It’s early Sunday morning, I’m sitting at my Happy Place, which is our balcony at home. I love our view. It’s not a view of the mountains or the sea, it’s an urban view, but it’s our view, so it’s special. We normally get a beautiful sunset, and as we are surrounded by other condo’s, we get quite a view of other people leading their normal lives, which we love to watch over a cuppa. There’s That TV Guy for instance, who watches more telly than The Rock – surely a record! So far we haven’t witnessed anyone getting all Marvin Gaye and getting it on yet, of which I’m thankful for. It’s a place I sit in the morning over my coffee, and in the evening to unwind and relax.
But I won’t be seeing this view for the next week.
I received the results of my hormone receptors last Wednesday. One thing I can say for me, I sure ain’t taking the boring way out of here. (First off, I realise I may be not using the medical terms correctly, and may get some things wrong but I’m just writing how I’d speak so for those medical people out there, bear with me).
My cancer is ER/PR+ and HER2+. The first one is oestrogen dominant, and the other one – actually, just google it. All I know is, the first one is normally treated with tamoxifen, and the latter HER2+ is also known as one of the aggressive types of cancer, thus will need chemotherapy and Herceptin to treat it. So I gotta go for chemo.
Also, turns out that my 5mm tumour, I like to call him Dick – naturally a male, as no woman would EVER do this to each other right sistas? Back to Dick. So Dick, had a cold. Poor Dick. Instead of grabbing a hanky and sneezing into it, Dick had a massive sneeze and spluttered his little cancerous snot all over my breast. How rude. So the clever doctors also discovered that my tumour isn’t just the 5mm Dick. No, there are tiny, minuscule, little bits of cancer kinda scattered in my right breast. A bit like when your toddler grabs the sprinkles when trying to help decorate the cake, and instead of landing on the cake it annoyingly goes all over the place.
So, there we have it. Oh one sec. How do we deal with Dick’s little remnants? After all, in the last surgery, Dick was excised. Dick’s spending the rest of his life in a little bottle of formaldehyde. Ah, there’s only one way. Mastectomy.
That word may leave many people cold. But while I wasn’t quite punching the air shouting YES!, I was very relieved. After all, that’s always been my wish. Get rid of the bugger. My right boob is trying to kill me so let’s eliminate it.
But I wasn’t happy with that. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly wanted to have the mastectomy. But I kept looking at my right breasts’ twin, Leftie. What was Leftie doing? Was it secretly plotting to kill me too? Was it lying in wait, laughing it’s evil laugh saying “you may have gotten rid of Rightie, it was weak, it showed it’s flaws, but I, Never. For I am Leftie! I will prevail! I will get you in the end!”. Statistics are everything in the medical world. Statistically, if I had cancer in my right breast, according to cancer.net, then I have a 1-2% risk PER YEAR of developing breast cancer in the other one. Do the math.
But, what about genetics? I had my genes tested and the results in February indicated that yes, I had an abnormality in the BRCA2 gene, but that particular abnormality had not been proven to cause breast cancer. Yet. Maybe I’m Patient Zero.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me lay down some hard facts.
One – I have a family history of breast cancer. My mother died of breast cancer at the young age of 38, and her sister also had breast cancer, but lived till her 80s.
Two – I have an abnormal BRCA2 gene, that in 5, 10, 20 years may finally be proven to cause breast cancer.
Three – I already have breast cancer.
I conclude, that I am a candidate for also getting a mastectomy in my “so called” healthy left breast. And lucky for me, 3 oncologists agreed with me. Leftie – you’re OUT! Fired! Get outta here! This time, I DID punch my arms in the air when Dr H agreed that this would be the best procedure for me. A great weight was lifted off my shoulders. Or as my sister, Sky, said…. “a great weight has been lifted off your chest too!”. Clever togs. To which my reply was “well… not THAT much of a weight….”. One must maintain one’s humour when facing huge crisis and adversity in one’s life.
So folks, there you have it. Tomorrow, Monday 16th November 2015, I am going into surgery for the 3rd time, and will be getting a bilateral mastectomy. Today I need to spend the day with Leftie and Rightie. I feel like I need to just walk round topless showing them what they will no longer be a part of, but I’d rather not risk an arrest. They’ve done their job, they’ve fed both my girls, but are they a functional part of my life? Do they transport me somewhere? Can they make me a cuppa tea? Are they essential to my existence? No. No they’re not. They’ve not even gotten me free drinks in a bar seeing as they are on the wrong side of Cup Size’s that do indeed cause men to buy drinks for them. They are tiny killers.
Oh did I mention that I was going to get breast reconstruction too? Yep. More on my new boobs later on.