Sunday, 11 June 2017

Appointments, appointments, appointments



I said in my last blog that I was going to write about, amongst other things, angels and prayers.  I'm going to do that next time as I'm in danger of making this one too long.  But your blogs ARE too long, I hear you cry.  You ain't seen nothing yet.  In the words of Mrs Doyle (I told you I was a Father Ted fan), I can go on and on and on and...

Shut up and get on with it, Karen.

Getting wiggy with it

I went to see the hairdresser at the Macmillan Centre to get ahead (*cough*) of the game and get a wig before my hair fell out.  Ooh, my inner child emerged - so many lovely styles and colours!  I was like a kid in a sweet shop. 

I told the hairdresser I wanted a sassy wig.  I certainly didn't want one that made me look 'mumsy' but I wanted it to be different enough to my own hair so that I could wear it when I fancied a whole new look.  

I tried on all sorts of colours and styles, some of which made me look like my granny (and she's been dead for 50 years).  I narrowed it down to two wigs: a short platinum blonde one and a funkier, slightly longer honey blonde one with *natural* roots.   Ok, so the platinum blonde one was very similar to my own hair but it was gorgeous.

Both myself and the hairdresser were struggling to choose which one to go for as we thought they both looked equally great.  We dithered and ummmed and aaahhhed for ages and simply couldn't decide. 

Then another hairdresser walked into the room.  We both asked her which one she thought looked best.  

'The platinum one makes you look younger,' she said. 

'I'll take it'.  

Flip, how shallow can I be.

You put your left boob in, your left boob out

I was called back for a mammogram on my left boob.  The hospital's Multi Disciplinary Team had wondered if there was thickening in my left breast and I'd also noticed some occasional pain in my left armpit too.  

They took x-rays of slices of my left boob (honestly, it's not as bad as I've made it sound) which when put together would form a better picture.  I've said before that mammograms aren't exactly the nicest experience but nevertheless they are incredibly important.  At least this one was better than my last one where they stuck a wire in my boob.  

Later that day I was given the all clear on that side which was a relief. Phew.  

Every little piece of good news is one step nearer to survival.

50/50

I met the doctor who was going to look after my cancer treatment.  She explained to me that the cancer had been cut out and had now gone. YES!  I mentally punched the air.

The next bit of the conversation with her was quite eye opening.  She recommended that I had chemotherapy and radiotherapy because in my case the benefits (however small) would most likely outweigh the side effects.  

All along I was under the impression that I was going to get treatment come what may.  It was clear that I had a choice though.  If I didn't want treatment then that was fine.  What made my mind up was when the Doctor explained that out of say 100 people (I think that was the number she used), if I decided against treatment I could be in the 50% who got cancer again.  With treatment, the percentage would be much lower.

It was a no brainer.  I was going to become Chemo Karen.

Heart echo, echo, echo, echo...

I had to have an echocardiogram to check that my heart would be able to cope with chemotherapy.  It was a painless ultrasound examination and lasted about 10-15 minutes.  

I lay on the bed next to the screen whilst the cardiologist used the probe to look at my heart from the top, bottom and side.  I was watching on the monitor and then all of a sudden I could clearly see the little valves actually opening and closing.  It was jaw dropping.  

This piece of muscle - the size of my fist - was keeping me alive and if one of those valves suddenly stopped I would be in deep trouble.  I was praying that it didn't do anything funny on screen whilst I was watching.  I really would have had a heart attack.

Watching my heart pumping away was quite sobering.  At that moment, I decided that I would do all I could to look after my heart properly.  All the crap that I've eaten over the years and the lack of exercise made me realise in those 10 minutes that I needed to do more to look after my precious heart.  

There aren't many people who can actually get to 'see' their heart beating in front of them, in black and white.  I found it an incredibly humbling and quite emotional experience.  

Love your heart, people!  đź’–


PS

Let me know below if there's anything specific about my breast cancer journey you'd like me to blog about.

If you've enjoyed my blog, feel free to follow me on Twitter: @luvvacurry

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