I knew my good mood couldn't last forever & I'm not being pessimistic by saying that, it's just that 'behind the scenes', I've had a few worries bubbling away beneath the surface that won't go away & today, they caught up with me & I finally exploded.......in spectacular fashion.
It was gonna happen sooner rather than later & today I felt like I was finally tipped over the edge.
What prompted this, was a culmination of a few different things but, they all kinda hit me at once today & I just couldn't hold onto these feelings any longer. So I went a bit bonkers. I'm ok now though.....sort of.
Firstly, as I mentioned in my last post 'Don't Sweat The Small Stuff', my appointment with my plastic surgeon was cancelled without notice last week. Although I've knowingly delayed my reconstruction in order to move back to Liverpool to be closer to my family, after letting the disappointment of the cancellation 'go over my head', nothing could prepare me for the total devastation of receiving a new appointment through the post this morning. Devastation because I fully expected (& was actually told that) I'd be seeing the consultant within the next fortnight.
No. I won't even be seeing him within the next month. Or the next two months come to that.
My appointment has been booked for 4th January 2012.
Exactly a year to the day that I had the mammogram that kicked off all of this sorry shit in the first place. To say I was upset this morning is the understatement of the year. But I'll come back to this later.
Secondly, I feel like I've waited forever & a day to meet the medical team in Liverpool (in a different hospital), that are taking over my care since I moved here from South Wales in September. My appointment with them is this coming Monday & as always, the anticipation brings with it mixed feelings. I say mixed because on the one hand, it feels kinda reassuring knowing that I'm going to see a medical professional but, on the other hand, it's a big fat reminder that it's because of breast cancer that I'm having to go there in the first place.
Thirdly - & this is the big one - I discovered another lump a little while ago; this time in my left breast (obviously - cos I have no right breast anymore).
Before I found the lump in my right breast way, way back last year, I'd been having quite severe pain in the breast. It was the pain that made me check my breasts for lumps more often than I usually would. I've always said privately that I knew something 'wasn't quite right'. It was like the tenderness that you might experience throughout your monthly cycle (sorry to the men here that might be reading this!) but, it was much more painful & would come & go when it wasn't actually expected - if you know what I mean.
Just before I left Wales, I started to experience a similar pain in my left breast. So, I've been pretty vigilant in self examination & that's when I discovered this new lump.
I spoke to Carol, (my Breast Care Nurse in Wales) about it & she told me to 'keep an eye on it' &, if it didn't go away & I was concerned about it, then I needed to get it seen to......which is what I've done. Kept an eye on it that is; and yes, there's a lump there that hasn't gone away.
I think it's important here to point out to those that may not know, that at different stages of our monthly cycle, lumps & bumps can appear. More often than not, they're just due to the hormonal changes in our body & most of them disappear......this is why we should check our breasts at different stages of our monthly cycle & 'get to know' our breasts so that we know what's 'normal' & what's not. (That's the lecture over with so I'll get back to what I was saying).
Anyway, as soon as I saw my new GP in Liverpool in mid September, I mentioned it but, she knew I had an impending hospital appointment so was reluctant to take any action at that time. I understand this as in, I understand that there are procedures to be followed &, although I haven't met my new medical team yet, I am under their care now. But, because I haven't had the support of my counselling sessions since I've been in Liverpool & because there's a longer waiting period for appointments here, I think the waiting - & the bloody lump - has just freaked me out. And of course, I had a Zoladex injection last Wednesday; true to form, my good mood started slipping yesterday, right on cue.
So today, after getting the letter about my not so soon appointment, I just lost the plot. BIG TIME. Don't get me wrong, I didn't shout & scream at anyone but, I was really, really upset.
I phoned the hospital where I'm due to see the Plastic Surgeon in January - I was so devastated I couldn't speak properly & probably didn't make much sense to be honest - & the lady on the other end of the phone was so lovely to me but basically, 'his clinics are already over booked & he is on annual leave for most of December'.......so, I'll just have to wait.
