Reoccurrence reassurance

So I guess the general rule for this blog is that when I say, ‘I’ll write about this tomorrow’, it really means, ‘I’ll write about this in a day or two or three’ because things get busy. Yesterday morning I woke up with the intention of doing three things: Washing the dishes. Making Lunch. Writing  a post about my trip to the hospital.

Two out of three isn’t bad. And here we are today – somehow more dishes have sprung up overnight and lunch will need making again. However, they had their chance yesterday. Today is for the writing.

On Monday I went to my GP and asked her to refer me to the hospital. Apparently this was an unnecessary step – I could have contacted a breast care nurse at the hospital directly, but it was good to catch up with Dr Kind (plus I needed to refill my prescription).

Tuesday morning I had a call from the hospital, “Hello Mrs Brunelle, we’ve got a space for you tomorrow morning. Can you make it?”

Yes.  I could make it. This call came just as I was entering my acupuncturist’s office, but not even she could help me relax after that point. There was something she did with my eyebrows that was divine and always knocks me out, but five minutes later I was thinking about that breast exam and getting wound up again.

[Zsolt is sitting here on the bed as I write this post, eating some yogurt. Every twenty seconds he asks a question: are you a biolife? Are you a chumbawumba? Are you a konyec? But I have no clue what a konyec is, apparently it means ‘the end’.]

Anyhow! It was nerve racking. My body revolted against me later in the day and served up a killer stomach ache, which was subsequently blamed on a leftover Valentine’s day dish of cabbage and pork, but was likely also due to stress.

Wednesday I went to the hospital. They sent me to the clinic that contains all things cancer – this is where the oncologists, surgeons and radiation doctors meet and mingle. Passing us in the waiting area was my surgeon who nodded to Zsolt (I was absorbed by my magazine), and as we were shown into a consultation room my oncologist passed by and waved hello too.

Again the nurse asked me to remove my top and put on the cape. You do not have to put on that terrible cape. Maybe if it takes five minutes to remove your clothing, do what they ask, but so long as you can whip off your shirt – why bother with an ugly, cold, and awkward cape?

Generally we wait about 30 to 45 minutes in those consultation rooms, but this time things were quick. In walked a doctor, a student (baby doctor) and – ugh!the same breast care nurse who was in the room when I was first given my diagnosis. Panic threatened to set in, but then I thought to myself, ‘why would they bring a baby doctor along if they had bad news?’ which was logical. It turned out they couldn’t have given me bad news, because they literally had no idea why I was there. A file had landed on their desk (with most of the contents missing because my original file was lost) and they knew I was worried about lumps. But that was all.

After retelling my breast cancer story, showing off the tidy scar, and having my breast checked by yet another doctor, I was assured this was probably nothing, ‘but we’ll send you for a scan anyhow.’

The breast care nurse was very generous in telling me that my fear was normal. ‘If you didn’t feel this way, then we’d be worried.’ I suspect that isn’t true, but it was kind of her to say.

And one hour later I had my ultrasound.

Fast, no?

Again they shot cold gel onto my chest. Again some slippery rubbery thing glided around my breast. Again it probed the lumps. ‘I can feel what you mean,’ said the doctor, ‘but everything looks normal.’

Whew. This was a relief. One – I hadn’t imagined the problem. Two – it wasn’t cancer.


And now I can finally enjoy how much better my body feels. Wednesday afternoon I ran up the stairs at work, and only realized half way through that I was RUNNING. My face has regained colour (blood), and my energy is picking up. True, my finger nails are still dying, but significant progress has been made in all areas.

There’s so much to look forward to now; the next six months will be wonderful. Hard in some ways because we’ll leave our home, but amazing in others (travelling, spa-going, resting, hanging with husband, graduation, Zsolt turns THIRTY).  I’m finally free to enjoy, boob bumps and all.

So there you have it! I admire women who get past the fear of reoccurrence. It’s something that I need to learn. But at least until my next scan I have this release. It feels really good, amazingly good, and I’m thankful.

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