love!). The room was bright and open with the mammogram staring right at me.
A note to all you ladies both young and older, it hurts more the smaller the boobs. I was out of luck with my size C cups, as its much harder to fit them in the clamp. Lets just say it was not a comfortable experience but, it was a short experience all of a few seconds to my relief. 4 pictures later and I was out of the door. For Now!!
For all of you reading this and maybe due a mammogram, please make sure you do! I would like to also remind you to make sure you go to your cervical screening it isn't the most pleasant and you may feel a little humiliated, while someone looks into your lady parts but it is all there to make sure you keep living and any quick test is well worth that!
Mothers word done. Back to it.
My next appointment.
Only another bloody Wednesday the 7th March for my MRI scan. This was in Cheltenham at the Colbat imaging centre (just opposite the breast centre). I took my crew (Mum and Karl) but we also were joined by my god mother Hilly.
When going for an MRI you have to answer a lot of questions in a little room before you go for your scan. I completed this with no problems as I was only there in December, but that's another story for a different post. Back to my lovely robe... I was taken to a small room to have a cannula put in. My god was I happy when he said he was going to put it in my arm (on the inside of where your arm bends). I cannot explain the relief I felt that it was not going into my hand. This was needed, to put some sort of ink (Contrast dye) in my arm while I was having the scan to light up the soft tissue (all very clever).
Words of wisdom DO NOT MOVE when having an MRI or they will repeat parts of it.
I thought the mammogram was bad this was definitely worse, some of you may disagree, but this was different to other MRI scans I have experienced. Previous MRI scans I have been lead on my back, but this was on my front with a cut out section for my boobs to hang in, my head had to go on a head piece and my arms had to be flat around my head. Now MRI scans are somewhat quiet... Who am I kidding this was the loudest banging, tapping, beeping I have ever heard even with ear plugs and head silencers on (If you have watched 'SAS Who dares wins' near the end they are put through hours of babies screaming and put into stress positions. Well I thought this was happening to me). The nurses were nice and they could see I was uncomfortable so they pulled me out after about 10 mins to readjust my arms, the pins and needles were back in full force and my head was banging. They slid me back in and told me I would have to repeat the scan they had just done as I had moved, REALLY!!! In total, my scans took just over 30 minuets but my god it felt like a lifetime. I was so glad when it was all over and my emotions took over me again, I'm sure the headache didn't help.
This might not put you at ease if you need to have this done but a little advice would be, make sure you are comfortable before they slide you in, do not just say yes, like I did as it bit me in the arse.
My next appointment was the 15th March, a Thursday so I was hoping for good news as it wasn't a dreaded Wednesday. This was another afternoon appointment as it was the results from the test so far. I saw the same consultant that gave me the first set of results and it was nice to see a familiar face. Again the boob drawing was used to explain but this time with more lines and dots (I'm sure you get the picture).
The tests had built a big enough picture to show that the lump in my right breast was around 6cm, which you can imagine is reasonably large in my C size cups. Due to these results my options were Mastectomy or Mastectomy with Re- construction.
That wasn't it, me being an odd ball, younger than usual and no family history, was asked if I was interested in see the geneticist to see if I have the BRCA gene. I accepted this offer suddenly feeling overwhelmed, and realisation set in that not only do I have early signs of breast cancer but this could also effect other life decisions I will have to make if I do have the gene.
Note - Only 5% of Breast Cancer is hereditary 95% is a drop in the Ocean.
Yes in that moment me the tough cookie I am broke down in tears, this time finding it much harder to stop. I cant explain the emotions I felt that day, but I can tell you I have had many more days like that. I was asked to return again on the Friday morning (16th March) as they wanted to check my left Breast because they had seen a small lump on the MRI and wanted to check this out. I was planning on going to the Cheltenham races that day so a 9am appointment was agreed.
Friday morning I was asked to report downstairs which I did, to be told that I must have got it wrong and I should be upstairs. I was adamant I was not and the lady re-checked, she then confirmed that I was in-fact downstairs and dropped the same comment I keep hearing 'You look to young to be down here'. Thanks! again!!
So, I was hoping for good news more today as I had a day out planned with most of my close friends and boyfriend and more bad news could really throw a spanner in the works.
Third consultant luckily this time a male, he was so lovely and almost slightly reserved that he had to feel my boobs (one lesson to learn please use warm gel the cold one isn't as nice). At this stage I wasn't bothered and whipped them out but he put a towel over me, which during the tests he did one side at a time, really checking under my arms at my lymph nodes. He was extremely thorough and his nurse (one of the youngest ones i have met) was very nice she kept me chatting away, even to the point he had to tell me to be quiet at one stage. Opps! Once he was finished, he told me 'Well done for coming in', this brought a tear to my eye and made me realise how real this all was.
Good news at last the left lump that was picked up on the MRI was a lymph node... Phew time to have a drink, or few!
So, my Second post and again I'm here rambling on longer than the 1st one. I hope this just makes people realise that going to the doctors may not always be what you want to do but if you are concerned, please go get checked out, it could allow you to keep doing more of what you love. Also Ladies do not avoid those letters when they come in, we all have to go through it so why not go through it together you're not alone and you wont be the only person in the waiting room feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable as we have to do these things not just for ourselves but for our families and friends.
Thanks again for all of you that have taken the time to read this longggg post. If any questions or if you just wanted to chat to me drop me an email on email@example.com.
I just want to shout out to all of you that came out on Friday the 16th of March, what an amazing bunch of people you are and oh did we have a jolly good night!
See my next post about a huge decision i have to make.
Ciao for Now