This post has taken some time and preparation to be able to write it. But when I got accepted to Blog for this years Rock Your Rack, I made a promise to share, in hope that someone out there may become more aware of themselves and Breast Cancer.
I remember as a young twenty something being asked at a smear test if I knew how to check my breasts properly, I said kind of, at this point the nurse gave me a leaflet and went on to explain a lot.
Like many people that age I put it out of my mind, I knew one of my nans had breast cancer very late in life.
Some 10 years later we was celebrating my mums 50th Birthday, we had an amazing day, me and mum took ourselves off had our hair and nails done, went shopping and had lunch before heading home, where my dad and brother had been decorating the house to celebrate. No she didn’t know that we had planned that.
My mum had an odd sense of humor but she had one she laughed as well as calling us a few names under the sun.
We went on and enjoyed the rest of the day as a family, happy smiling everything normal well we thought it was.
Mum had joked about her 50th birthday gift from the health service being her appointment for a mammogram. (They start regular screening at 50 here, way too late in my opinion)
Less than a week after the happiness and fun of my mums 50th our life was thrown into turmoil, her mammogram had shown a lump, further tests including a biopsy showed it was stage 3, surgery was booked immediately and honestly at this point I lost it.
The lump felt like nothing but wasn’t it was barely palpable even my mums consultant was shocked.
Mum had her surgery, she then commenced chemo and radiotherapy. Honestly looking back, I rarely remember my mum complaining, I witnessed my mum cry, something I rarely saw when her hair started to fall out in clumps. Macmillan was a huge support and sent my mum off to get a wig she would not only love but feel good in. I remember that day so well, the woman at the shop was used to dealing with people with cancer, and they understood that this was both upsetting and scary. The experience there was amazing they made it fun and stress free, with a little craziness they listened intently to my mum, looked at old pictures and found something that my mum loved. Well she wanted some minor adjustments, I suggested she speak to our hairdresser. Now this man had cut our hair for years, crazy young Greek man that my mum loved to tease and I used to think was a bit of a hotty. Mum got upset she hadn’t spoke to him about cancer, she knew it would upset him. I assured her it would be ok.
The next day she did visit our hairdressers spent some time talking to him, and within an hour he had transformed the wig into what my mum called perfection. From that moment on my mum became a little bit of a wig hoarder.
My mum dealt with all of this worked as a shop manager, lost the love of her life my dad, had to have further surgery because the initial surgery hadn’t got enough of a margin.
Mum seemed to be doing well, she appeared to be beating cancer. Life wasn’t easy and when she started to get pains in her legs and back, doctors and family feared the worst we was right.
Mum had to give up work, it broke her heart. She moved to be closer to my brother but ended up coming back home, she needed to be home where she felt at ease.
She was under the doctors for panic attacks for some time, I always thought I am not sure about this, mum had dealt with surgery, chemo, radiotherapy and the loss of the love of her life without any panic attacks but now her breathing problems was put down to panic attacks.
A week later she was in hospital and a scan revealed multiple embolisms and tumors within the lungs. She was given days to live. That day I raced from work, sat with mum listening to her requests and thoughts. We hadn’t been the closest for the last few months, we was both so alike, being scared caused to clash. That day she told me she loved me and my brother we had to look out for each other, I went home that night kissed her good night and said see you tomorrow, she replied your Daddy loves you too and I miss him. I walked away with tears in my eyes. I missed him too and knew very soon I wouldn’t have mum either, 3 hours later the call came, there has been some deterioration you need to come, I knew that was code for she has passed, I pushed the nurse a little who said she couldn’t say anymore, so I then pushed knowing my brother was there, and demanded no-one left him alone.
The rest is a blur, Bette Midler Wind beneath my Wings, is my song to my mum.
Since then on I have checked myself not on a regular basis, but more than that I check whenever I can. The only way to know your breasts and know any differences is to check and examine whenever.
Last month I found a lump, I was petrified, initially I did nothing, 2 days later I felt again there was a definite lump. I saw my doctor was referred to the local breast clinic, and then began the scariest day of my life. Arrive, get into gown, doc examination, being drawn on, mammogram (I had 9 in total because of suspect areas) and 2 ultrasounds one with the consultant himself.
Then I sat there and waited, knowing that it could be nothing or could mean a huge change in life for me. It was nothing a fatty lump that is apparently hiding a very small cyst that isn’t palpable.
Every reader you yourself at some point are going to be touched by breast cancer, whether it be you, a loved family member or a friend.
It is the most common cancer in the UK, 1 in 8 women are said to be diagnosed and more and more men as well as younger females are being diagnosed.
A long post I know, but please don’t think I am too young, it wont be me, I am healthy.
Breast cancer like most cancers knows no boundaries!
Check! Repeat! Check!
Be Breast Aware!!
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