is chemotherapy. I never thought I’d say that but there you have it. This year I am ALL about the chemo.
So I probably need to back up a bit! I have breast cancer. It’s a bugger. It’s stage 3 but I’m not sure which stage 3. Basically what I do know is that I have this 6cm tumour in my breast and a hunk of cancerous tissue in at least one of my axillary lymph nodes. These are little things in your armpit that basically act like a pond pump and filter and catch all sorts of debris and stuff that floats about your insides. They caught my cancer. They also seem to have done a pretty good job of holding onto it too as as far as we can tell there isn’t any cancer anywhere else.
How on Earth did I wander around quite happily with more than 2 inches of cancer stuck in my breast and not notice I hear you ask? Well, good question. I did notice. I noticed 3 years ago when it was just a little blip of a thing and I dutifully went off and saw my doctor. She sent me off to the Breast Care Unit and they squashed my boobs into a machine and prodded and squeezed them and ultrasounded them and all the other things they are meant to do when a person turns up with a lump in their breast. Except do a biopsy. No one did a biopsy.
“What you have there is a cyst and some dense breast tissue.” they said.
“You calling my breasts dense?” I said.
“Yep” they said. “Nothing to worry about. All fine. You just have lumpy dense breasts. The cyst might change size and shape but it’s nothing to worry about” they said.
“Great” I said.
A little while later I thought to myself, if I have dense, lumpy breasts how am I suppossed to spot something I do have to worry about? So off I went and asked the nurse at my GPs surgery and she said everything was fine and gave me a leaflet with a list of breast cancer symptoms on it.
“I don’t know if I can spot a lump. I have lumpy breasts.” I said
“It’s ok. Let us know if anything changes or you have any other symptoms” she said.
So a few weeks ago something changed. My dense lumpy right breast imploded a bit and I got what looked like cellulite on my breast.
It’s a tough one. The folk at the breast unit can’t say that the cancer wasn’t there 3 years ago but similarly they can’t say that it was. No one knows. We can’t go backwards. To paraphrase an old Chinese proverb “The best time to do a biopsy was 3 years ago. The second best time to do a biopsy is now”. They did a biopsy. We can’t go backwards so we go forwards.
After the first diagnosis it was all so quick. Diagnosis Thursday, bone scan Friday, CT scan Monday. Thank the Lord that, as far as we can tell the little blighters or, as my consultant surgeon calls my tumours ‘the mischievous fellows’ don’t seem to have gone anywhere other than the lymph. They are sitting in my lymph nodes though and I am not sure if they are in my blood but imagine they might well be.
Now, after all that, I wait. I have to wait to see the oncologist on the 17th December. I will have chemo prior to surgery. This is to shrink the tumours in order to get ‘good margins’ (there will be another post about the vocabulary of breast cancer. I can feel it brewing). I hope they get me started quickly. Each day that I am not having chemo I am scared that the little blighter might be sending its sentinels off into my system looking for a place to hook on. Remember those nasty little bug like things in The Matrix that scour the tunnels looking for unplugged humans? I reckon they look like that!
So, that’s why all I want for Christmas is chemotherapy.
And some pyjamas.
But then I always want pyjamas.