I had an appointment for a mammogram and because I work at the Royal Melbourne Hospital (Victoria, Australia) and for the sake of convenience, I decided to have the procedure done there at 9.00am on Friday June 22 2001.
I felt I had nothing to be concerned about - yes there was a lump under my left arm pit - but because I had a nasty cough and cold, I just thought it may have been an infected gland.
The staff doctor suggested the follow-up mammogram after seeing her the previous day. I was surprised as I had had one only 13 mths before - I am very conscientious about screening - I have my pap smears and mammogram without fail each time they are due.
So I had the mammogram, then at 10.30 the radiologist called me back for an ultrasound - still not concerned.
Though I could not help but notice the large white mass that appeared on the screen as the instrument hovered over the lump in the arm pit. The radiologist then asked could she "take a wander around the left breast" with the ultrasound, of course I agreed. On the screen, another - this time smaller - white mass appeared, this one about 5cm to the left of my nipple.
I asked what it was.
Her reply to me was that it could be anything and that sometimes it is easy to distinguish a "good lump" over a "bad lump", but this time it was difficult to tell. She suggested I see the staff doctor as soon as possible. My answer to that was: "do I have to?"
She went on to say that she would be phoning the doctor straight away and that it would be best for me to see her as soon as I could.
I was starting to feel a little uneasy - something was wrong - I felt like I wanted to cry, but did not know why.
What was happening?
I went back to my desk, trying to think of what could be happening to me, what was wrong?
"are you sure you didn't catch it from work?"
But I have come along way in these past ten years ...... ten years that I truly not expect to be apart of. Goodness me, I didn't even expect to get beyond one year!
To be diagnosed with breast cancer and secondaries in the lymph glands is every persons nightmare.
Soon after my surgery, a friend said to me:
"one day you are going to forget all about your cancer, there will be times you might remember, but believe me, there will be a time that you will forget and days will go by before you even think about it"
at the time she said this, I was so full of myself and 'my' cancer that I doubted it very much, this was a nightmare, how could I forget this?
but you do and I did.
You get over it and life goes on.
you have to put it behind you and think positively and live life in the best possible way you can.
Not just for yourself, but for others around you too.
You cannot 'think of youself' all the time, there are others to consider, partners, carers, family, friends, work colleagues ...... these people are there as the "supportive team" and to be honest I doubt I would be here today - ten years on - if it were not for my supportive team.
and just today as I was in the middle of writing this blog post, I heard from a friend that her husband has just been diagnosed with breast cancer.
please be aware that cancer can touch anyone at anytime, male or female.
so be sure to have regular check ups and do not keep 'putting it off"