That weekend, we chilled out. We had admin stuff to do eg. go through our budget, book our yearly ferry day trip to France at the end of November…. also prepare for my interview on the Tuesday… same afternoon as the results!
It was sunny though, so we were able to make good use of our lovely new patio:-). That evening we were treated to a meal out with friends. We were chauffeur driven by them too, so we felt very spoilt, it was a lovely evening and lovely spending time with them. I caught them up on what had been happening with us too, including the biopsy, which I was still conscious of.
The day before the results, in my Bible reading time, I was drawn to reading the next part in a study on one of the fruits of the Spirit – peace. The fourth study was focusing on Psalm 91 in reference to the story of some missionaries who were killed by Auca Indians in 1956. This interested me, as I was (and am still working my way through!) a book about the event.
The Psalm is, ironically, all about God’s promise to protect those who trust in Him and feeling safe in God’s care.
In the Friday morning prayer meeting, we looked at Psalm 84, which is one of my favourites and one which, I seem to have been drawn back to several times since that Friday, especially vs 4-7:
Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you (in every circumstance, including breast cancer). Selah
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage (to carry me through this to whatever plans He has for me). As they pass through the Valley of Baca (place of weeping and sorrow, dessert), they make it a place of springs (hope) ; the autumn rains also cover it with pools (God is there, right behind, reinforcements a million fold!). They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion (His strength CARRIES us THROUGH our situations/ circumstances).
That evening we went to friends for dinner, which was really fab. We had honest conversations about where they and we were at and we prayed together, on reflection along the lines of the vs in the Psalm in some ways! We also had a rather delicious vanilla cheesecake 🙂
On the Thursday, I was still feeling a bit sore, but driving was easier and pushing open heavy doors at work was fine too.
That evening we went to Encounter. This is like a freestyle church meeting, with people contributing as they feel lead, in terms of prayers, scriptures, pictures, songs.
It was really fab, because lots of stuff came out about how extravagant God’s love is for us! Also how we need to let go of things that may be holding us back and just dive in (waterfall picture and another ‘easy-open’ bag of M&Ms Vs difficult to open bag of fruit pastels)!
One picture that has since spoken to me is a simple picture that sometimes it’s not until the last piece is slotted in, then, wow! You can see the whole picture. Looking back on that, in my circumstance, it’s difficult to see much good in it sometimes, but I know and can trust that there will be a wow moment – and good things to look back on, or that will come out of this.
Wednesday came and yes, I’d put on 2lbs! Oops! Oh well at least I knew why! I got very stressed about sorting out the money how the new leader wanted it and knew I’d done it wrong. Part of me was thinking whether now would be a good time to stop being a clerk. I’m not great with numbers, but came into the membership role purely because no one else wanted to do it!
I was very tired today also, but managed to get through. We had a big meeting at work about what the trust was doing and wanting to move into, but there was a fair amount of cynicism in the air as many thought the government and therefore Trust ideas were back to how things were years ago. Anyway people seemed more concerned about weekend working and change of hours. I’d rather not think too much about it and see what happens, for now, at least.
The following day, I was a bit sore, so was careful how I dressed, remembering ‘weaker arm first’, which meant putting my work tunic on a different way to usual, which was interesting. I never realised I put my right arm in first usually, so it felt funny. I guess the patients I’ve told that too have felt the same way – works better, but feels funny!
Driving to work was a bit painful too, changing gear I expected some discomfort, but even stretching to reach the indicator was a little painful too. Thanks to the lovely soothing ice packs I had used the night before, I had no bruising to show for it though.
At work, I was busy, but tried to make sure that any manual handling (patients or equipment) I did was with my right arm, at least predominantly. A couple of times this was hard to do though.
At lunch time, it was someone’s leaving do, so we had yummy chilli from a slow cooker someone had brought in. I’d forgotten all about it, so had to go out and buy some tortillas and bread as my previously promised contribution. It was nice being outside and breathing in the fresh air. I felt at peace even though I was tired and busy.
That evening, I’d forgotten we said we’d go to an FGBMFI meeting, which included dinner! Two big meals in one day! Oh well, I would have to face the inevitability of putting on weight at Weight Watchers the following day… not the best first impression to the new temporary leader of her clerk!
The meeting was really good and was glad I went, even though was stuffed with the 3 course turkey dinner! The music was provided by a young band and they did a funky modern rendition of ‘Be thou my Vision’, one of my favourite songs…. but also one I’ve always thought I’d love to have at my funeral!
The talk was an interesting testimony about how God has sustained and provided for him and his wife amazingly as well as photos and stories of miraculous healings. He prayed for people to be healed during the talk and afterwards too and people were healed!
I was too nervous to go up and ask I believed what I’d been told so far, I didn’t need healing. So, I prayed with his wife that the results would be ok.
Back at the breast clinic, feeling a bit sore, we watched some more of the amazing paraolympics before being called into the consulting room again to wait for the Consultant.
Meanwhile we suddenly remembered that my husband was hosting the mens discipleship group at ours that night at 8pm and it was about 7:45! As we thought we would be finished soon and short notice, we decided to go ahead with it, so texted a friend to arrive earlier and explain to people we’d be there as soon as we could. I was imagining a relaxed evening with a take away earlier, but, it wasn’t to be. We prayed about it and it felt fine though.
