It is my birthday. I celebrated at home in the morning before the children left for school and afterwards, I went for a walk that took nearly two hours. I found a four leaf clover and a white feather which I am convinced bring me luck and they did.
As I waited to see the consultant, my tummy did somersaults. I was finally called in and asked to undress. I knew then. Why would I need to undress if I was just being given results.
The words poured out of the consultants mouth, “your left breast is indeed perfectly okay and as suggested last week, has fat necrosis. Your right breast shows multifocal calcifications with 7cm at the widest point, low to intermediate grade. It is DCIS, ductal carcinoma in situ or Stage 0 cancer but you will need a mastectomy.”
Mark held me and told me how sorry he was. I think he was totally and utterly convinced that everything would be okay. I cried and recalled all those times mum had looked at beautiful underwear and had been unable to buy it; the awful scar she had been left with all those years before and now, it was my fate too.
I asked whether there was any chance of malignancy and told yes, that was a possibility, about a 20% chance following surgery and full histology had been carried out. 7cm seemed quite large to me and the consultant confirmed so and expressed an urgency in my treatment going forward. It was a lot to take in.
We left. I knew then I had to tell the children and my dad and brother, it wouldn’t wait any longer. We told the children after school, we all cried and once again, I was taken back to being eight years old and sitting in front of the fireplace with my dad and brother. We were going to dad’s for a birthday meal and I broke the news to him with my brother there. My brother was visibly upset, I can only describe my dad as heartbroken, he sobbed, it was very, very hard.
Coincidentally, Ben and Mark were going to see a big wrestling match tonight which had been a surprise birthday present for Ben. There were questions asked as to whether I wanted to open my remaining presents, “of course I do, I’ve waited all year for this day and I’m not going to let this spoil it!”
You see, it has been a really lucky day today, someone today was given a terminal diagnosis, one much worse than mine. I hope to have DCIS and I will remain hopeful that I am one of the 80% who following surgery need no further treatment. I know there will be tears, it will be a difficult at times but I will embrace this, my journey, and make it mine.