As you start to walk out on the way… the way appears

I forgot I’d been for a breast screening appointment! I don’t tend to make a fuss over such matters. If there was something wrong they’re going to call me in. And that’s just what happened. I had a recall. I’d had a recall before. Three years earlier. And after all the shenanigans with my mammogram on the day; I wasn’t’ surprised.

It’s super important at this stage that you don’t panic when you get recalled. It really is just that. A recall.

So off I went. Skipped in almost. A bit of skipping always does you good 😉• I had another mammogram and then was expecting to be told that’s fine off you go. Instead I was called in to a darkened room and found myself staring at what I’m sure the doctor said was a tumour. Say that again…

What I can say at this stage is that the breast unit at Wycombe General Hospital is first class; their tone just right. A biopsy was taken immediately. No time to think. Stapled to the bed as they take the sample from my breast. Grim.

Brilliant nurses talking to me in hushed respectful tones. Surreal. Appointment being made for the result. Mmm this is the real deal. The doctor had told me it was malignant. We just needed to see what we were dealing with from the results of the biopsy. Did I really just come here on my own??

Here’s the thing. There was a tumour in my body that I couldn’t feel. It was picked up in a routine screening. It was checked by three humans after the mammogram. Never knew that. It wasn’t easy to see even then with the way it was positioned. Deep. And hidden. Sometimes in life you have to take the blessings in a different way to how you think they may come.

Sometimes you have to understand that you must lean on a team of complete strangers with gratitude; knowing they have your back. See you next week I said. Got in my car. Gosh. The silence was crushing…

What happens when you are given a cancer diagnosis? You react in a very personal way. One that you can’t predict. I’m quite a chatty Cathy usually. Happy to tackle any topic at any time of day. In reality what happened was that I became silent. Trapped in my own disbelief. I stayed that way for days.

I felt perfectly fine. It may all be a whopping mistake is the conclusion I came to. No point in bothering people. Definitely not bothering the children until I know all of the information. Definitely not bothering anyone that will be too dramatic about it. Definitely no need to panic. Silence.

The week marched on. Working. Children. Pressure building up. Anxiety. I picked up the phone to a very close friend. It was a surreal conversation. One in fact that we never thought we would have. There was plenty of reassurance. Support. Love.

I then told another close friend on a dog walk and then another close friend on another dog walk. They both reacted the same way by stopping in their tracks and looking at me quite shocked. Not by what I had said (although that kind of contributed!) but in the way I was playing it down. Like it was a conversation about something we were having for supper.

Isn’t your mind a magnificent thing? It protects you. But eventually. At some point it all has to spill out. The build up. The pressure. The anxiety. The release. Only when you’ve made yourself vulnerable can you move forward. It’s scary as hell. Opening yourself up. Letting people in. It’s all fear of the unknown. At least now I could move forward with love and support.

Isn’t that what we all need?