The techniques I have learnt in the last 2 or 3 years served me well today.
The lesson I learnt of refocussing my mind away from concerns of the future, how was I going to react, feel, be when I next saw my rapidly deteriorating Mumbo… what would it be like when she went, or even when she was gone? Whatever I imagined in my mind, I learnt from experience, was never how it was in reality. And I was stronger than I ever thought.
The lesson I learnt of training my thoughts back to the current moment when all my head wanted to do was unravel the inconceivable, to concentrate my heart on beating rather than breaking. No matter how much I looked back, I couldn’t change anything to make the course of my life any different. And I found strength from inside, from breathing in the current moment.
My lump made me feel sick when I touched it. It was a little throbbing alien, bouncing away when I squeezed it. I could feel it when I held the Big Man close, the boys tight, reminding me to be grateful, to love life, embrace the future, not fear it.
With one of my closest friends being a breast oncologist, I know the importance of regular checking….. even if I am not consistent or scheduled. Sadly, the only thing, until recently, I felt were my ribs and I would laugh.
And that laugh continued, as the gentle, professional radiographer manipulated and contorted me so we could get my smallness into the mammogram compress, made slightly more uncomfortable by the fact I couldn’t arch my poorly back!
I didn’t laugh so much, however, when the ridiculously oversized needle bounced off my lump and we had to go for re-entry. Or maybe I did… I can’t remember.
Breast cancer is one of the fastest growing cancers in terms of people effected; mainly because the number younger women is on the rise. Wearing pink ribbons and putting hearts on your social media wall is meant to raise awareness. But awareness for what? Just for the fact that it exists? Or awareness that you should check your breasts regularly – not just once a year during Breast Cancer Awareness week? Or awareness that breast cancer can manifest in many different ways and not just a lump – leaking, redness, dimpling, different sizes… the list is quite long? Or awareness that it has been proven that there is an 89% reduction in Breast Cancer for women who eating leafy greens, onions, garlic, berries and drinking green tea daily. That is what we need to educate our friends on, our daughters on.
I am lucky. My amazing, superdoc, superwoman, supermum, superfriend gave me my good news. My lump is here to stay, as hard breast tissue common in women as they age. The pink clear liquid in the comically large syringe to be sent off purely for exclusion purposes.
But in that calm waiting room, with the exceptionally caring nurses, kindly soft-spoken volunteers making cups of tea, others were clearly not so fortunate. And my heart goes out to them tonight and I hope they can breathe through their fear and love the moment they are in, alive, not worrying about what may happen nor torturing themselves about what they could have done differently.
In the meantime, I am going to put a reminder in my phone to check myself more consistently and continue to eat fields of leafy greens, wash it down with green tea and sweeten the aftertaste with some raspberries.