Saturday 16th November 2013
The day rolls around and I turn up for the ultrasounds. I have been dreading it yet I also want to have it over and done with. I ask for a female technician because the pelvic ultrasound is internal and is what they call an “invasive test.” I am told there are no female staff today, awesome! Great start!
After pacing the floor for 20 minutes with a full bladder (another beautiful part of the pelvic ultrasound) a tall red haired man, with a friendly smile comes and gets me. He is really lovely, we chat and the whole process is quite ok.
He tells me that I am ovulating at the time of the test and that each ovary is producing 5-6 eggs which is overkill. I have always been known as an over achiever! This confirms polycystic ovaries (that has previously been speculated) and explains why each cycle I have bad pain for at least 3-4 days.
Next I am back in the waiting room. About 30 minutes later, I am called for the mammograms. I last had one at around 29. It is best practise to begin to test 10 years before your Mothers diagnosis, I was told. The first time was really painful, I felt like my lung was being ripped out through my nipple and they could not read it because the tissue is so dense. So at the time i felt it was a useless and painful experience not to be repeated too soon.
Apparently dense tissue can be a bad sign for breast cancer. I only found this out recently. I am, not sure if it is because it makes the mammogram harder to read or if this is a predictor of possible breast cancer.
A lovely young woman does my mammogram and she has to redo it a few times. In my head I am thinking “wow they can’t read it again.” They ask me to wait, then call me back to do a slightly different mammogram. This one is a bigger squeeze over my nipple and I nearly hit the roof!
Then I wait, again! They do the ultrasound on my breasts. I get the same lovely red head man again and we chat all the time. Then he goes quiet. He has been a great conversationalist throughout the day but all of a sudden he loses the ability to speak.
I make a joke of it and he remains quiet. I get an eerie feeling. He is hovering over and over the same spot. He then says gently “I think you have just booked yourself a biopsy love.” I don’t feel too nervous it’s more like a weird confirmation. I go onto practical problem solving mode like I do in a potential crisis.
I ask him who he would recommend as a good breast surgeon, that is, “if this was your wife who would you see?” Without hesitation he says “Dr Peter Schwartz.” He gives me his details and explains the process of the biopsy.
I will need to see my GP first and then be booked in straight away. He is really gentle but firm so I feel oddly safe and ok about it. I get dressed and go to the waiting room to settle my account. The receptionist says that will be $400 odd dollars and the Radiographer comes out and says to her, “She’s not paying, I’d like you to bulk bill it please.” Then I get all teary and think “geez, I must be dying cause he won’t let me pay!”
I drive home in shock really, thinking over and over, “I’ve got cancer,” “I’ve got cancer!” I walk into the kitchen and straight into my husband’s arms and say “babe they found a lump.”
He is all cool and calm and says “look let’s not worry till we know more, what’s the next step, what do you need from me, what should we do?” He is always just so loving and supportive when I need it most, another gift for me straight from God. At the time I am not even able to think about what i need.
I am walking around like a zombie, non comprehende…. He suggests we go for a drive to just get away and to be able to talk if we want and sit if we want. So we drive to Berrima and buy some of our favourite wine. Drown our sorrows hey?
I call my sister Leonie and she is very upset but holds it together, and also says “let’s wait til we know more hey.” Apparently the majority of biopsies come back as being benign. I am booked into see the GP on Monday morning.
I spend the rest of the weekend in a fog really. I am numb but also fully awake. We decide not to tell the kids until we know what we are dealing with. There’s nothing like the unknown to add to fear and anxiety. I certainly don’t want my kids to feel like I do right now, particularly if everything is ok.
So I have seriously entertained the possibility of having a cancer diagnosis, things have changed for me, and for my man forever.