Hold onto your hats, it's going to be a bumpy ride! Thank you for stopping by and joining me for a while. I've recently been juggling (as all mums do) more balls than I am comfy with, and just when I felt like a professional juggler - BAM!! I get hit with this - BREAST CANCER!! I'm hoping that writing this blog will serve as some sort of therapy for me, to get me through this 'rough patch' ahead.... if it's interesting, entertaining, thought provoking or helpful to anyone else out there then that's an added bonus. If you like what you read, please visit again or click the "join" button below, and feel free to spread the word.

Thursday, 23 February 2012


It's been 1 week and a day since my operation.    I have been in pain and discomfort for most of the week, whilst my wounds are healing.    It's not sharp, constant pain, more like pinchy, twisting, uncomfortable twinges.   All my friends and family have rallied around me.  I cannot quite believe the amount of flowers, cards and gifts I have received.    So many lovely thoughts and things, that it's almost worth getting breast cancer for!   Joke - you've got to laugh haven't you.    I've spent most of the week chatting, laughing, crying, drinking tea, eating cake and chocolate and generally sitting around recuperating, whilst my beloved DH has been doing EVERYTHING else.   The school run, the ironing, the housework, the cooking, the shopping, bath & bedtime for the kids - you name it and he has done it. If it were up to me he'd be given a Knighthood for all that he's done and will continue to do (no doubt).   And I love him, with all my heart.    Of course, what we have really been doing all week is just waiting.

Waiting for today to come, when I would receive the results of tests they've run on the lump and sentinel ymph node which Sam the Man (my consultant surgeon) removed.  When I woke this morning I had a strong feeling that today was a turning point.  Life would not be the same after wards.  Yeah I know it's already changed significantly in the past weeks.   The appointment wasn't until this afternoon so this morning I went out for walk to enjoy the glorious blue sky and it was so warm I regretted wearing a coat!   I thought it was simply impossible to receive bad news on such a beautiful day.

Okay, now I'll cut to the chase (I know you are all busy) - we got to the hospital and were very soon called in (yep no waiting around for an hour - amazing!).   My DH and I entered the examination room and the nurse asked me to strip to the waist (I'm used to this now), then very quickly the room was filled with 4 more people. Yikes! I had an audience.  At this point alarm bells started ringing - did they really need this extra back up to break the news to me?  There was the Consultant (Sam the Man's boss), the Macmillan nurse, the clinic nurse, and another woman, who turned out to be a doctor (in training I think).   The Consultant takes a quick look at my wounds and is very pleased with them, they are healing nicely, I've done "really well".  He might as well have patted me on the head!  So then I get dressed and go into the little office next door, for the main event - THE RESULTS!  (queue X-Factor style dramatic music).......I braced myself.      He says that the tests on my lymph node are negative! and the 'margins' on the lump are also clear!  The cancer has not spread.   WHOOP WHOOP!! I nearly jumped for joy.  This is such a relief.  He could well have been saying the opposite and booking me in for more surgery.    I consider myself oh so VERY lucky to still have 2 whole breasts.  Me and 'the girls' have had a narrow escape.  Finally, after a shitty 2011 and even shittier start to 2012, we get some GOOD NEWS!!!

This is not the end of the journey though.   I have an appointment with the Oncologist next Thursday to discuss my treatment plan which will be chemotherapy first, then radiotherapy - all of which should be done and dusted by oh..............July or August.  So watch this space if you want to find out what a Cold Cap and a Chemo Caddy is!! xx

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


I woke about 5 am today with a tight, pinching pain under my arm.   I laid there for quite a while, wondering whether or not my wound was infected, yet not wanting to get up.  Mainly cos if I got up I knew my sleeping DH would wake with a start, concerned for my well-being.   He needs his sleep, bless him.   He is being super dad and super husband right now, doing all the cooking, cleaning, school runs, bedtime routine - pretty much doing everything, so I knew him being woken at 5 a.m would not have been good.   I wasn't in agony, just discomfort.
Anyhow due to this early awakening for me and the pain in my pit, I felt very low, dare I say it - depressed - this morning.  I managed to get dressed but then went back to bed and cried under the duvet. 
However, thanks to some fabulous friends, the day took a massive U-turn and now I am feeling great!!  Was it The Universe rallying the troops in response to my despair? or was it just that I have very thoughtful friends and that everyone is very worried about me right now?!
Within an hour I received 2 text messages and 2 phone calls from my 'lovelies' checking up on me.
Then I went off to the see the Practice Nurse at the docs surgery, who changed my dressings and confirmed that all was well - no yucky infection - phew!!!  And she arranged some extra strong painkillers for me. Hurrah!
Once home, I had a little lie down, being driven to the doctors and back again had worn me out ;) - and then my day just got even better....  a dear friend (or was it a Shining Angel) showed up at my door, complete with homemade pizza for lunch and a bag of treats.  Lots of chat, tears and laughter ensued.   She even took time to give me a mini manicure! 

