Something and nothing

Bodies are weird things aren’t they?  And brains are even weirder.

In early May I developed a symptom of breast cancer.  The night I discover it, I lie awake for hours imagining all kinds of scenarios, none of them happy.  In the morning, I tell myself I am just being silly and try, extremely unsuccessfully, to forget about it for a few days.  But I know I’m not just being silly, so I go to the GP.  He says it is probably nothing to worry about but he’ll refer me to a consultant just in case.  I try to focus on the nothing to worry about part of that sentence, but it’s almost impossible.

It takes less than two weeks to see the consultant.  The NHS provides a truly outstanding service.  But two weeks when you probably don’t but might have breast cancer is pretty much like two years of normal life.  Overlaid with a constant unshakeable anxiety, which makes everything in your body so tight it’s like you’re a cashmere jumper that’s been boil washed.

On a biblical flood of a day, I see the consultant. She’s about the same age as my mother and very kind.  She sends me down the corridor to have a mammogram.  It hurts a lot.  I say ow out loud, and the mammogram lady says sorry.  I want to tell her that I’m not a wimp, that I’ve done childbirth without even gas and air, but I don’t.

There’s something there.  I’m sent to have an ultrasound, which shows up two things.  They might be nothing.  But we’d better check, just in case.

So I have a biopsy.  It’s horrible.  Really horrible.  But I feel an odd kind of relief.  I’m going to find out what’s wrong and knowing is better than not knowing.  Because I’m sure something IS wrong.

Back to the consultant who says I’m brave and there’s no point worrying.  I drive home through the torrential rain and cry.

Another week to wait. Another week of imagining unhappy scenarios at three in the morning.  There’s no point imagining the worst until it’s happened, I tell a friend who is worrying about something. Ha.

Back again to see the consultant on a warm sunny morning.  A month to the day since I discovered the symptom and she tells me it’s good news before we’ve even made it into the consulting room.  Whatever it was doesn’t require treatment or follow up.  I can go.

I expect to feel flooded with relief but instead I’m numb and my scalp still feels like boiled wool.  It’s as if my brain has got so used to worry that it can’t loosen it’s vice like grip.  Intellectually I’m happy, but it’s hard to actually feel it.  I know I’m lucky.  Really lucky.

Life moves on but I’ve still got a headache.  Brains are funny things.

  1. My heart was in my mouth reading this and I honesty don’t think that I have the right words but I couldn’t possibly not say anything at all. I can’t pretend to begin to understand all that you have been through but you have been so incredibly brave. And I know you’re not one for big virtual *hugs* and the like but I am, so I’m sending them anyway along with lots of love x

    • Victoria said:

      Thank you, I’m not averse to a virtual hug when the occasion merits it.

  2. Julie said:

    So, so glad it’s good news, but like Mostly yummy says, can’t imagine how frightening it must have been x

    • Victoria said:

      It was horrible, but at least the outcome couldn’t have been better.

  3. eggdipdip said:

    Blimey Wallop. Health scares are…well, scary. You had me on tenterhooks there, but I’m glad you don’t need any treatment or follow up. It’s funny the way we react to these things. Sometimes it doesn’t hit you until ages afterwards. Be kind to yourself young lady. These sort of shenanigans can take the wind out of your sails for a bit.

    • Victoria said:

      Yes, it’s weird how it the effect can be delayed. Feeling much better now.

  4. this is such an amazing post. You sum it all up so well. I can’t tell you how relieved I am that all is well. It seemed like a never ending nightmare…..and that was just from the sidelines!

    • Victoria said:

      Thanks lovely x

    • Victoria said:


  5. Kelly said:

    I know that feeling well, like all of that adrenaline and worry whatevers are imbeded in you and won’t go away. It takes time to process news, good or bad. So happy that it was good news for you. I am glad that it has all been resolved. Much love as always x

    • Victoria said:

      I’m finally getting there.

  6. What a horrible time you’ve had! I suppose your brain has prepared for the worst & now has to recalibrate. So pleased for you it’s over.

    • Victoria said:

      Yes, that’s exactly it, but it’s better now thankfully.

  7. Anita said:

    wow. so glad it ended well. xxx

    • Victoria said:

      Thank you, I was a bit distracted when I saw you after the wedding, that was why. X

  8. oh I read this then went back and read it again with such relief. what you must have gone through worrying. I’m so glad it’s all ok and i hope that the worry part has subsided. hugs for you.

    k xx

    • Victoria said:

      It has, thank you x

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