Steel Magnolias

It is hard to write about such a downer subject as breast cancer, when it is Christmas, unfortunately life doesn’t care what day it is.

After being diagnosed, I had a week to wait for my appointment with the Breast Surgeon. I used the time to do what every self respecting newly diagnosed patient does, and googled everything to do with my results. Words like grade 3 Invasive Aggressive Ductal Carcinoma, HER2 neu positive 1+ positive 2+,  It is important to avoid words like, death, died from, and could die. I only read things that were informative and didn’t start to go down a negative vein.  I have a strong faith in God’s purpose for my life and was quite aware that many people were praying for me.  It makes a difference, I think the reason why I was doing so well, was due to feeling upheld by prayer.  I was constantly reassuring, family and friends that I was ok, and comforting them, while they cried and tried to come to terms with my news.  We had the added pressure during the week I was being biopsied and scanned and waiting for results of my Mother in Law having a massive heart attack and being flown down from Geraldton.  The Doctors said she could go into Cardiac arrest at any moment and to expect the worst.  She is still in a bad way, but two weeks later continues to amaze the doctors.  My daughter who flew in to surprise me from Sydney, got to visit Granny, who laughed when Sarah said she was like the ever ready bunny in the Television commercial.  We were overwhelmed with text messages, day and night, seeing how grandma was, and then as the news leaked out about my breast cancer, how I was.    eating greens

As soon as you mention that you have something wrong with you, anything at all that is serious or trivial, well meaning friends and acquaintances, start giving you first, the She’ll be right Pep talks, and the what you should be eating to fix this talks, and the medical facts that they know about the disease (sometimes this is included with the She’ll be right Pep talks.) Because now you actually have this thing and have researched and spoken to doctors, you know they are usually only half informed and sometimes don’t know what they are talking about  You cringe inside as it is the same well meaning advice you have given other people over the years. It is very well intentioned generally by people who care about you, and often everyone is just trying to help find a solution for you,  it is part of them processing it all.  You meanwhile are still trying to take it all in and feel a little shell shocked.

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Since then I have been completely blown away with the love and good wishes from hundreds of people who are connected with our family through Church, Darts and Social Media.  It is overwhelming and very appreciated.  How blessed I am to have such beautiful friends.

Years ago when I was 42 I had a breast lump which turned out to be nothing (apparently only about 1 out of 20 ends up being of a concern), I remember thinking, well Im not getting my boob cut off I will just have to die. How things change.  I thank the high profile women who used their celebrity to make breast cancer less mysterious.  Women like Olivia Newton John, one of our beautiful women Pastors Darlene Zchech, actress Christina Applegate, well know E news presenter Guilliana Rancic and many more, women as young as 21 way through to 94 who have blazed the trail before me, selflessly sharing intimate things about their journey.  Reading their stories helps us see we are not alone and that if they can do it so can we.  The 94 year old lady I am talking about was in the hospital bed next my mum years ago.  I was chatting to her while mum was having something done, and she shared how she had a breast removed when she was younger, then at 81 they told her it was in her other one.  She said to them, ‘your not cutting anything else off me, its just too bad’.  Here she was still going at 94 having gone without any treatment.  I love it and love being a woman (even though being one increases chances of getting breast cancer).  We are Steel Magnolias!

Get that Lump Checked

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You know something is wrong when the radiology staff start moving quickly and treating you like the queen. I mean they were pleasant enough before, but you can tell they would like to give you a hug, so the next best thing because they are not allowed to give you a hint that anything is wrong, is treat you nicely. So I had the scan and they immediately contacted my doctor to send through a referral for a mammogram. They cancelled the fine needle aspiration that was booked and changed it to a biopsy. My doctor who we have seen for thirty-five years chose the day of my scan to retire leaving me with serious medical results and no where to send them. We have moved to Mandurah, but had been travelling to our old suburb to see him, even though it is 60 klms away. The staff said I needed to get a new doctor by the biopsy day so I made an appointment locally. On Saturday our youngest daughter who was taking her little boy to the wiggles concert at Challenge Stadium, went the wrong way and ended up at the basket ball courts, just as, our other doctor, who we had both gone to many times over the years for girls stuff came out. She had left the practice in our old suburb and we had lost touch. She asked how I was as we had been friends at a Church we both attended previously, and left Hayley with her card for the New Practice.  My husband and I both thought that running into her was not a coincidence, so I made an appointment, and arranged to have my results sent to her.

THEN COMES THE WAITING, and while you do the symptoms are escalating in your head