Monday, March 11, 2013

Letter to the lump in my breast

Dear Lump

I'm not going to bother to ask how you are because I know the answer and quite frankly I couldn't care anyway.

I feel rude in saying this, but I really don't like you. I know you're not cancerous so I guess I shouldn't hate you. I didn't have to suffer what so many women have to go through after they find a lump. Yep, around 40 women a day throughout 2013 in Australia will be told by their doctor their lump is not a fibroadanoma, but something much worse.

Before I got the results you scared the shit out of me. It was about a year ago that I was having a shower and feeling around like I do every so often. You live just on the left side of my left boob, as you know. I was shocked when I felt you there that first time. I've always been pretty good in feeling myself up, my finger tips making circular motions, scanning every inch of my chest. You're hard like a peach stone and about the same size so when my fingers slid over you goosebumps exploded over my skin. Where did you come from?

Searching for you became an obsession. I had to check over and over that you really were there, it wasn't just a figment of my psychosomatic imagination. I bruised myself in the hunt for you. The flesh above you turned grey and then yellow.

I went to the doctor and she checked you out and told me she wasn't worried but I should get you scanned by some machines to be absolutely sure. An order form for a mammogram and ultrasound was handed over to me. I felt sick. Not worry? Please! I started freaking the fuck out. Thoughts rushed through my head.

Please don't let me have cancer. 
    Please don't let me have cancer. 
        Please don't let me have cancer.

I put off the scans for a couple of weeks. Denial is what you call it. Please don't let me have cancer. My dad walked with me to the x-ray place. The day was overcast and grey which was apt. I waited for my turn in a waiting room full of people needed to be scanned in some way for some reason.

The mammogram was first. Oh boy. That hurt. Surely science has to come up with a more comfortable way of scanning women's tits. And men complain about the finger up the arse in the hunt for prostate cancer. I think I'd rather that than have my 16DD boobs turned into pancakes again.

Please don't let me have cancer.

It is funny what the wait for health results can do to your mind. Flashes of the past, the future, the end. You probably don't know this Lump, but I'm a chronic catastrophiser. I don't do this sort of drama well. Especially when I'm sitting in a room, surrounded by medical equipment, wearing nothing but a paper robe and my undies and I'm waiting to have my boobs prodded by strangers.

Next was the ultrasound. The last ultrasound I had showed me the bubba in my belly. Such a nicer experience than this. Lump, you fucker. By now you've got me so freaked out I really thought I'd vomit. The radiographer is rolling that thingie over and around my boobs with one hand while she expertly taps the keyboard with the other. It reminded me of when Noo's little foetus was being measured but this time they were measuring you. The dark little ellipse on the screen was about 2 cm in width if I recall. I hated you even more when I could see you. See and feel, makes it all the more real.

When it was all over I was told not to worry, the experts in the room thought it was nothing "too dramatic" so I should just get on with my life and wait for my GP to call. And so I waited. Please don't let me have cancer. And I waited until I got the call back for another test. Another test?

I freaked. At the time I was also dealing with chronic restless leg syndrome, fatigue and my anxiety levels were very high. Colonoscopy, endoscopy as well as swallowing a camera to look at my insides were procedures I was also going through because another doctor thought there was something going on in my bowels.

Congruent cancer scares. Doesn't my body know I don't cope well with this shit? And I couldn't be making this up either. You can't create breast lumps and empty all your iron stores by being depressed or anxious which is usually the cause of my physical ailments.

For the next test I had the joy of having a big needle stuck into my boob guided by the ultrasound. The doctor had trouble getting in the right spot and had to have several goes at it of course. It hurt like hell. The staff in the room kept asking me if I was ok. I must have looked pale. My mouth was dry. I kept thinking of Noo, of the statistics, of my chances...

Waiting sucks at the best of times but waiting for cancer tests is just pure torture. Please don't let me have cancer. It had become my mantra. I said the words over and over again.

Finally the appointment with my GP came around and you were given a name: Fibroadanoma. Or breast mouse. Just a fibrous lump. Benign not cancerous. Relief overwhelmed me. I'm not one of the 40 today.

I was told everything was ok and I was stoked. But still...

I don't like you being there. You ache when I have my period. You feel foreign inside me. Unnatural and superfluous. If I had the money I'd get a plastics doc to cut you out. I don't like you there.

But at least I don't have cancer.

Yours in dislike

To my sister in law who fought breast cancer and won, I love you. Your strength amazes me.

To my very, very good friend who was diagnosed in her 20s after the birth of her first baby, battled breast cancer and won the fight, I love you. Your bravery is like nothing I've ever known.

And to all those who have been affected by breast cancer in some way I salute you: Survivors and those who've lost friends and loved ones to this disease you're courage amazes me.

Have you ever had a cancer scare? How did you endure the waiting?


Trish said...

Yes i have had cancer and cancer scares.So glad you don't have cancer. I ENDURED the waiting because the last time i knew I had cancer .

Thanks for sharing your story Vanessa, and you did the right thing getting it thoroughly checked.It will hopefully encourage others who are worried about a change to do the same.

Elisa {With Grace & Eve} said...

Oh Vanessa, I shuddered reading this because I've been here too. I had a Fibroadanoma diagnosed five years ago, and went through everything you felt. It was massive (4cm long x 2cm) and growing so I chose to have it taken out. Still I get scared and anxious though, and regularly check my breasts. I love your honesty, and your strength in writing this. Thank you so much for sharing this link with me on my FB page. I'm really glad I read it. Elisa x

Beck/craftypjmum said...

So glad everything turned out well for you sweetie. xxx said...

Thank you Beck said...

Hi Elisa. It is scary, isn't it. I wish I could have mine taken out too but my doctor said to just leave it. I will monitor the size and if it grows any more get it taken out. Thanks for taking the time to comment. said...

Thanks for your comment Trish. My best wishes for a speedy recovery. V.

Mumbles488 said...

Ugh. I had mine biopsied two weeks before my wedding. I have a follow-up tomorrow. It always hurts. It burns. Sometimes it feels heavy. Even if it isn't cancer, it's an invasion.

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