Entry 3 - Everything Changed
Updated: Nov 22, 2020
It was the Summer of 2013 when life as we knew it would change forever. I had noticed some abnormalities in my left breast, the nipple had inverted and despite numerous attempts, it refused to return to normal. Daddy told me to go and see the doctor, so I eventually booked an appointment. I walked in to the GP’s room, she examined me and told me there was nothing to worry about, to carry on with life as usual and to return to the Dr if the issue hadn’t resolved itself over the coming weeks and months.
By this time I had asked Dr Google an awful lot of questions about my boob! Each time, the potential cause that stayed in my head was ‘BREAST CANCER’. There was every chance that things could be just fine, but my gut told me that I shouldn’t leave without a referral. So I calmly turned to the Dr and asked her to send me to a specialist, after she tried to dissuade me, we finally decided that she would make the referral.
Within a few weeks I found myself heading to the breast clinic at East Surrey Hospital. I held on to the GPs words, that there was nothing wrong, that there were no lumps in my breast, that everything was ok?
The specialist called me into her room and asked me to remove my top and my bra. She examined me with her hands and turned to say, ‘Kreena, have you come here alone?’
‘Yes’ I replied.
I had simply nipped out from work to seek reassurance that all was well. ‘Next time, please bring someone along with you,’ concern in her voice.
Instantly the alarm bells began to ring, if there was a next time, there was now a real chance that something clearly wasn’t right.
‘I can feel two lumps in your breast, we need to get them tested immediately’ And just like that, my worst fears flooded my mind, this really could be cancer!
She attempted to arrange a biopsy and mammogram whilst i waited but was unable to, so she asked that I go home and advised I would receive a call if a space became available.
In an absolute daze I left the hospital. I couldn’t comprehend what was going on. Bizarrely, after being so sure in the GP’s surgery, I now couldn’t accept that something was wrong with me, is this what denial looks like?
I chose not to drive home, instead I returned to work, sat at my desk and opened up an excel spreadsheet to distract from the demons running around in my head.
Within an hour, I received a call, it was the hospital, they had found a space for a mammogram at Crawley hospital and asked me attend as soon as possible. With that, I packed my bags, excused myself from work (without sharing the truth), and slipped off, alone again, to the appointment.
Five days later I found myself back at East Surrey Hospital, this time with Neelam masi heading for a biopsy on what was now confirmed as a mass in my left breast. I hadn’t told masi why I needed her to attend an appointment with me, I didn’t know how to, or when to. Ahead of getting in the car at her parents house, there was chatter all around. Everyone talking about the ordinary. Neelam asked if we could drop her aunt into Redhill on the way to the hospital,
I replied, my heart breaking into pieces every second that this journey was prolonged for. After the drop off, we continued to drive.
‘Nee, I have something to tell you about this appointment and I’m not sure how to share it’ ‘Are you having difficulty conceiving?’ she replied ‘I wish that was my only problem right now. We are going to hospital for a biopsy, I have a lump in my breast, I think I have breast cancer.’
I managed not to cry as I told her this, I had spent the weeks since discovering the nipple inversion slowly but surely building my walls, creating an army around my heart, ensuring I didn’t share my weakness, not falling apart. Holding my sh*t together but dying inside. I hadn’t told a soul aside from Daddy about my potential prognosis, even to him I would lie, I’d reassure him that it would all be fine, all the time knowing inside that it was quite the opposite.
Neelam masi managed to continue driving as I shared my news, she too managed to hold back any tears, each of us, remaining strong for the sake of the other.
The appointment was difficult, for more reasons that one which I will share later, however, eventually, I lay myself on the bed in a dark room, an ultrasound machine next to me, masi holding my hand.
She watched the screen as I closed my eyes, finding a way to breathe through the pain. The biopsy needle was triggered into my breast an almighty 12 times. Each time, drawing back a piece of the mass as it surfaced.
Eventually it was over, I sat on the side of the bed, tears of pain streaming down my face, I turned to the nurse and asked her what she had seen, with a cold face, no compassion she turned to me and said, ‘It’s not looking good, but it’s the weekend, next weekend is a bank holiday so you’ll have to wait up to 14 days for the results.’
I quickly gathered my belongings and Neelam masi suggested we stop in the café for a hot chocolate. We sat, neither of us sure what to say, so I began. ‘I have breast cancer’ ‘I won’t lie’, she replied. ‘I agree’
Tears filled both our eyes, a release for me, finally someone to share my fears with. Empathy from her, how did it come to this?
We spoke about the appointment, about the lead up to it, what she had seen on the screen in that room.
‘I saw masses, I saw the needle go in and out, I felt your pain in my hand’ ‘I’m going to lose my breast’ I replied.
‘Lets hope they can save it’ she returned.
A short while later we got back into the car, the rest is a blur. Somehow I got home, I went to my room and sat. I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I started preparing my clothes for a fancy dress party I was due to attend the next day………. because, when things seem dark, dressing up as a fictional character can somehow make things better!
Daddy returned home later that day and found me upstairs, I explained all that had happened, I was angry and my head felt like it was about to explode.
‘You will be fine, don’t assume the worst, wait for the results and you’ll see’ In his own world of denial, we hugged, we talked, we sat and then went downstairs for dinner.
The next day Daddy suggested we cancel all our plans, I refused to. So I got up, dressed as Smurfette and went to a birthday party, the biopsy sites sore, my left breast covered in bruises.
That day I painted my face blue, I covered it all, every emotion I felt, every fear residing within me, it was all painted over, in its place an artificial smile plastered, one that I would call upon time and time again over the coming weeks, months and even years. This was just the beginning, who knew how much the years to come would bring,
All my love, Mummy xx