Having been apprehensive for a few days about my visit to the Breast Clinic, when the actual day arrived I didnt actually feel that nervous, my mum had agreed to come with me, trying to find the place proved more of a challenge than we had anticipated, so after a few wrong turns we eventually got there. Parking costs were extortionate which does annoy me, it wasnt as if I chose to go there and if the money actually went to the hospitals I wouldnt mind so much, but it doesnt, it goes to a private parking firm. Grrrrr!
After checking in at reception and making our way to the breast clinic waiting room, it was a case of looking around the room and noticing that the average age of women waiting to be seen had to be around mid sixties, I know breast cancer is more common in that age group but it was a slight sense of relief to see some younger women start coming in and sitting down as well. I had massive admiration for the ones who came in on their own, obviously I dont know what stages they were at, but I know for me, having someone to talk to whilst waiting around and more importantly someone to listen to what I am being told about whats happening is a massive support to me. In moments like these, I’m afraid it goes in one ear and out the other!
Luckily for mum & I they had a big tv on the wall showing the olympics, so we both became engrossed in watching that, after a while I was called in by the nurse, I went in on my own for this as it felt right. I was shown to a room by the nurse who handed me a gown and asked me to strip to the waist and the Doctor would be in shortly. Once I had stipped off my top etc, I did feel like a bit of a lemon as wasnt sure where I was supposed to go, should I sit, stand, sit on the bed? I think I remained standing 🙂
The Doctor and nurse came back in and the Doctor introduced himself, he asked me to lie on the couch and then said that my referral stated that the lump was the size of a golf ball, that shocked me, as I didnt think it was that big and a momentary moment of panic went across my mind, thinking shit is it that big then it was have they got the wrong notes!
The Doctor explained that he was going to feel my breasts and then would use the ultra sound tool for more information, I have to say that having a man touching my breasts felt slightly odd, as its been a long time since that happened lol (I’m very happily gay for those who dont know lol). He found the lump and made the usual hmmmms and other noises as he poked and prodded. He poked around in my armpits checking for lymph mode lumps and then examined my back and made a comment about my tattoo lol.
Then out came the ultra sound thing, (sorry I dont know the technical terms!) I have to admit I was fascinated by it, I watched the screen as he moved around my breast and suddenly there it was, a round lump with what seemed like a hollow centre. He measured it at 2cm x 3cm so not as big as a golf ball thank god!
After this, he said I would need to go for my mammogram, then I would need to come back for a needle biopsy so that they could get a sample as going from the ultra sound he couldnt get a clear indication as to what it was.
So off I trot to the downstairs area, mum comes with me and we wait about 10 mins then I am called in. Once again off comes the top and bra, and I am told to stand in front of this contraption that looks a bit intimidating, where do you stand, where do you put your arms lol!
The nurse comes over and positions me, she sweeps my boob with her arm into place (heaven forbid she should touch it with her hands lol!) and then she manoevers me into position. Not a comfortable stance I must admit. Then she squishes my boob with the plastic tray thing and yup its uncomfortable, not painful but not pleasant. Just as you think “OK thats enough” she tightens it a bit more….. Now I have to stand there in this awkward position while the machine does its thing…. this happens on both breasts, so both get a right royal squishing! Then I am told she needs to do from the other angle, the machine is then tilted into another position and I am once again manoevered into position and if I thought the last position was uncomfortable, this was even worse! I was tilting at an angle, hanging on for grim death as my boob got squished sideways! This happened for the other one and then that was it, that bit was over! Phew!
I then made my way back upstairs with Mum and sat back down in the waiting room, we had quite a long wait this time, so Mum had to go and put some more money in for another car parking ticket as apparantly they are pretty hot at catching people who have only just gone over the time limit… ( stingey bar stewards!!!)
After about 45 mins I was called in and as I knew this was the last proceedure of the day I asked Mum to come with me, so that she could listen to what they said as I knew I wouldnt take it in. So she came in too and sat at the end of the room.
Shortly after the Doctor appeared and started making jokes trying to lighten the mood, I suspect my face showed I was a bit nervous lol! He turned round to get something and jumped as he hadnt seen my mum sat in the corner, that made me chuckle 🙂
He explained that the ultrasound and mammogram was inconclusive so would need to do the biopsy by taking a small section out of the lump with a needle. He said he would use the ultrasound to direct the needle to the correct place, so I turned my head so I could watch this as they gave me a local anaesthetic to numb my boob. That went ok and before long I felt a pushing sensation going into my boob which was ok, I was fascinated with the needle surging through my breast tissue and then it went into the lump. It almost felt like watching a sperm enter the egg lol (I know a bit odd, but then again I am a bit odd!)
Then I hear a click and they withdraw the needle, I hear the doctor mention something about old blood but I wasnt paying much attention, he said he needed to do another one, so off he goes again, this time I feel something warm on my arm and wonder what it is. As he withdraws the needle the second time, I look at it this time, there is blood and goo on it.. yuk! I glance down and see there is blood on my side and my arm and on the nurses apron. She smiles and says “dont worry, I’ll clean that up in a bit!”, the Doctor then explains he think there was some old trapped blood in the lump and he may have just released it, and by releasing it, it spurted everywhere, he said it was quite unusual and I replied saying I liked being unusual lol!
He said he needed to do a third biopsy so this time, I was starting to feel a bit sore and could feel the needle pushing through, a dull ache really, once again blood spurted out so when he said he had finished, the nurse had to put a pad over the hole and push down hard. That was uncomfortable! She said that would stop the bleeding and that I was the first person she had ever seen spurt after a needle biopsy! I laughed and she asked me to hold the pad while she cleaned me up and then gave me a wet wipe and said I could do the rest myself and get dressed.
Poor mum had missed all of this excitement! She couldnt see through the Nurse and Doctor so could only hear what was going on, as I wanted to know details lol!
The Doctor finished up and said that he was fairly confident that it was an old injury, such as a bruise that had scarred up and that he didnt think it would be cancer, but he couldnt rule it out and to wait for the tests but not to worry 🙂
I felt happy then, I was convinced it was an old injury as I had a recollection of walking into something in that area and it made sense, how it had appeared quickly and the blood spurts etc. I was told I would get my results in two weeks time, so an appointment was made for the 24th August. Before I left I had to see the Breast Cancer Nurse, she was lovely, made me laugh, gave me some leaflets on breast cancer and the needle biopsy and what to expect, (some bruising and soreness) and then said I could go.
On the way home, my boob felt very tender, going over the bumps in Gloucestershires finest highways was not pleasant, so I had to hold the seat belt away from my boob. I went back to mums, feeling fairly happy about things, made the relevent phone calls and went home for a bite to eat.
I was meant to be going away with work that night, I had a meeting in Northumberland the next day, luckily a colleague was going too, so we had agreed to drive up together, I was very relieved as the thought of driving straight away didnt feel too nice. I text Tanya (my colleague) to find out what time she wanted to leave, she said she would pick me up and then we would do the 5 hr journey up to Northumberland! Oh great joy!!