Did that title grab your attention? Yeah, we’re going to talk about boobs. And not in a good way. If you don’t want to know about bad boobs stop reading now.
Over the next little while I’m going to post a few ‘episodes’ of Boobs Behaving Badly. This is a story (and not one I’ve made up unfortunately) about breast cancer.
Alrighty, still with me? Then let’s hit play on this sucker.
Last year I had my usual yearly physical which always includes a mammogram and ultrasound. This particular time the mammogram picked up some calcium spots in my right breast and I was advised to re-scan in six months. Easy enough even though those mammograms are a killer. (I swear, if we tested for testicular cancer by squeezing nuts they’d invent a better, less painful way!) I booked in for the scans and when the time came I had to postpone due having my COVID shots. No worries. I’ve had these calcium spots before and they’ve been fine on the followup scan. No reason to worry about the delay, right?
I rebook and go when I’m supposed to. Except this time the spots are still there and hey, ho, what’s that in the left breast? Hmm….. Well, we should probably send you to see someone better at this than us.
I’m still not all that concerned. In fact I waited a couple of weeks before making that suggested appointment. And I’ll be honest, I waited because they didn’t seem all that concerned about it when they told me I should see a specialist. So I finally made that appointment and less than a week after making the call I was sitting in the specialist’s office. And I’m still not all that worried even though there is a family history of breast cancer.
Can I just say now, before we go any further that I LOVE MY DOCTOR! He’s one of the best medical professionals I’ve ever dealt with and I’ve got four kids so I’ve dealt with more than my share. (Most of those involved The Kid, who if you’ve been with me a while you’ll recall how ‘accident’ prone he was in his younger years.)
So here we are, the doctor is looking at the scans, he does a quick ultrasound of his own and he suggests a biopsy on both breasts. Sure, we can do that. But HOW do we do that because I have a needle thingy going on. (And by that I mean I can’t see one without getting all queasy and sometimes passing out. Yeah, go me, even sewing needles have been known to set me off!)
Okay, so there are definitely needles but that’s fine, we’ll hide them. (Are you laughing? Because I have to say, I struggled not to laugh when they were moving around me hiding those needles.) Oh, and how does Monday work for you? Monday, as in less than a week? Ah, suuuuurrrre. Now don’t worry, the procedures will be done using a local anesthetic. So you won’t feel anything.
LIES!!! LIES! LIES! LIES!
I felt A LOT!!
Apparently I have a tolerance or intolerance or immunity (I have no idea what to call it!) to local anesthetic and even though they gave me DOUBLE what is normally enough I felt it. And it wasn’t a tickle. Not even close. I almost passed out in the first procedure, then again that could have been due to the boob squish from the mammogram because that’s happened before. It was so bad they almost stopped and I’m like NO! NO! You’re in! Keep going! I AIN’T COMING BACK FOR THIS SHIT!!! Okay, first procedure done.
I’m back in the room (day stay in the hospital) waiting for the doctor to pop in before the second procedure later in the afternoon. (OH, did I mention I had the first at 9am which meant a 6:30am admin?) Anyway, the doctor suggests putting the second procedure off because the first went so well. Ha! Nope. As I said – I AIN’T COMING BACK FOR THIS SHIT!! Get it done.
If you’re sure. *nods* Yep. Let’s do this. Okay, well this will be easier because you’ll be lying down and it’s ultrasound assisted so not like the first time when you were upright in that weird chair with you boob squished, the doc tells me. Yep. Okay. Let’s get it done.
It was just as bad. Honestly, WTF?! My boob is supposed to be numb!
Okay, deep breaths, lots of muttered swearing, eyes squeezed shut and plenty of ‘you’re doing great, we are almost done’ being said. They were NOT almost done!
And then they were. And I was fine. In fact I was surprised at how little after pain there was. And the two small incisions were exactly that, small. So small if they didn’t scab I wouldn’t have been able to see them. A little after I’d returned to my room the doctor came in and said everything went great (really? was he not in that room with me?) and he’d see me in a week.
Yeah, he saw me sooner than that.
Three days after the biopsy I sat in the doctors office with Mr.C beside me and heard words no one wants to hear.
You have stage 1 breast cancer.
Umm…okay. Now what?
More scans and blood tests and both require those dreaded needles and holy hell WTF? is this thing??!!
I’ve had ‘ports’ (no idea what the official medical term is for them) put in before but nothing made me think of the terminator!
This lovely accessory was necessary to have a MRI and PET scan done. The day after I heard those words no one wants to hear. And weren’t they fun? Ha! Dear lord I’m so done with medical tests. Except….yeah, I’m not.
