I used to love autumn. I still do, just maybe not in the same way. With the arrival of September and summer days coming to an end, I knew it was time to schedule my annual check up and scans.
I’ve had such a wonderful few months of travel and of being a little more free from this worry that often hangs over me that breast cancer might return.
A couple of weeks ago, I knew that I would have to schedule an appointment. Instead, I took up running 3 times a week, maybe to distract me, to run away from things but it had the opposite effect. I started feeling more wound up and exhausted. Cancer is such a head spin. I found it hard to push away thoughts of doom and gloom, even started to notice some lumps and some pain to my breast. During the run up to my scans felt like I was on hold, with no motivation to make any plans or schedule anything that I could look forward to.
I stopped running and scheduled the appointment. I remember how anxious I felt last year going through the scans again and thought that surely this year it would feel a little easier. I can’t say that it did. The day of the scans arrived and I was a bundle of nerves. I guess my surgeon knows this now and knows how to handle this.
So grateful that Vic came with me and we sat down for a pre-chat, I told her my worries and that I had noticed some areas near the implant that might not seem right. She examined me thoroughly and said that it all felt absolutely normal and that she wouldn’t expect anything bad to come out of the scans.
Next up was the mammogram. I would have preferred to skip this and go for the ultrasound and MRI but she convinced me that all show different things and she wanted to be as thorough as possible. I had forgotten how uncomfortable the mammogram was- ouch! Really? Has technology not moved on from literally squeezing a breast between two x-ray plates to the point of pain?
Next up the ultrasound to check the areas around the implant. The radiologist was a sweet guy I remember from last year and he also remembered me for being anxious. He calmly talked me through what he was looking at on the screen and after checking both side and comparing images with last year, he confirmed that all looked fine.
I immediately saw my surgeon after that who re-confirmed this. What an unbelievable relief! Probably the biggest relief I have ever felt – apart from last year after the scans. It’s an indescribable feeling. Like you’ve been given a gift. We hugged in a big embrace and she asked me to stay positive about the MRI which will take place in 10 days time. I asked her whether it would ever get easier, maybe after 5 years or longer? She didn’t think so. I’m clearly not the first or only patient to be this anxious.
As I walked out and turned my face towards the warm autumn sun, I felt so alive and full of joy, ready to celebrate this little milestone and with optimism that the MRI will work out just fine.