So, although I have been feeling quite unlucky of late - the outpouring of love and support I have received from my friends since being diagnosed with breast cancer is actually making me feel like the luckiest girl in the world!!!   My friends (all of them) are worth their weight in gold! xxx

Monday, 20 February 2012

Never ask your Mum to wash your hair!

I thought the experience of letting my mum wash my hair for me would be soothing, comforting and a lovely bonding experience.   It didn't exactly turn out this way.   Bless the poor love, it just seemed like she had no experience of washing someone else's hair - ever!!!  I'm amazed she can even do her own.  Firstly, having trouble getting the shampoo out of the bottle - errr you open it and squeeze it Mum.   She seemed to think it was a magic pump dispenser number.   Anyway she figured it out and then proceeded to splash and flick water and shampoo all over the place, mostly in my face.   I quipped "no wonder Gem (our old dog) would run off when you tried to bath her!"  We did laugh though.  It was rather funny.   I am 38, she is 68.  I guess her brain was overwhelmed with finding itself in this situation.  It's not something you think you are going to need to do once your wee girlie grows into an independent woman.    But, here we are.   Because I had an operation on my breast and need to take extra care to keep the dressings dry, I am currently unable to wash my own hair - how long for, I don't know!!
I guess Mum is going to have time to perfect her technique.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Just a sharp scratch.........

If you read my first post then you'll know that on 15th Feb I had an operation to remove the lump in my breast.  Sam The Man (my consultant) removed the horrid lump as well as the 'sentinel lymph node' in my arm pit.   He has then sent it all off to the Lab for testing and hopefully, this Thursday, I will find out that the lurgy has NOT spread anywhere else and then I can get on with phase 2 of my treatment, which will hopefully be Radiotherapy.  I say hopefully, cos if I'm going to have Chemotherapy then I will have to have that first.  And, I'm getting vibes that Chemo will be the worst part of my 'cancer journey', making me more sick and tired and the disease itself has yet.

This is just a quick post to say my operation went quite well really.  All the staff at the hospital were really lovely, quite jolly and did everything they could to make the whole experience less traumatic.  The Day Surgery Center was clean and newly kitted out.  The only thing that has become a bug bear of mine is when the Nurse says, shortly before jabbing you with a needle, that you should expect "just a sharp scratch..."
A sharp scratch is something you get from a playful cat, NOT the seering pain of a pointy, long, hard, metal (sometimes FAT) needle!!!    I realise I need to get over this, as I have many more sharp scratches ahead I am sure.

So today is day 4 after my op.  Now that my mind has overcome the depressive cloud of the general anaesthetic, I have been left with a small wound and a few stitches just in front of my armpit.  Its a bit tight and slightly sore, nothing major.  Sometimes my left arm feels a little numb, but I was expecting this.    My left breast is stitched and bruised, slightly blue (from the dye used during the operation) and is looking a little deflated, poor thing.  But really I feel I have had a lucky escape, and I WILL wear that little black dress (see picture) once more.  Sam The Man did a good job.

Oh Bollocks - more like it!!!

Today is the day I have had the worst news anyone, at my age, with 2 lovely children can have - in my opinion.  Why is life SO shit?!   please excuse this post if its a bit angry and rather rambling.   That's because a) I have just been told I have Grade 3 breast cancer and b) I have downed a large glass of red wine at 4 p.m.
So back in early January I noticed my left boob had a strange dent in it, literally like someone had poked it hard and the skin had stayed there.  Weird.  I checked myself for lumps and found nothing, so thought oh well, maybe it will disappear, which of course it didnt!   I am blessed (or not) with a January birthday so I just got on with my life, celebrating, working, being Mum, until one day in a text exchange with MBF (My Best Friend) she said she was going to the Docs the next day to get her nipple checked out as it had changed. So I thought, 'oh bugger yes I should get myself checked out'. That night I examined my boob again and found a lump.  A nasty, hard, non moving lump.   It is quite deep set into my chest, so was tricky to locate as my boobs are a decent size (E cup).   I remember laying there that night, close to tears, thinking OH SHIT this is something horrible.   I have had lumpy boobs most of my adult life and it 2003 I found a lump which was diagnosed as a cyst and the fluid was drained there and then - no drama - all sorted.    But I knew that this time it was different.
So first thing the next morning I rang to get a Doctors appointment and when the Doctor examined me she new it was dodgey right away.    She sent a fax direct from her computer, I accidentally read the heading on the screen.  It said  "URGENT - BREAST CANCER (blah blah - I didn't need to read any more!)".     A cold feeling of dread started to creep into my gut.