Luckily, both those scans and the blood work came back in my favor and things are looking good while still not good. (Can I just say right now I hate the words ‘it’s stage 1, that’s a good thing‘. No stage is a good thing and while I get why people say it and they’re trying to make me feel better, for some reason I don’t feel better. I feel like punching them in the head!)
Which brings us to today. Exactly THREE weeks from my first visit with the specialist I’m back in the hospital dealing with needles again. This time I’ll be under a general because they’re taking about 10% of my boob. I’ve opted for lump removal over breast because the cancer is small and contained and it makes more sense than my initial thought of TAKE IT ALL OFF!!!
So, that’s where I am. In hospital. Probably out of surgery now because I’ve set this to post then. My plan is to post Boobs Behaving Badly – Episode 1 later this week but who knows how I’ll be after they operate.
One thing I want to say before I finish this is DON’T PUT OFF GETTING CHECKED! We’re lucky we caught this early and if I wasn’t so regular in my checks I’d be posting a different story.
Right. Well, I need to pack a bag. And distract myself with some more housework before I head to the hospital.
Stay safe and well people!
** Episode 1 **
Meghann Becker says
I’m so damn sorry you’re going through this. And no. No stage is okay. Whether it be 0 or 5. They all freaking suck monkey balls. Cancer sucks and I’ll say all the positives for you. Fast healings my friend.
Thank you Meghann! It does suck no matter what number they give it.
Catherine Bybee says
Fuck cancer. I’m so sorry and yeah, punch something. I would. Love you lady. You got this.
This is exactly why I love you back! Thank you!
I am sooooooooooooooooooo glad you had Mr C with you! Last year, as Australia was working out what going into lockdown would mean, I had a similar but different chain of events (ultrasound, next day CT scan then GP telling me I needed a specialist who may need to do a biopsy and saw that specialist 5 days later [a weekend was involved]) and by time I saw specialist after decades of seeing so many specialists, I didn’t think to take Hubby with me. My urologist kept asking me if I had ever smoked (no) or exposure to toxic chemicals (I didn’t think primary school children’s counted) and he never said the cancer word. He just told me what I probably had – high grade aggressive urothelial carcinoma. I can remember saying to Hubby does carcinoma mean cancer???? Within 5 weeks of that (and thankfully, knocked out with GA investigations) I was undergoing a complete kidney and ureter removal due to it.
The thing they kept saying – margins were good …….their poker face was amazing.
It sucks so bad and it has to be one of the more surreal things in life. You’ve got this. May you heal as smoothly and quickly as is possible and be back to your non-needle lifestyle. Hugs
OMG! I had no idea you’d gone through all that! I hope you’re doing well now. As for poker faces, I guess they have to perfect those, right? And surreal doesn’t begin to describe it. From the time I left our place on Tuesday to the time I got back it was 24hrs. 24hrs! and I’d had surgery! I’m hoping for that needle free lifestyle. And I’m returning your hugs x a million!
Pamela McKay says
Rhian, love the title! Just going through the same thing. Tomorrow is my 3rd of 12 chemo infusions. Can I say those needles are as big as your arm ?
After 6 kids, retirement and getting into another decade, I chose to loose them all. Best decision ever. They found some more inactive cells that would have started up the whole thing all over again.
Glad to hear you are recovering ❤️?
Well fuck. This sux big time. I hate hearing you’re going through this right now. I won’t know for a few more days whether I’ll end up with chemo or not. I’ve already told my doctor that if I ever have this again he’s taking the lot off. For now though, it wasn’t the best choice which I’m fine with.
I hope the rest of your treatment goes well. Sending you lots of good vibes.
Nicole Hartney says
Thank you for your honesty and sharing your story. You’ve definitely reminded me that the Big C doesn’t happen to ‘other’ people, it can touch us all. You’re amazing. You’ve got this x
Good thing because I’m planning to share once a week so brace yourself. 😉
And thank you!
Dawn wood says
So sorry you’re going through this. It is a shitty disease and no one should be going through it. Thinking of you and sending my love. X
Thank you! It is shitty and no, no one should be going through it but unfortunately that’s not the case.
Helen Sibbritt says
Hugs Rhian, thinking of you I went through the same thing last year but I opted for the mastectomy and no chemo and radiation for me, I have everything crossed you, you will get there, stay positive
Oh Helen, this makes me so sad. It also makes me hopeful. Thank you for sharing your story with me. I am positive. It’s super early and all signs are leading to a positive outcome. *hugs* to you my friend!