I knew it. I knew what the lump in my right breast was before I had my mammogram. It couldn`t be a cyst because the lump was hard and uneven. 2019 became my breast cancer Christmas and I was only 49 years old.
It was December 8. I came out of the shower and I had just done the recommened self examination of my breasts with soap. But I could not feel anything. How lucky and happy I was. But then….. I was standing and bent foreward to towel my legs and then I saw it. This terrible retraction of the skin. WTF! It could not be true. And then I took a grip and felt a solid large lump. I thought I would faint and my legs started to shiver. My life was over.
Mammogram and ultrasound
After seing my GP I was referred to my local hospital. Every day that passed without any summons from the hospital made me impatient. Do I really have to wait for so long when we suspect cancer? December 19 I gathered courage and phoned the local breast cancer center. The very same day I had my mammogram done and right afterward an ultrasound with biopsies. At that moment I felt nothing because I was exhausted after many nights with no or bad sleep. Nevertheless I wept and wept like a waterfall when I got home. But I had to prepare for Christmas together with my family and my mother-in-law. Being occupied helped me in a way through my breast cancer Christmas 2019.
In the meanwhile
January 2. 2020 my surgeon called me about my biopsy results. No bomb there. The period between January 2 and January 14 was very tough to me. Waiting is the most difficult part. I longed to get the lump out and while I was trying to calm down I filled it with long walks.
I was open to my best friends about my situation but I lost some on the way. But back then, loosing friends when I needed them the most made me utterly diasappointed. I thought I would die and prepared for it. Starting to throw away old papers, magazines and clothes I never used. While I was crying out for help I found help and support in Ilene Kaminsky. She raised me up in a way I can`t describe. Rest in peace dear Ilene❤️
January 14 was the day for blood test, MRI and X-ray of the thorax. January 15 technetium was injected into my nipple and this was maybe the most painful procedures I had to go through.
Lumpectomy with sentinel node
Finally January 16. 2020 rised and this was my day of surgery. A cold winter morning with snow on the ground and a fresh breeze from southeast. I was not afraid of the anesthesia anymore because I had to go through it. I woke up early and walked to the hospital. It is just a 25 min walk and I felt for some fresh air. The intensive care nurses packed me with steroids and painkillers and in the operation theatre I met my colleagues. It was an emotional meeting. I have been assisting the surgeons for mastectomies and lumpectomies for many years. Everything was turned upside down…..
February 4. I met my surgeon again and they told me that they have resected a 40 mm lump and removed 5 lymph nodes. The size of the lump gave me shock. Luckily there were no metastases. My cancer cells were of grade 1 and ER+. February 17 my oncologist put me on Letrozole to kick the estrogen out of the body and zometa twice a year. Both will prevent a recurrence. The oncologist group at my hospital meant that I didn`t need chemo, but it was up to me to decide. This was a tough decision to make. I ended up with radio therapy for five weeks. It was maybe the best decision because of the pandemic. But I had doubts but decided to trust the doctors to find inner peace.
I guess I`ll never will forget these dates and especially the breast cancer Christmas 2019. So emotional…..