I had Naomi with me this time. She was the chosen one for the day! The appointment was in the London Breast Institute – which Naomi had decided we would call the Breastitute going forward. We’d spent the waiting time analysing the artistic photos on the wall, getting excited over the free cookies and hot drinks, and generally laughing. It was a good distraction to my 50/50 chance of not having cancer. By the time Katy had called me in to see her, I was in a relatively good mood, and walked into her office solo.
When I entered the room, I saw two other people in there with Katy, and quickly decided I would need Naomi in there with me. I wasn’t about to be sitting on my own, and be ambushed with information by myself. We sat down, and Katy began to draw two breasts on a piece of paper. The information shared went like this:
- I had a 5 cm calcification in my left breast – we knew this
- Katy had worked in the field long enough to know this was needing further examination
- Her suspicions were that this was a case of DCIS – Ductal Carcinoma in Situ
- DCIS is the occurrence of cancer cells within the breast ducts – a precancer
- I would likely need some kind of surgery
- The MRI and mammogram biopsy would be able to confirm things further
So, is this still a question of whether it is or isn’t cancer? “It is a cancer!”
When you’re told you have cancer, you don’t really think about the details; about what stage or grade it is. You just focus on the word. The connotations of that word.
I think at that point, I just went into shock, and switched into autopilot mode. I was the nodding dog at the back of the car again. All I could do was follow instructions, and to not Google or read anything on cancer forums. Fast forward 2 hours, and a ton of info booklets in hand, I decided all I wanted to do was eat something and get a drink!
I never said anything at the time, but I had actually gone into the appointment thinking there was a high chance this was breast cancer. Katy had mentally prepared me for it when I last saw her. “Found something worrying” was what she had said. I had just decided to not dwell on it too much. To go into ostrich mode and stick my head in the sand.
What did she say again? Was it for just the left breast or the right too?
I interrogated Naomi on the appointment. Like a sieve, I’d already forgotten half the information. She relayed the conversation back to me, then decided the best solution to the news was to spend £40 on a bottle of wine. It would solve all our problems!
It turned out that the wine wasn’t that great, but a bottle of prosecco was. She let me make calls when I needed privacy. She came out with random things to make me laugh. She let me cry. I knew right then and there she was the right person to have with me!
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