4 weeks ago I came home, took my bra off (who DOESN’T do this?) and went to the loo. A normal after work ritual.
I always check my boobs but that night I had an itch to the left of my left breast where my bra had been and I felt a large swollen lump. At first I thought it was where I had taken my bra off which had been a little tight by the end of the day.
My first instinct was to check the right hand side of my body in the same place and I couldn’t feel the same lump there.
It didn’t feel like a hard ball, it didn’t feel smooth, it sort of felt like an orange or satsuma.
I went to the mirror and checked it out, to see if it was visible. It was.
I felt a bit sick but thought it would probably be nothing. I ran downstairs and asked Claire if she could see a difference. At first she couldn’t see anything but when I moved my arm across my body she could clearly see the lump. She could feel it too.
I decided to sleep on it but if it was still there in the morning I would immediately book an appointment to go to the GP that day.
In the morning I woke up and although it didn’t feel as big it was still there. It doesn’t move, it feels attached, stuck in one place. I booked the appointment for that morning.
I went to the doctors, was examined, weighed and asked if I had considered weight loss surgery (I mean, come on!) and I was given antibiotics initially, mainly because I said it hurt (which it does when you prod it). I think they were worried it might be an infection. I was asked to come back in two weeks but the only appointment was in 8 days. I booked it. Surely I would see a difference?
By the appointment on the Friday I still had the lump. The antibiotics had not worked.
I went to see another GP in the practice who said that the size of it was his only concern. Normally they would say it was just a Lipoma (a fatty fibrous lump) but the size concerned him so he sent me for an urgent Ultrasound. He measured it at around 5 inches. He confirmed it was not in my breast but more to the side and towards the pleural cavity.
I had a call a couple of days after inviting me to the Ultrasound on the following Friday. This was a relief. I felt that this would clear all of it up and it would be the end of it.
The following Friday I went to the Ultrasound appointment. On arrival I was given a gown to ‘cover my decency’ and I replied that it would take more than a gown to make me decent to two deadpan faces. (HEY, IT WAS HILARIOUS!)
As the radiologist did the ultrasound I joked once again asking if there were teeth in there or fingernails as it could be a missing twin… again….NOTHING (come on guys, I thought it was really funny!).
He mentioned it was ‘attached’ and ‘too deep’ to be a Lipoma, fatty lump. He confirmed that he wasn’t sure and that further tests would be expected to see it properly. The Ultrasound really wasn’t able to make a clear picture.
I wasn’t worried. I could see it wasn’t one solid lump. Like lots of little things clumped together really – a bit like it feels.
In my head I was still ok but the following Tuesday I was called by my doctor with my results and asked to come in.
Things you need to know about me:
- I don’t get overly emotional and I am not really a cryer
- I am not a worrier
- I can compartmentalise logic and the unknown quite easily
- I don’t crumble from bad news
However, I had a wave of fear but thought maybe they just wanted to reaffirm my need for additional scans.
At 5.40 that evening I had my appointment. I had been working all day so I was distracted.
The doctor sat me down and said that the test was abnormal. I knew this. He said they needed to do more scans. I knew this too. He then said that they had said it could be a Sarcoma. I didn’t know this. I asked what it was. He said that Sarcomas are a Cancer. I didn’t know this.
I was ok when he was telling me because in my head I decided that he was only telling me the worst case scenario and it’s more than likely NOT Cancer. I mean how can it be? I feel ok. I am not in pain or feel sick. I put that to him. And he replied that that can be the case. Apparently Sarcoma can just grow. Anywhere. And you only notice when you notice.
He told me he has urgently requested the scan and I will be in within 2 weeks.
I replied that at least then I will know it’s NOT Cancer. Because as I left that office and that GP surgery I was in complete denial about it possibly being cancer.
However, when I got home it festered. It has festered so much.
The next day I woke up and I was upset (another stage of grief?). I kept spontaneously crying. I was meant to be in a meeting in Manchester that day and I was getting ready but I couldn’t stop crying.
As I said before, I don’t cry often.
However I felt scared. Suddenly I was scared because it is the unknown.
I was going to wait till I had my results to share this story but I feel like I need to share it now.
I just kept thinking that this is really terrifying too, that MANY MANY people who have Cancer and who do not but went because of a lump or another issue have been through this too.
All of a sudden I was one of them. I felt such a different empathy.
When I heard the words, when I felt the things the next morning and how I feel now I can only assume every person has done this that has been in this position.
The things that scare me the most at this point if it turns out to be cancer:
- How long was it there that I didn’t know about?
