I wasn’t sure if I would talk about this, if I would share something so personal, so private.  But something like this needs to be talked about, needs to be aired, because if this story makes ONE woman go and get checked over and it saves but one life, my work here is done.

I have had some “womanly” issues recently.  Pain in the breasts.  I thought nothing really of it, other than to mention it during a checkup at the docs.  A couple of weeks later, a letter dropped through my door.  An appointment with the Breast Care Unit at Stafford Hospital.

I checked with my friend Katy to see if she fancied coming along with me and warned her it could be a it of a waiting game.  She brought her kindle books on her phone.  Yeh, that Shades of Grey crap LOL

I didn’t really think anything beyond, hey it’s good to get checked up.  So, I was called in for my exam, stripped to the waist and waited.  A lovely doctor and nurse joined me, we had a bit of banter {ok, I exclaimed, OMG thank goodness I shaved my pits! hahaha} before I had an exam.  He did his job then started to look very concerned.  He felt around a bit more on my left hand side, paying attention to my armpits … then said “I can feel your lymph nodes on this left armpit, I need to get this checked out”.

All of a sudden, this was not JUST a checkup, this was “something”.

I joined Katy in a daze in the waiting room and awaited my further tests.  A mammogram and a sonogram.

And we waited.  Patiently.  Silently.

I was called in for my mammogram, I did everything I was told, as I was told, when I was told.  I suddenly felt very humble and very grateful that these people were there to help me.  And were treating me with such dignity.

Job done, back to waiting.

As Katy and I sat there a woman came in with her husband.  She had no legs.  She was hooked up to a colostomy bag.  She was in the breast cancer unit.  I texted Katy who was sitting beside me … “perspective”.

A couple of chapters of The HitchHikers Guide later I was called.  To be  perfectly honest I was still thinking, this is all just routine.  Nothing to see here, move it along.

So, I go in and have my left hand side sonogram.  All great.  All great … all … hang on … Mrs Taylor, unfortunately I have found a mass I am not happy with and I would really like to do a biopsy.  OK, go for it, it’s nothing … we don’t know Mrs Taylor … we really need to do a core biopsy … now.

NOW.  This minute.  Wait! What?

So, local anaesthetic and 4 inch needle and we are done after 3 or 4 samples are taken … nothing right?  It’s nothing. They are just taking precautions.  It can’t be *gasp* cancer.

I’m finished and they bring me to the counselling room.  They give me coffee. They bring me Katy.  They talk to me, they scrutinise me, they dont know if I am a crier (as it turns out, no, I’m not), they give me leaflets about breast cancer, they are nice.  I don’t really notice much of it.

For the next 3 days I function.  Sort of.  Every 5 minutes this mantra pops into my head “it’s cancer, not it’s not, silly” … every 5 minutes.

It’s interesting to me that I always romanticised that I would be one of the strong people, one of those people who stood proud in the face of big adversity and faced it, kicked it in the pants … but deep down I thought I would acually be one of those people who went to pieces and was a dribbling wreck.  It turns out that as I faced the prospect of fighting breast cancer, I did myself proud.

I cannot say the same thing for my husband.  Thank s to God that one of us is strong.  Bless him.

If you are here, I need to tell you … I GOT THE ALL CLEAR ON THURSDAY.

I do not have cancer.  I am so thankful for this, you have no idea.  Unless of course you have been here, in which case you know exacftly how I am feeling.

Why am I sharing this.

I don’t know.  Other than I wanted women who read this to know a few things ….

… Get checked … if you can’t do it yourself, get your partner to do it, or get checked by a professional

… If they find “something” it doesn’t need to be the big C … it could be “something else”

… If it turns out to be something serious, deal with it, as best you can, be strong, your strength will carry you through.

What have I found out about myself this week?

… I am strong.

… I am loved.

… I am worth it.

Thank you for listening … have a great week and go get checked !!

Gill xx

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