The kids know something is up. Two doctors appointments in the same week… I never see a GP…
Daughter has been mumbling under her breath about keeping secrets and though I so desperately want to tell her… until I can tell her something substantive, I’m going to tell her nothing at all.
Today is the day, where I get answers. Mammogram, ultrasound and needle aspiration.
Husband has taken the day off work to be with me. Honestly, I think he’s more scared and worried than I am. Because I know that whatever the outcome, I am a strong woman, with a wonderful support network and I will deal with it. Whatever it may be.
It’s my first ever mammogram and I think the mammographer – Robin – can tell.
“Is this your first mammogram, sweet?”
“Come on then. Let’s get you set up.”
Robin is wonderful and talks me through it all. The talk helps me relax and when she leaves the room to process the screens I get to flick through a gardening magazine.
I hate gardening.
Next I’m off to the ultrasound lady – Carol. She starts chatting about weight-lifting after I mentioned that I had upped my weights during my lat pulldowns at last weeks gym session. She’s merrily clicking and scanning away when she says,
“Did Robin talk to you about this lump yet?”
“Well darling, it’s a cyst.”
That’s all I could say.
The feeling of relief was intense. You know how they say it’s like a weight lifting from your shoulders. It was. Literally. I felt lighter –physically, mentally and emotionally.
“Dr Y is going to aspirate it while you’re here and then we’ll send you on home.”
So, one rather large (fine, my arse!) needle and 10 mls of fluid later, Doctor Y was explaining that they would send a sample away for testing to be on the safe side. That the cysts could reoccur and that I should get any future ones checked out like I did this one. (If you can, watch the process as the doctor drains the cyst. I couldn’t watch the needle go in, but then my curiousity got the better of me, and I was able to watch it all happening on the cat-scan screen… it’s a very empowering – albeit scary – experience).
One last visit to the mammographer to rescan my right breast and I was out to the waiting room and Husband.
(There I go with the articulate again.)
So now I’m home after a relaxed lunch with Husband, and I’ve just taken a couple of pain killers because my right breast is just a little tender at the moment.
When the Daughter gets home from school, I’m going to sit down with her and tell her what has happened. She’s going to be pissed at me, and will probably yell, but I’m going to let her. She’s allowed. I’m not going to tell the Little Man anything. He would worry way too much.
There are still results to get, but this whole week has shown me that I am strong. I ended up talking to only one other person about it all this week. She said…
“You will go and have the tests. Then you will cry or you will scream and rant. But whatever happens you are a strong woman and you will deal with whatever comes your way.”
Talking to her helped. And if there is only one valuable lesson that I take away from this week, it is this – that it is okay to ask for help.
Tell your partner, tell your best friend, tell your dog.
Talk to someone you love and trust and share with them what is happening to you.
It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help. It’s a sign that you are strong enough to recognize that you need someone there on this journey with you.
And set a reminder for yourself to do the damn breast exams that we’re always to busy or forgetful to do.
Because strong women look after themselves.