- What if it’s terminal?
- Will I be only about the cancer?
- How will I support my family?
- What will Claire do?
- How do we fix it?
- Can we fix it?
On top of all this I have some really rubbish family stuff going on, how will I cope? How will they? Will they?
This blog post is either the beginning of a difficult and long story or it’s the beginning of the shortest horror story of all time.
I do hope it’s the latter.
I know me, I know I will challenge whatever happens. I know it will be a fight I will really fight. I have a lot of strength. I have a great support network. I know I can do it.
But till I know I don’t know how much effort I need to put in to fight.
I will keep up the blog posts because if this raises awareness at all and it helps one person I will be happy.
In the meantime I will leave the link to Sarcoma UK – the national charity for Sarcoma Awareness. Please check it out. It’s not something I had heard of so it’s important to highlight it.
Micaela Levachyov says
Thanks for sharing your story, it takes a lot of bravery to talk about your experience.
Kacie Morgan says
OMG this is terrifying. So sorry to hear you are going through this
Sarah Bailey says
I am sending you so many positive thoughts, I cannot even imagine how you and your family must be feeling the unknown the fear everything. Thank you for sharing your journey.
I am hoping and praying for your good health x
Margaret forsyth says
Praying you are allright , just keep those positive thoughts . Thank you for sharing your journey
I’m holding you in my thoughts and sending you all the good juju I can muster. xx
Thank you Leah my lovely x
Super sorry to hear the news about the lump. However, the way you are dealing with this is amazing. Sending best wishes xx
((hugs)) I know exactly just how scared you are right now. I had a similar experience over this last year, but my rapidly growing lump was in the fleshy part of my cheek. It turned out to be a fibrous solitary tumour, two in a million chance of getting it. Stay strong and try to live in the now – right NOW everything is ok. I played a lot of video games (Assassin’s Creed) to distract myself from worry too. It’ll all be ok. You’ll be ok. You’re in good hands, but it is scary as heck.
My story is similar in that I went in for a routine lipoma excision. When the pathology came back it read Pleomorphic sarcoma….now I nervously and anxiously await the next steps. I have an oncologist appt at Mayo in a week. I’m scared and have experienced every emotion that you mentioned. Awareness is key and paying attention to your body paramount. I will be saying prayers to you and the others that I have come across in my journey with hopes that will will all become survivors to share our stories with others. ❤️
Thanks so much for your comment. Thanks for sharing too, it would be good to keep in touch and see how we’re doing 🙂 x
Becky Jarratt says
I’m so sorry you are going through this. Well done for going straight to the doctors as soon as you noticed. And for being so brave to share your story. I’ll keep you in my thoughts xx
Sending lots of love. I really hope that it turns out NOT to be cancer. I will be checking back. Lots of love.
Lauretta at Home and Horizon says
I’m sorry to hear about the lump. Stay strong and surround yourself with positive people. Wishing you all the best.
Lynne Harper says
Thank you for taking the time to share especially when everything is still so raw emotionally. Wishing you all the best and positive vibes. Much love xx
Deborah Nicholas says
Thank you for sharing your story and stay strong! I really hope you can have the strength to fight this with everything you have!
I always try and lighten the situation in difficult circumstances, hope you get the all clear very soon
Yes – definitely a defense mechanism for me.
You are very brave to share your story lovey. I hope you get your answers soon. stay strong <3
Oh, sweetie. I’m so glad you shared your story. I think it will really help to have all of your blogging friends here to help you on your journey if it does end up being the worse case scenario. However, I am keeping everything, and I mean EVERYTHING crossed that it isn’t. If you ever want someone to chat to you’re more than welcome to drop me a message. Any time, day or night.
Sending big, virtual hugs.
I’m so sorry you’re going through such a worrying time. I’ll be thinking of you and hoping to read a positive update xx
Heather Brown says
Hey bonny lass! Big hugs to you and those you love. Such a rollercoaster of emotions. We’ll be thinking of you.
Amanda Cardall says
Leah – was so shocked to hear your news – keep positive. We have a great friend who has just been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer having had a tumour removed between his small and large intestine. This has all happened in the space of 6 weeks and he will need 10 lots of chemo. It has been a huge shock to us all and the feelings you had on hearing the news are exactly what he went through so I do empathise with how you are feeling. It is amazing how all of this affects those around you – please be strong xxx
Sorry to hear your news. I am keeping everything crossed because I still don’t believe it could be the big C but if it is I will just have to tackle it.