When they came in, the Consultant and the nurse with him almost apologised for the ultrasound doctor for being so thorough and taking a biopsy of my lymph node (in my armpit) As well as my breast. Again they reassured us and said it was probably a Fibro Adenoma, so not to worry but the results would be back in a week, so the following Tuesday as it was late Monday.
So, finally, we got home about 8:10pm and about 3 guys from church were waiting for us. We apologised, then let them in, but they were fine. We didn’t say much apart from that my hospital appointment had taken longer than we’d thought.
Whilst my husband went into the lounge with them, I put the kettle on and grabbed the ice pack and some fish fingers from the freezer. Whilst my husband prepared the drinks, I prepared us our simple dinner – fish fingers, baked beans and home made chips (potato cut very small and put in the oven with oil and garlic. Bit of a challenge with an ice pack under your left armpit, but I praise God that I’m dominantly right handed!
I phoned my Mum to tell her what happened today and then we generally chatted.
Crazily I did the ironing later! I swopped with the other ice pack when the first one had warmed up.
That night, me and my husband swopped sides so I could sleep on my right, but it still would’ve been easier if I could’ve taken my left arm off as even lying on my right, I didn’t know where to put it to prevent any pressure on my breast/ armpit!
I again had to strip off my top half and put a huge gown on. My husband came with me, but had to wait in the waiting area this time, where he chatted to someone he knew who worked there.
I laid on a plinth then a young, glamorous, (I thought Italian, but turned out to be Greek) lady doctor came in. She explained what was happening then examined me, then put gel stuff on me before putting the ultrasound probe thing on me. She was prodding me around with it quite a bit. She said she had to do this as I have dense breast tissue, I found out later that’s probably due to me being relatively young (35).
Anyway, I coked my head around to my right to see the screen and could see a definite round thing, that she then sort of outlined around the area on the screen and must’ve sort of frozen it to keep a picture of it.
She then moved the probe around my armpit area (had my arm up and hand behind my head). She said she was concerned that one of my lymph nodes was enlarged, so she asked me for my consent to biopsy that one too, which I agreed to.
She must’ve put some kind of local anaesthetic gel on, then using the ultrasound as a guide, biopsied my breast first, which was uncomfortable, especially as she had to push me around a bit more too! But fine. The nurse that was assisting held a cotton pad on to stop the bleeding, then later dressed it.
The doctor biopsied my armpit next then …. ouch! I was wincing and had to pray hard to be able to fight back the tears! And she had to push around a bit with the ultrasound thing too!
Anyway, it was eventually over, approx 20mins in total, but felt like longer! I was advised by the nurse to put an ice pack in that area when I got home.
Next, was going back to the breast clinic and waiting again to see the Consultant.
The Monday, the day of the breast clinic appointment arrived. We’d been off work for 2weeks and were back at work. It felt like a dry and barren land after the time we’d had of looking to God for help with parenting the children (we usually have them every other weekend!) and then intensive amazing ‘training’ at Together at North! Back to a place full of gossip, swearing, blasphemy, sexual talk, politics and rumours! My head was spinning with all that, as well as getting back to work routines… and anxiety about the breast clinic appointment at 5:15pm.
We watched some of the amazing paraolympics on TV in the waiting area, before going in to see the consulting room with my husband, where I was told to strip my top half off and put a huge hospital gown on, that I then clutched closely around me.
The Consultant came in, had a chat re: any history of cancers – breast cancer too distant (not immediate family) and other cancers not relevant, which was surprising. Then he examined both my breasts, found the lump and confirmed it was probably a Fibro Adenoma, but, as I’m over 25yrs, I need to go over and have an ultrasound and biopsy. So, over we went.
At this point I probably still wasn’t worried particularly. We were busy with the children and went away to a Christian conference/ camping weekend away over the bank holiday, then stayed with some of my husband’s family I’d never met and who he hadn’t seen for about 15years. They were really lovely though and staying with them was a real blessing and relaxed.
Together at North conference was really amazing too and we all enjoyed it. I particularly enjoyed Jeremy Simpkins talking about how to handle our weakness and vulnerability, that God always provides the strength we need and is sovereign in every situation… little did I know that however touching and powerful that message was for me at the time, just how relevant it would become and I would be faced with a choice of whether I would live in that truth less than 2weeks later.
The GP had said the GP she recommended worked part time, so, my husband and I decided to book in approx 6weeks later, during the Summer holidays when we had my husband’s children to stay and time off before we went away together, then I could just pop along. Meanwhile, there’d been a couple of nights when I couldn’t sleep on my left side (my usual side, facing my husband), so we swopped sides. I’d also had some stinging pain in my nipples, particularly the left one. This worried me a little, I must admit. I’ve had stinging in my nipples before, but usually just the one and usually just before my period, but not like that before. I quietly mentioned it briefly to a couple of friends, to pray it would be ok. Anyway, the time came when I popped along to see the GP… not the recommended one though, she was away and too part time it seemed, but the young one. I explained the situation, so she examined me and confirmed Fibro Adenoma like the first GP. I mentioned, however, the pain and discomfort I’d had. She therefore decided to refer me to the breast clinic, but she said don’t worry about the standard format of the letter and speed of appointment because they treat all referrals as potential cancers so the process is fast. I told her I would be away though over the bank holiday weekend coming up, so she wrote the dates on the referral.