Massive relief

Mammogram: clear. Ultrasound: clear. Massive relief!

The much anticipated day for scans arrived today and it was an agonising morning of waiting. I have been nicely distracted with Yoga and a trip to Munich earlier this week but when I woke up this morning, the Princess Grace was the absolute last place on earth I wanted to be at.

I saw Doc Hogben around 10.30am and she was upbeat and positive as ever. She had a quick look at both sides and said that she wasn’t worried about anything and that we should just get the tests done asap and send me home with a smile. Whilst this was comforting, coming face-to-face with the mammogram machine brought back dark memories of last year. I looked at it and started to cry. Everything came flooding back to me in those few seconds. The scariness of last year’s ordeal at Lewisham Hospital and everything that followed… all the conversations, the results, surgery, the treatments, the trauma of it all.

The procedure itself was over in less than a minute of course. Then the waiting game began for the ultrasound. A whole 1.5 hours of waiting, of feeling cold, feeling slightly nauseous, sweating, stressing, trying to apply some breathing techniques learned at Yoga. Vic was with me all morning which gave me great comfort and distraction too.

Finally, it was my turn for the ultrasound and the radiologist examined both sides and said that it all looked good. No concerns from his side. Phew! Back in the room with Doc Hogben who confirmed that all was clear. However, due to the incredible density of my breast tissue, she has asked me to have an MRI in two weeks’ time just to be extra cautious. I was hoping not to have any more tests but of course appreciate that it’s best to. I know from friends that in some cases the MRI picked something up while the mammogram didn’t but I will try to stay optimistic. At least for now I can breathe a big sigh of relief!

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Namaste

So the literal translation of this greeting is different with each language but they are all pretty much saying the same thing. In Sanskrit, the word ‘namah’ means bow, ‘as’ means I  and ‘te’ means you, translating into “I bow to you.” Regardless of  language, the word simply invokes a sense of sharing a spiritual connection and creates a sense and feeling of oneness and balance.

And it is this sense of oneness and balance I’ve been seeking and seem to have found recently.

I’ve been going to Vinyasa Yoga classes for the past 10 days for most of those days and the practice has helped me calm my mind, challenge my body and keep me sane.

Autumn is approaching and while it’s my second favourite season after summer, it also now carries a whole host of memories of autumn 2015. Not just memories but the realisation that I’m due to have my first ever scan since last October. In fact, the scan (mammogram) is not due until late October but I’ve decided to bring things forward as I just want to know and move forward. When I last saw my breast surgeon, she said we would do a mammogram and MRI in the autumn. So I booked an appointment to see her next Thursday, 29th September. Why wait until the anniversary in October?

Since early September I’ve been panicked – to say the least – about this scan approaching. It’s a funny things with cancer in that you can look and feel so well but just don’t know what lies beneath. I have no symptoms whatsoever and from doing self-examination, I think my other side is the same as it always was. Yet, there has been this voice in my head that says: what if it’s back, what if they find something, how will you cope? Will you cope? What will the prognosis be? It was during the second week of September that I found myself in a spiral about this and while I was spinning progressively downwards I caught up with a friend who mentioned Yoga to me.

I tried Yoga over the years but always insisted that it ‘wasn’t for me’. With my mind spinning with anxiety, I decided to give it one more go and joined a Vinyasa yoga class in North London. Vinyasa is based on coordination movement with breath to flow from one pose to the next. It’s tough, I won’t lie. I barely managed to hold certain postures in the first class, never mind breathing at the right times. However, I did manage to focus most of the 1.5 hour class on my breath and this in itself did wonders. I walked away feeling calm and at peace. And since that day around 10 days ago, Yoga has become a central part of my day-to-day planning. I even caught myself scheduling meetings around yoga classes.

The more I explore yoga and the more classes I attend, the calmer I feel. I like the fact that the sessions include meditations and I now try and make Yoga part of my everyday routine. Who would have thought?! It’s physically straining and I can feel my body hurting in places I haven’t felt before but I’m feeling stronger in my body and mentally more focused on stillness, on quiet time.

I think I’m hooked! Long may it continue…!

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