Who’d have thought it.
Last week was my second annual checkup to make sure that the dreaded boob rot hadn’t got it’s claws into my remaining boobie, and that my bionic boobie wasn’t about to break it’s bonds and threaten to take over the world.
The few days leading up to the appointment always make me anxious. There is a big difference between knowing the consequences of them finding something wrong, and blithely going along the first time around, convinced you are perfectly fine, only to find you are completely buggered.
As I am getting more & more active, I have more ‘ouch’ moments as the surgery still settles down and the bionic boobie integrates with the rest of me. Of course, I fretted and worried about those niggles and twinges before the appointment, worried in case they were a sign of ghastliness. I nearly convinced myself that the remaining boobie looked ‘a bit odd’ until I had a word with myself and just concentrated on waiting for the appointment on Thursday.
I was, of course, massively early.
Just under a year had passed since I had been in the cancer unit at York Hospital, not much had changed, apart from some funky new murals on the walls (sorry to tell you this York PCT, but painting the walls a pretty purple colour really doesn’t make you less worried about your mammogram/histology/chemotherapy/surgery/radiology/hair loss), but it felt the same. A bit forced on the cheeriness side of things, and a bit depressing on the rest. Walking up those stairs as a returnee and not an active patient felt pretty good. Looking in the eyes of the three ladies coming down the stairs as I went up just reminded me of how awful it all is. I sent a little prayer after them to accompany my best ‘it will be OK, hopefully?’ smile.
Miracle of miracles – although I was 30 minutes early, they could see me straight away – so off we went, and I sat in a consulting room on my own again with only half my clothes on for 15 minutes.
When the consultant finally did arrive to do the consulting bit, I had almost convinced myself they had forgotten about me, and wondered what the protocol was for reminding them.
A – poke my head out of the consulting room door and yell?
B – put all my top half clothing back on, retrieve my shoes, go back to the front desk and ask what was going on?
C – risk the potential mental trauma to my fellow cancer centre attendees by risking a quick peek down the corridor without putting my top half clothes on, thereby risking flashing the entire corridor with my one & a half boobies?
D – rip the privacy curtain down and use it as a toga before carrying out any one of the above?
E – get a grip.
You’ll be glad to know I went with E.
And it all went swimmingly – consultation duly done – no changes from last year, and all my niggley aches and pains perfectly normal for a woman with one & a half boobs, a recovering liver that had been poisoned for 6 months, significant steroid induced weight gain and drug induced early menopausal symptoms.
As we are about to move to Lincolnshire they also arranged for me to have my mammogram on the same day to save me a return trip. Which was great. So, I toddled off down the corridor to the next changing room, but thankfully kept all my clothes on for that bit.
The clothes come off when you go in the treatment room. I am now well versed in this and always make sure I have things that slip on and off easily – it is very uncool to be thrashing about with complicated buttons/straps/zips or whathaveyou. So – top half clothes off again and then it is time for the mammogram of the remaining boobie.
Oh lordy. Now I know why it is a year between appointments.
Not only do you have to contort yourself into positions not even Beth Tweddle would find easy, but you also have to hold your breath whilst a nice smilely lady is crushing your boob in a vice. Twice. Apparently it was my fault it hurt as ‘you are a bit too young for this and your boobs aren’t floppy enough’. A backhanded compliment if I ever heard one!!!
And that was that.
Well actually not quite. As I went back to the front desk to make next years appointment, the cancer care nurse came out with something for me. It was a folder of information she thought I might find useful to help with dealing with the night sweats & weight gain that is currently my happy lot.
I’ve got to admit, I didn’t really look at it then – I was on my way to the car park and was running close to going over an hour in the pay and display – I didn’t want to have to take out a bank loan for paying for over an hour, so popped it in my bag and just hustled to the car. I texted TDB to tell him everything had gone well, threw my stuff in the car and headed home.
I grabbed the folder with my handbag and put them on the kitchen table, where I promptly forgot about them for a little while whilst I had a conference call with a client and arranged a booking for one of my trainers.
When I did pick it up to look at it, I did a little jig.
You see, all the way up until this point, the information I had been given has been about living with cancer. Right there, on the front of the folder, in nice big capital letters, it said ‘Moving Forward – a life beyond cancer’ instead.
And that is exactly what I intend to do.
In a few weeks time I will retire this blog – it is time to move forward. I have a plan to make it available in a different format and raise money to help fight this thing, so do keep your eyes peeled for more information on that.
THANK YOU for all your support.