So the following week I went to the local hospital "One Stop Breast Clinic".  It sounds far too jolly and like somewhere you can pick up a pint of milk doesnt it?!   After a 50 minute wait, I called in to see the consultant.   Reassuringly he had my notes for previous visit with the cyst in 2003.  He asked me lots of questions and then proceeded to examine me.  It is a slightly surreal experience having a man stand back, appraising your naked chest while you sit up straight on a hospital couch with your hands on your hips, and then of course he asks you lie back and proceeds to examine your breasts, in a professional manner of course, but I must admit thinking "I bet he enjoys his job!"   The consultant, I'm gonna call him Sam (cos that's his name), took a while, but then found the lump.  He said in his opinion it felt quite soft and he wasn't actually "suspicious" at all about it.   However as I had the dent in my breast, and the lump felt biggish, I should go have a mammogram and a core biospy right then, and then come back to see him in the afternoon.     I really cannot explain just how painful the mammogram was! OMG! as they say.  I have been through childbirth twice, and I have to say the pain from this mammogram did compare and it made me cry!   I guess I was lacking in the adrenaline you get during childbirth pain but I recommend they have some gas n air on hand in the mammogram room in future - especially for young-ish patients like myself with relatively pert bossoms.    As you get older and your boobs become deflated, I hope and pray that it becomes less painful!   I shall find this out however before my boobs have had the chance to deflate. :(

After a morning of tests the Doctor told us (me and DH) to come back at 4.30 pm for the results, although the biospy results would not be known for another 5 working (long) days.  So we went off and with the children in school and nothing else to do, opted to cheer ourselves up with a pub lunch.  I enjoyed a large glass of pinot grigio and a steak pie, whilst my lovely man had gammon, egg and chips washed down with a beer - perfect.  We chatted and joked about what could be ahead of us, wondering really why we needed to go back the same day when the biopsy results wouldn't come through for another week, so surely they couldn't tell us much.    We really felt that they couldn't give us any definite diagnosis so soon.   Boy, were we wrong!

So, we dutifully returned to the clinic at 4.30 p.m and were soon seen by the Consultant, I had a bad feeling.   Just before we were called in I said to DH "maybe they DO know, and they WILL be giving us bad news"...... I am glad I had that gut feeling, it prepared me in the nick of time.  We entered the room, there was the Consultant and nurse who we saw earlier in the day, and there was a 3rd person in the room.     A lady dressed is smart but casual civilian clothes, a name badge on her cardigan and a very sympathetic smile upon her face.   We soon found out that she was the Macmillan Nurse.  That says it all really doesn't it.  Sam quickly cut to the chase and showing us the pictures of my mammogram, pointed out the offending area and simply said "I'm sorry but you do have a breast cancer lump".   Obviously he did say more than that, but I didn't really hear anything else.    I remember him saying so we need to operate to remove the lump, I can do this for you and at a later stage, if necessary, I can refill your boob with fat from your tummy if you wish.  He then got his diary out, flicking through the coming pages, settled on a date and said if I cancel this person (crosses through their entry) then I can operate on you on Weds 15th Feb.   And all I could think was - phew, glad its not Valentine's Day!!!!

Of course, I was also thinking "NOOOOOO!   HE SAYS ITS BREAST CANCER!!! THIS CANNOT BE TRUE!"    DH and I were truly shocked and actually thought Sam The Man had probably got it wrong - even though he is the expert.    But he said that he could tell it was cancerous because of the size and shape of it.  He didn't need to wait for the core biopsy results to confirm this diagnosis.  Those results would confirm what Grade it is and whether it is likely to spread or not.

So we left that little room and the Macmillan Nurse took us into another little room where she was very nice, sympathetic, gave us some more information, I even got an A5 handbook to take home and digest in my own time.   Then we were out of there, numbly walking to the car, thinking about what to tell the children (nothing, we must protect our little babies from this horror at all costs) and how to go home and tell my own mum, who had been drafted in to look after the kids whilst we were out, that this was the start....of a very bumpy ride.