“Do you have any history in the family?” No.
“When did you feel something?” Last Friday.
“Have you found a lump?” I can feel something firm, but not really a lump.
“Are your nipples inverted?” Erm…I don’t know?!
“When was your last cycle?” Started yesterday.
“Ok…let’s take a look and examine you” *And exhale*
This was how my conversation went with the GP. I rarely go to the GP. Partly because the regular “take some Paracetamol” response was getting a bit tired; but mostly because I never get sick. I brush things off. Just need some rest. A bit of chill. Simple as that.
This time was an exception. A big exception! So I lay there, on the doctor’s bed, waiting for her to examine me. She placed her fingers on the left breast, and felt around. Jeez…her fingers were bloody cold! Does she have poor circulation or something? She pressed a bit here, compared it to the right.
“There’s definitely something there, so I’d like to refer you to get a mammogram.” Ok.
The GP then proceeded to tell me about needing a mammogram; maybe having a scan; a biopsy. She gave me a list of options of where to go; but to be honest I was zoning in and out of what she was saying, and didn’t really understand what she was telling me. I just sat there, nodded my head like one of those dogs at the back of a car, and let her continue.
“Would you like the Princess Grace in Marylebone? Ealing? Hillingdon? Or Charing Cross?” Erm…Charing Cross? Yeah, let’s go for Charing Cross. It’s near my office. Easy.
“Ok, you should get a letter for an appointment in two weeks.” Ok.
“Good that you came in to get it checked.” Yeah…yeah I guess.
“Ok, well good luck”.
And that was it. My first breast examination done. And with the “luck” from my GP, and a two week wait for a referral; I left the surgery and walked home. Fifteen minutes later, in the comfort of my flat…I cried!
You see, the enormity of going into a further examination can never be underestimated. Well for me at least. So many things start to rush through your head. The unknown. What if? It must just be hormonal right? Yep…it’s still hormonal…surely it is…SURELY IT IS! Somehow, in the space of five days, I had gone from sitting at home minding my own business, to getting told I needed to get checked further…you know…to be on the safe side. Good luck! That’s all that sat in my head…those words. GOOD LUCK!
I immediately had to talk to someone, so I texted both my friend and my cousin and sat there waiting for a response…and waited. I realised, I wasn’t one of those millennial types. I came from a generation of “people who talk on the phone”, so I impatiently gave up waiting (for the ten seconds I did), and tried that option too. No response. Left a voicemail. Then waited…and waited some more. And like two double decker buses arriving in succession, the phone calls came.
I sobbed, I spoke, I listened on each call. I’d never had a biopsy before. Do I really need one? You had one before? What for? How many did you have? Is one not enough? These are all the questions that came up on the phone calls.
“It may just be a precaution…just see if you can get the appointment earlier.” I guess.
I quickly realised that a two week wait on the NHS for a mammogram would not cut it. That waiting for two weeks would just drive me insane. That the endless waiting for something like this is what gets on top of you. The worry, and the anxiety.
“Don’t you have private healthcare through work?” Duh…yes I do.
And with that, I wiped away the tears. I emailed the GP, got in touch with Bupa. The next day I spent the morning calling hospitals back and forth. Deciding who I should choose as a consultant, and before I knew it, the two week wait had just been fast tracked.
The following Monday, I’d be seeing a female consultant at Charing Cross Hospital for my first mammogram. For the rest of the week, I would stick my head in the sand. Carry on my day to day, and just ignore it all.
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