What is really getting to me about this though, is the fact that the appointment in January is going to be my first consultation with him; I have no clue as to how long his actual waiting list is. Or if indeed, he will be the 'right' surgeon to do my reconstruction. It's important to trust your surgeon; I haven't even met him yet. And I hate waiting - for anything; never mind waiting for something that is really, really important to me.
Next, I rang the Linda McCartney Centre in Liverpool which is where my new Breast Care Nurse is based. Again, I've never met her & up until 5.30pm this evening, I've never even spoken to her on the phone. She was away from the office when I rang at 11.30 this morning but I spoke to one of the other nurses at length. I explained - again somewhat hysterically - that although I've been quite distracted these past 6 weeks cos I've only just moved back here, I do feel that I've been 'forgotten about'......I feel a bit in limbo cos I haven't met my medical team.....after having so much support in Wales, since I got back to Liverpool, I feel like I've pretty much been left to my own devices. Which, after having a cancer diagnosis only this year, was bound to get to me at some point.
Anyway, she listened to me & let me ramble on for about half an hour & then said she'd get my allocated nurse to ring me later in the day.
It hasn't helped that I feel a bit under the weather at the moment, I've had a headache for days, pain in my ears & my throat is sore, my sister is quite ill with a chest infection at the moment & I think I'm coming down with the same thing.
Not to mention the fact that I still have the worrying pain in my back for which I had a chest x-ray last week. And, on top of all of this, my little girl is still adjusting to our new life & I've still got loads to do in the new house. We're getting there but, I feel like I haven't had a break - in any shape or form - for a long time. I've constantly got a 'to do' list & there's always something going on for me.
Anyway, my nurse rang me this evening which, after 45 minutes of me going on with myself again, made me feel so much better. She now knows that I'm concerned about the pain in my back, that I'm anxious about the waiting time for my reconstruction, that I want to continue with counselling sessions & - most importantly - that there's a new lump. On Monday when I get to clinic, at least she'll have the gist of things.....cos I'm exhausted just thinking about all of this crap, never mind having to repeat it all.
Like I said, I've had the lump for about 8 weeks now & it's PROBABLY NOTHING to worry about but, it's doing my head in. I wasn't going to mention it until after my appointment on Monday but, after everything 'coming to a head' today & my strong reaction to the disappointing appointment date, I blurted out the news to my poor mum & dad. They were understandably shocked & upset. I think we ALL thought that - after my very favourable prognosis after my mastectomy, i.e; no spread to the lymph nodes - that I was 'out of the woods'.
Blogging about stuff like this is definitely cathartic for me.
I know that I'm probably (hopefully) just being paranoid again &, that my moods are up & down more than a fiddler's elbow but, 'The Fear' kicked in again this morning & I just couldn't control my feelings. 'Better out than in' is what I usually say & I do feel better for off loading.....I just hate what this uncertainty does to my parents. They've been so, so supportive & have bent over backwards to help me with the move from South Wales & in setting up my new home. I hate that they're going to worry about me now & I'm sorry I told them but, they picked up on my weird mood the minute they came to my house today.....& I hate keeping things from them.
I keep thinking that I've imagined the lump, to the point where I'm getting a bit obsessed with it now; I keep checking it over & over.....thinking & hoping that I've made a mistake & it's not really there.
But it is there.
Anyway, I've now got to try & put it to the back of my mind until a Doctor examines me on Monday. Lately, I've heard of lots of people who are experiencing a recurrence of cancer - some after only just finishing chemotherapy - & this is no doubt adding to my anxiety.
Now that I've 'spoken out' about it though, I do feel a bit better.
I don't want anyone to worry unduly though & I definitely don't want anyone to feel sorry for me either. I really do think that my imagination has just been running riot cos for the past 6 weeks, I haven't had a counsellor to keep all of my fears & anxieties in check.
Yes I'm worried about it. Really worried but, I've got to keep my head together until I know for certain what it is. And of course, I'm aware that by taking anti hormone treatments, my body is still going through a lot of changes.
Thank God Monday is getting closer & closer.
Oh well, hey ho, here we go again! Of course I'll let you know what's happening.
I'm so tired now though, my bed is calling me. Today has been exhausting; physically, emotionally & mentally. So I'll sign off now. Until next time,
nos da peeps.
Love Chez. xx