The next step for me was to get a date as quickly as possible for the Core Biopsy as I, quite naturally, wanted to understand what I was dealing with sooner rather than later. When I say, “I wanted to know”, I did, and I didn’t but ignoring it wasn’t an option. I did sometimes catch myself thinking wistfully about the days before I felt the lump, though.
The date the hospital came back with was no good. It was too far in advance and also, worse, it was on one of the days I was due to be in New York celebrating one of my best friend’s birthdays.
Let’s call her Doris for the sake of anonymity (she’ll love that), and I had been SERIOUSLY looking forward to the gang holiday! I know that in the grand scheme of things, getting some trouble-making shit out of my body should have been my top priority, but it wasn’t. I’m a stubborn bitch, and I hate being dictated to. That includes casting a major shadow on everyone over a landmark with my friends.
I quickly decided to utilise my private healthcare benefit that I had as part of my job package and contacted them the next morning. They provided me with a date of two days later! So I jumped at that and forgot about it again for a day and a half.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of a Core Biopsy, then allow me to explain. It is most unpleasant. Is it the worse thing that can ever happen to you? No way. Am I a bit dramatic? Yes. But it is still utterly rubbish.
The other, ultra spooky thing that was occurring at this time was that the Doris mentioned above was going through the same process of discovery as me, but was about two weeks ahead of me. She’d had the core biopsy and confirmed that it was unpleasant, to say the least. Let’s call her Doris to ensure I don’t over share. She’ll love that.
Doris had told me that it was very uncomfortable, partly painful and that she was mega bruised afterwards. Now, she is a tiny thing, so I thought I’d be ok because I have a lot more padding than she does! The staff at the private hospital were fantastic. Amazing. They got me settled onto the bed and explained everything as nicely as they could.
There is just no way to sugar-coat the fact that you’re going to be stabbed with a very thick, hollow needle which is going to then chop a bit out of a lump living inside your boob, but they made a top effort!
The trolley bed was up against a wall, and the nurses advised me to lie sort of on my side with my right boob available to the doctor. They also encouraged me to look away as it wasn’t going to be pleasant to watch. They gave me a small injection to numb the whole area, and I followed their instructions. I do not ‘do’ being brave when it comes to me and looking and needles!
What we all failed to realise was that by placing me facing towards a pristine white wall with the light behind the doctor, they hadn’t appreciated that when he approached me with the whopper of a hypodermic needle in his hand, that his shadow would grow and distort. In essence, making him look like a ghoul or character out of any cheesy horror film you can think of! I’m thinking Vincent Price, Hammer House of Horror! Fortunately, that sort of thing makes me giggle, and although they thought I was a bit bonkers, they were impressed. Honest.
Note: A real horror film makes me shit myself. Wuss.
The needle didn’t ‘hurt’ going in, but it was massively uncomfortable, and I could feel it inside me, scraping around against ‘stuff’. That was a bit much. Still, I held it together and got plastered up and told how brave I was, etc. As I’d chosen to go to this appointment by myself, I was all ready to go fairly quickly and felt bruised, but ok.
Outside and in my car, alone, I felt incredibly sorry for myself and violated. A sort of “Why the fuck does this my boob need to be mauled like this?” type of feeling, so I had another good cry in the car for the requisite 30 seconds. Then straight home to mum and off to the pub for red wine and lovely food! This routine had become the done thing for us following all of the appointments. We shared a decent bottle of red and talked through what was going on, a lot of unanswerable ‘what-if’ type stuff, but mostly non-depressing.
I commiserated with Doris over a text as I could now share the horror of having this done and we moaned together. Her results were due soon, well before her New York trip and she was anxious to get those. The hospital had asked me when I wanted to know about the results and had offered to tell me the day before I travelled, but because I had a weird feeling about the results, I chose to be told on the day I returned. I figured I’d get the epic holiday out of the way without event and then deal with the shite afterwards!
We were due to fly in and land in the morning on Tuesday, and so I scheduled to go and see Mr S that afternoon. Smart of me, because jetlag always helps in ANY situation, I find.
Having passed that milestone, I completely played to the crowd about my boob looking like a dog had mauled it! I showed the bruising to any girls that wanted to see and was secretly fascinated and in awe of this purple and green mess that was now the side of my brave chest! The results thing, I put in a box in my head and got on with life.
I know people might think that when you have this going on in your life, that it is all you think about and obsess over, but it just wasn’t that way for me. I’m not built to get all upset and wallow about things. The only time I like wasting time is if it’s sat on my sofa, surfing the net and buying crap and then I’m the world’s leading authority! Being negative doesn’t interest me either. Just because I had a feeling that the lump would be malignant, doesn’t in any way convey that I was pessimistic. I wanted to know, get the necessary information, have it dealt with expertly and then have it get the fuck out of me.
Before we went to NYC, I had a call from Doris, feeling the relief down the phone line. She had been given the all-clear. There are no words I can summon to describe how happy I was about that. As soon as I came off the phone, smiling, I remember saying to myself, ‘Oh well. It is me, then’ just in a matter of fact way. In a completely non-dramatic way, I just felt that both of us wouldn’t get away with it for some reason.
Next episode: Shit gets real. Ish.