STORIES Breast Cancer Awareness The diagnosis Walking into the Breast clinic with Cat and Julie I imagine us as Charlies Angels going in to tackle the bastard that is a cancer diagnosis. We have all come from work, tailored and dressed in heels, all we are missing is a smoke machine behind us and some fire flares going off by the doors. I feel I’ve waited so long for this appointment that I’m not nervous, I’m just relieved to finally be here getting answers. When we arrive in the room there’s introductions, “This is my friend Julie and my sister Catherine”, English pleasantries follow. Luckily my Mum taught me that when people are having polite conversation its rude to interrupt and say “CUT THE SMALL TALK, WHAT HAVE I GOT IN MY BOOBS!” After what felt like an hour of chit chat (I can now rationalize that this was actually less than 3 minutes) we get down to business. The lumps in my left breast are cysts. Another hour passes (again….2 minutes max) The 2 lumps we found in your right breast are Cancer. I was joking when I told Julie she needed to take minutes but I noticed her sitting with her notepad and pen what a life saver! Everything the Dr said after this was a bit like trying to watch TV when theres roadworks outside, some bits get through but most if it just noise. Thanks to Julie’s note taking I had all the info I needed when we got out. I had the headlines and she had the body of the text. The bits I heard were Invasive Lobular Cancer, BRCA testing, Mastectomy, Chemotherapy. I heard the bit that less than 15% of Breast Cancers are lobular and these are usually in women 45-55. So straight off the bat I felt special! I had decided beforehand that if I needed a single mastectomy I would prefer a double. My initial thoughts were I wanted them to match and wouldn’t want to risk the cancer coming back. Turns out given the type of cancer I have, this would be a good idea. Lobular Cancer is very hard to detect so if it did develop in the other breast I may not be able to detect it. I had so many questions I had prepared that I was going to ask but once conversations started and she wasn’t saying what I had expected I was completely thrown. It’s a bit like when you are preparing for an interview and you rehearse your answer to “what are your weaknesses?” and then the interviewer asks you “If you were a fruit what kind of fruit would you be?” What?? That’s not in the script!! The Doctor hadn’t followed my script so my questions were redundant and I couldn’t think fast enough to come up with new ones! Luckily I was introduced to my Breast Cancer Care nurse who I can contact at any time with questions. I likened her to a midwife for a pregnant woman and as I know, theres no such thing as a silly question with pregnancy so I’ll be adopting that approach with this. I know nothing about Cancer so no question is silly. (Except maybe my sisters question of “will she smell like bacon?” when we are discussing the use of pig skin in my reconstruction haha!) Now prepare the smoke machine, its time for the Charlies Angels to go next door to the Breast Cancer Nurse.