Monday, 4 April 2011

Tests, tests, tests.

So it was true - I have breast cancer!
The weekend was filled with a rollercoaster of emotions and we told my eldest daughter which was something I wasn't looking forward to.
We sat together on her bed and I was trying hard to hold my tears back - they were for her not me - as I didn't want her to have to carry this burden.
She however was amazing - we talked together about everything - I answered her questions then we hugged , cried and prayed together.
What a wonderful young lady she is - I am so proud of her.
Thankfully she has made some lovely friends and she went and called her closest friend right after we chatted. I am so glad she has that support around her.

Initially we told my youngest daughter a more limited tale - just that I had lumps that need to be removed and I might have further treatment after that! She asked if the Dr.'s just went in and popped them - if only that were the case haha !!!
She knows the full story now!

The week after my diagnosis was filled with a barrage of appointments and tests. 
How many strangers can you take your clothes off for in a week!! Quite a few I have to say.
Monday I met a Breast Specialist - a lovely Doctor who checked everything and sat us down together to give us " The Cancer Talk " as she called it. We were given an overview of what was happening, possible treatment options and a number of referral forms for MRI, CT scan and bone scan and bloods.
Based on what she knew thus far a mastectomy with chemotherapy appeared to be on the cards.
Unfortunately she would not be the one to do my op as she only works in the private sector and we are public. But nevertheless she was a good start to our breast cancer journey!! A referral was sent to the hospital and I had to wait for them to contact me.

So the tests began - did the bloods on Tuesday, MRI on Wednesday, Bone scan and CT scan on Thursday.
What an experience - the MRI is something I wont forget easily!
I was called in by a very young technician - she put a intravenous line in for fluid to be injected mid procedure!
I was given a sheet with a long list of music on it and asked what I would like to listen to during the proceedings.
I thought that Elvis Presley would be a good choice!! Knew that would make me smile!

I was led into the MRI room where the large donut like machine awaited. I was asked to lie down on this surfboard looking like affair with my gown open, drop my boobs through 2 circular holes and place my face in what I can only describe as a mini soft toilet seat !! I had the earphones placed over my ears and there I was ready to go!!! Not the most glamourous picture!! I was slid into the machine with Elvis singing away in my ears and the technician left the room .
In no time a Shotgun noise was firing away amidst dear Elvis and Jail house rock - what a laugh!!
About 20 minutes later it was all over and out I came!!!!

The next day was to last from 10 -2 with more exciting experiences and clothing removal.
Prior to arrival I had to be nil per mouth from 6.30 am and then only drink 4 lots of the most vile tasting isotope mixture - it was truly disgusting !!!
The Ct scan also required that I have a line put in and this time it was a male technician with a rather high pitched voice telling me in a rather nonchalant manner that the injection would cause my extremities to burn like fire; my ears, head and private parts would be part of this experience but not to worry it would only last for a minute or so!!
So I was ready - I was on my back this time and in I went.
He was right - I was on fire for a minute or so - absolutely bizarre!!! This one didn't last too long so that was a relief!!

I was then told to follow him to another room - so with one hand I held my terribly stylish paper-like gown around me to preserve some dignity and the other carried my belongings in what can only be described as a woolies shopping basket!!!
Grocery shopping took on a whole new appeal at that moment as I would have much rather been doing that for sure!!

I sat next to a rather nervous looking lady in the next waiting room while the technician went to talk to the Nuclear Medicine Guy!!!!
Thankfully he came back and said I could get dressed - which proved a bit of a challenge as I still had my line in my wrist waiting for the next test!! Nevertheless I managed rather slowly to get my clothes back on and felt much better for it!!!
Not long after I was called in and the new technician explained what was to happen with the bone scan - he was going to inject some radioactive substance into me and then I was to return in an hour and a half for the scan!!
I wondered if when darkness fell that night if there would be a glow above the farm from all the stuff I had ingested and had injected that day!!!

B and I escaped the facility to have a bite to eat - we went to the nearby promenade along the beach and nestled quietly in a restaurant overlooking the sea.
What a contrast to where I had been all morning!!
We shared a delicious steak sandwich and although tempted to have a glass of wine I resisted to get through the tests!!
The time flew by and the we left the tranquility of this spot to return to the high tech world of MRI, CT and bone scanning!
Joy of joys this time I could keep my clothes on - I was told to lie on the machine and my feet were strapped together and my arms where siddled into these holders!!!
The technician said that I was to lie very still and a plate would move from the top of my head down to my toes. He said it would begin at  my head and the plate would come very close and it might be best to close my eyes!! This first part would last 5 -6 minutes!!
Being a bit claustrophobic this proved a real challenge for me - the plate was pretty large and lowered to almost touch my nose!!
I closed my eyes and prayed hard that I would be calm! Tried to think positively and knew I couldn't open my eyes for fear of seeing that plate above me.
I was concentrating so hard to remain calm - I thought what I saw was a heavenly light God was sending to encourage me - oh thank you - except then I heard the technician speak and realized that actually the plate had just moved away from my face and was now scanning my body! What a laugh !!

Whilst this scan was going on he told me that I needed to go for an Ultrasound after - he wasn't sure whether it was my abdomen or breasts. Neither of which had been scheduled so of course alarm bells started to ring - what had they found on the previous scans!! I just felt that still voice within calm me and say just trust me!!

After a few more various angled scans I was sent off to ultrasound - and you guessed it - off with my clothes again!!
The sonographer was a lovely lady and said they had seen something on the breast MRI on the other side that they just wanted to double-check!!!
She covered me with the goo and had a look and then said the Dr would come in to check!!
There I was lying on the table , breast in the breeze when the Dr came in and introduced himself.
Not the usual way of meeting and greeting someone but such as it was!!
He explained there was a spot of concern that he wanted to check - after looking he felt there was nothing to be alarmed about and that I should return in 6 months to re MRI that side for follow-up!! Hmm what music should I choose then!!
He wished me all the best and said I would come through!!

Finally we were finished for the day!
We left with an armful of scans - we had started a breast cancer file as there are so many bits and pieces to keep - but on leaving there I thought an entire filing cabinet may be more appropriate!

So my first week after diagnosis had come and gone - it had made it all seem more real and make me feel like I was now dealing with an illness.
I have some beautiful girlfriends who organized for me to get together with them on the Thursday night for Thai takeaway, wine and a natter.
It was just what I needed we were all tired but was just so good to hang out with special friends and talk about things that weren't to do with me.
I have been truly blessed to have such friends in my corner - one friend described them as my soldiers flanking me at battle!! 
An army I am so thankful for.
I am truly privileged to have such wonderful people around me, my husband has been a true warrior in this - he has been such a support to me , my beautiful daughters who I am so proud of and friends near and far who are praying and supporting!

This is a journey with unknown parts but what I do know is that I am going to make it!!!!!


  1. Thank you for sharing this very personal journey with us. Although there are many aspects that we cannot share, we can encourage, support, love, help you keep your gaze on the Heavenly Father's, and along with you constantly petition our Father for you with all your you loads my wonderfully courageous friend xxx

  2. I agree - thanks so much for sharing your journey with us. I am so pleased that you have some good friends there to support you through this!

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  4. Remember, everyday God takes you by the hand and says, "No matter how difficult the path you tread.. I will never leave your side."
    Lots of love x x x

  5. Thank you lovely ladies I so appreciate your encouragement x