By the date today, 17th November it is an entire year since I had a left, skin sparing mastectomy – today is Saturday and last year the actual day of the surgery was a Friday. Yesterday morning I woke at 4.45am and found myself crying. This was no good as it was a school day and the invincible Mrs O doesn’t do weepy stuff anymore. Apparently, I still do. I’m pleased to say that by the time I went in the shower I had cried it out. I put a post on Facebook as follows:
“Mixed emotions this morning as this time last year I was having a bit of toast and a cup of lemon tea before heading up to Derriford for nuclear meds and surgery. Relief to be here today and sadness it all had to happen. Onwards and upwards. Lots to be grateful for.”
I have got lots to be grateful for. Last week Maddy from the Primrose Unit and Michelle one of the D2B dancers and I were interviewed by Michael Chequer at BBC Radio Devon. We could not have been made to feel more welcome, it was so relaxed and we all laughed as we talked about cancer, diagnosis, what comes next and the £12,947.33 raised by the ball. I’m not sure how long this link will last but here is the recording… we are on from 1hr 8mins.
There are plenty of other things to be grateful for too. I’m very grateful to the radiographer who ultrasounded (can that be a verb?) my neck and found that the lump which had been felt at a previous oncology visit was not a tumour, was not a chunk of brass or indeed a bolt but nothing more malign than a large, chunky and prominent lymph node – phew! I’m very grateful to Mr Y’s registrar, Dr T, who I went to see first thing on Monday 5th November in Oncology who discussed the results and talked through the side effects of Exemestane. I have decided to put up with the volcanic hot flushes and pyroclastic temperatures rather than take any additional medication, particularly if it makes me erupt and feel dizzy…. there aren’t many opportunities to lie down in the teaching profession. I’m very grateful that Dr T had a sense of humour when I told him about all the proper poorly looking people waiting for him in reception and that I felt a bit of a fraud in my school armour and lanyards. I’m also grateful for my colleagues who allow me to decompress from each hospital visit before coming back into school. I’m grateful to Nick for coming with me on these appointments and not rolling his eyes too much when I say something daft to the medical professionals like I did to Dr T…. “did you know that Venlafaxine is an anti-depressant as well as something to control hot flushes, so do you all think I am a looper….” apparently he did know that and the dose I’d been given was so small it wouldn’t affect any mental health issues I have. I could tell he could tell because he was wearing both a lanyard and a stethoscope – no white coat though but I’m sure he was a real doctor.
I’m not at all grateful for the sodding, impossible car park which at 8am was a challenge!
Below: Michelle, Maddy, Me at the BBC Studios in Plymouth and in the background our host Michael Chequer who was not chubby at all.