Thursday 27 August 2015

The Lump

At the end of July 2015 Michele and I had booked to go on holiday to Rhodes. We where very excited both of us sick of the daily routine of work and desperate to get away for a bit to relax. 

My left breast felt a little bit tender the week before our holiday. So much so that I did give it a quick feel for anything dodgey. I have to admit before my diagnosis I never really checked my breasts for lumps - not properly anyway. I maybe gave them a little prod once in a while but that was it. Anyway there where no lumps and nothing out of the ordinary. Michele checked too and nothing. I put the tenderness down to it being the week before my period and that maybe I'd just lent on it as I often sleep on my side.

By the time we got to Rhodes it was quite late about 10pm and as the restaurant had closed for the night we enjoyed our complimentary sandwiches and wine and settled down for the evening.
Id just showered and was lying on the bed wearing little clothing due to the heat. I had my left arm up under my head and felt my left breast just below the nipple. Something hard. Something new. This wasn't there a few days ago. This was a definite lump. I sat up shocked and felt it again. I couldn't feel it at all when I was sat or stood up. But when lying down with my left arm up there was a definite lump. About 1-2cm in size. Michele felt the lump too and said it was definitely a lump and I'd need to get it checked when I got back home but let's try not to worry.

I spent the evening of the first night of our holiday obsessively googling breast lumps. There's plenty of facts and figures online. I read 8 out of 10 lumps where not cancerous. 

We where both off work the Monday we came back from Rhodes so I booked an appointment to see my GP. My GP examined me and said there was a lump 1-2cm in size and i would need to go the breast clinic as a precaution. She believed the lump was something called a Fibroadenoma as these are common in girls my age (under 30). My lump also fitted the criteria for a Fibroadenoma as she suggested it was quite movable where as cancerous lumps are often unmovable and stick to the chest wall.

I nervously waited for my visit to the breast clinic with very mixed emotions. At the clinic I was examined by the breast cancer nurse and was pleased when she said 'that feels lovely and benign'. My mum cried with relief! 

I then met my doctor.  Doctor S was nice but very serious. I suppose you can't get too emotional working as a breast cancer doctor. He examined me and suggested the lump was a Fibroadenoma or a cyst but we would have to do and ultrasound and most likely a core biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. I felt nervous but fairly confident that the lump was nothing serious.

I then had an ultrasound. The Dr performing the ultrasound suggested the lump could be a Fibroadenoma but he wasn't sure. At this point he scanned underneath my armpit (I've later found that this is not normal procedure and he scanned my armpit as he had a suspicion it was cancer) He then performed the biopsy. I was given local anesthetic, which stung (a lot) and then proceeded with the biopsy. It felt and sounded like my breast was being stapled to the bed. Not very pleasant at all.

I went back to the examining room and Kath (BC nurse) and Dr S confirmed that they weren't sure whether the lump was benign or cancerous. I pressed them for a little reassurance but they couldn't give me any. 

I left the clinic set for a very worrying couple of weeks awaiting the results.


Monday 24 August 2015

First Post - About Me and My Cancer

They say the first post is always the scariest one to write so here it goes...

About Me

I suppose I should start with a little more about me. My names Kirsty, I'm 27 and as you have probably gathered I have Breast Cancer. 

I currently live in Saltaire, West Yorkshire. Before that I lived in Manchester for 4 years. I'm originally from a little village called Hesketh Bank, which is between Preston and Southport in Lancashire. Yes a Lancashire girl living in Yorkshire! I'll argue that the only good thing in Yorkshire is the M62 back to Lancashire but, honestly, the tea is better!

I studied at the University of Central Lancashire and I have a degree in Retail Management with Buying. I worked as a Buying Assistant in Manchester and I now currently work for Asda Head Office as a Merchandiser. 

For me the most important things in life are my family. I live with my boyfriend Michele, who is the love of my life! xx I'm extremely close to both my parents and  my brother Darren who is the funniest person I know! 

About My Cancer...Here's the Science!

I have Invasive Breast Cancer (Invasive Ductal Carcinoma is its posh scientific name). Invasive means the cancer has already spread from the ducts to the breast tissue and has the ability to spread to other parts of my body. It's currently a Grade 3, which means the cancer cells are 'most changed'.

It's is HER+ so it's tested positive for certain proteins that make the cancer more aggressive. I will be having Herceptin injections after Chemo to try and combat this. 

The Cancer is also ER+ which means oestrogen can make it grow. To stop this I'll be treated with a drug called Tamoxifen, which I'll need to take daily for 5 years.

At the moment I'm just recovering from surgery where I had the tumour removed. I had a Left wide local excision and sentinel node biopsy on the 18th August. I'm going back next Wednesday to get the results. So fingers crossed the tumour is out with a good margin for error and the cancer hasn't spread to my lymph nodes! Then, once my wounds have healed, it's time to start the dreaded Chemotherapy.

So there it is me and the cancer in a nutshell.

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