UPDATES 18/11/19 (original post below)
Before the nurse could do the pre-mammogram physical I blurted out
I had to say it twice, nerves ruined the first shouty mumble. To my surprise, she didn’t minimise my request. Turns out I’m high risk enough to warrant a referral to talk boob whipping off. Success! In a way.
In the pre-mammogram physical they did find a wee lump. My heart stopped. The nurse reassured me, saying I might just be a lumpy cow (she didn’t say it quite like that) but also said I’d need further investigation – an ultrasound after my mammogram. Funnily, I didn’t cry or panic, I was a big girl (and waited till I got home).
Beyond this they suggested the fasting diet. I started last night. (For those of you wondering why they’d recommend what seems a bit extreme click HERE.) Anyway this morning, during my inner grumbling monologue about giving up milk, they phoned to say the my mammogram has picked up “something” more. Gutted.
I’m proper gutted.
An “undefined” something or other has been found “deeper” below the lump found in the physical. I need an extra 3D mammogram and ultrasound on the Undefined something, who I’ve now decided to name Britney the Boob Shadow. I’m waiting on the second phone call with my date and time as we speak. My week’s plans messed up (annoying for an autistic.)
Shall I be very honest with you? I’m swinging between terror and feeling very lucky. We have an NHS so all these investigations are free. What a wonderful part of UK culture, may we never lose it, may we all feel proud of it. Yet in the next breath I’m consumed by – OH FUCK – I’ve to sort out my lumpiness.
I’m also extra lucky. Today I touched base with my new Buddhist teacher and this adventure into the world of Britney will be a good time to explore wider philosophical realities and possibilities. At least maybe, possibly, perhaps. Who knows? Currently, I’m drinking gallons of turmeric tea and reading “Be Not Afraid – overcoming the fear of death” By Johann Christoph Arnold.
It’s been an odd morning.
Three (maybe four) years ago, the lovely staff at the Nightingale Centre for Genetic Rummagings in Boobs told me I probably had a 1 in 3 chance of breast cancer. (gotta love them genes.) Since then I’ve been having routine mammograms – and I’m back this week for another, plus THE conversation about a double mastectomy.
“When you reach forty, we can talk about mastectomies and whether that’s right for you” said the really nice nurse when I badgered her about whipping ‘em off and rebuilding me like I’m some kind of Robocop – Roboboob. “You have to consider it carefully” she added, as I pretended to fire bullets from my nipples. PeW PeW!
Since then, I’ve considered it. C A R E F U L L Y.
Yet all I keep thinking is – what do I need boobs for? Yeah, they’re nice. They make a really great slapping sound when I’m trampolining, but I can replicate that clapping my hands. Are fun sounds worth it if one day they blow up in my face? I mean, I have a fantastic daughter and I want to wear a big lesbian-flag-coloured hat for her big massive lesbian wedding. (It’s going to be such a big hat) and I’ve also a brilliant twin who I really want to ANNOY for many, many, many years to come. Plus think of all my enemies – if I don’t outlive them I WILL BE SUCH AN ANGRY GHOST!
The Buddhist bit of me that says “treat it as an exercise in attachment” or rather non-attachment. But – wow – what a sad goodbye it’ll be. (remember to insert photo montage of all the great times me and my boobs have had over the years) And as an autistic, I worry what the recovery time will be, as it’ll probably take me longer to process the physical experience. Can I really afford that time away from work? Will the anaesthetic work? Will the sensory experience of scars be something I can manage? If they can rebuild me, should they? What will that feel like inside? SO MANY QUESTIONS!!!
So, I’m asking autistic women out there, who have gone through this to help me out. What was your experience? Did you get used to it? Is there anything I should consider that I’m not? Do you regret it? Was it just positive all the way? I’d be extremely grateful if you’d get in touch and let me know.
Ta in advance!