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Entry 7 - The Day I Lost My Breast

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

The World as we have created it is a process of our thinking.

It can not be changed without changing our thinking. ~Albert Einstein

Dear Amaala,

The world we are currently living it is changing.  Changing in way we could never believe possible. People are spending more time at home.  Work is becoming secondary to time with children.  Politicians are working together for the sake of their country and not fighting over power. The elderly are being offered help by strangers. Communities are being created to offer support. Connections are running deeper than  a share or a like, they are real, they are human. The land is healing, pollution dropping, we are being reminded of the importance of being still.

The truth is that we are in difficult times. Fearful times. Uncertain times.

My one certainty is that these times were destined, that greater forces are at work, that in the end, this will pass and good will prosper.

I could have done with this level of consciousness in the Autumn of 2013.

August 2013

Now that I had shared my news with the  family, I was able to focus on dealing with the tumour that had decided to set up home in my left breast.  I could now see bruises all over my boob, caused mainly by the biopsy needed.

My nipple was firmly inverted, the skin around it dimpling severely. The most noticeable change in my breast now was the presence of the lump.  I hadn’t been able to see it much before but now, it stuck out of my breast tissue.  I became obsessed with touching it, trying to work out what the cancer cells were doing inside me.  I was afraid, so so full of fear.  If I could now see this lump, how fast was it actually growing? It felt like a golf ball, round in shape, slightly knobbly but as hard as a rock.

The day of my mastectomy couldn’t come around fast enough, I was desperate to have the cancer cut out of me as quickly as possible.

Daddy and I arrived at the Spire hospital in Gatwick on the day of my procedure.  I was very lucky to have private healthcare, which meant that my surgery came around just one week after my diagnosis.  I’m not sure I would have coped with the anxiety of having to wait 3 weeks which was the NHS timeframe I was given.

We arrived nice and early, and I was shown to my private room.  I was on the afternoon list so we knew I would be spending at least one night in hospital.  My mind wandered to the last time I stayed in hospital. I was 20 years old and had been taken to hospital for acute anaemia.  I was given an 8eight pint blood transfusion. We never understood what happened then; I was put on the oral contraceptive to reduce blood loss each month and sent home.

I now wonder if that was where things started to go wrong with my body? Did those 13 years of the pill lead to my diagnosis?  I guess it’s something I’ll never know for sure.

Daddy unpacked various things from my overnight bag to help me feel comfortable.  We smiled at the in room dinner menu which was ever so posh!  I had been fasting all morning so ticked every box on the leaflet. I was going to treat myself to fish and chips followed by crumble and custard when I came back from theatre

A nurse came in to the room and took my blood pressure, temperature and weight.  She left a gown and surgery socks behind which I put on as she left.  Next my consultant came in, he spoke of the procedure.  He apologised for having to remove my breast but told me it was for the best.

I looked down and my boobs for what would be the last time.  I asked Daddy to take some photographs for; I wanted to remember what it was like to have the two breasts I was born with on my chest. I felt so torn.  Saddened for what I was about to lose, but happy to be losing it because of the disease it held. 

Daddy and I stared at the TV screen as it played in the background, we were both fairly silent. I wondered what would be going through his mind. Did he wish he could just run away from it all? Run away from me? Or was that just me, projecting my fears, and what I actually wanted to do on to him? It was of course the latter.

Before we knew it, the nurse came back in to the room, asking if I was ready to go to theatre.

I kissed Daddy goodbye, we held each other, fear the overwhelming emotion. 

I had never had a general anaesthetic before.  I had no idea what to expect.

Daddy went home for a few hours as I headed to theatre. The nurse spoke to calm my nerves. I don’t recall a word she said.

We entered a room; this was where the final checks would be carried out. Confirmation of my name and date of birth, a check on the blood pressure, cannulas pierced by skin and lines were hung ready for the operation.

The anaesthetist came to me, he told me he would slowly put in a drug that would make me feel drowsy.  He asked me to count with him.  I stared, ‘One, two, three, four, five…’ I began to lose focus, I couldn’t remember the numbers, everything I could see blurred out of focus, I fell into a deep deep sleep.

I woke in the recovery room hours later. I was sore; I had tubes coming out of by chest, fluid filling in to a bag.  I later learned that these were called drains.  Small tube, stitched in under the skin to carry fluid away from the wound.

My breast was gone, where It once lived, a patch of white bandaging and surgical tape.

My armpit felt sore, lymph nodes had been taken from it, and the slightest of movement caused me pain and discomfort.

‘The procedure went well’, said the recovery nurse as I opened my eyes. She asked of my pain, I told her I felt sore. She gave me some morphine and then went away to call Daddy.  A short while later, I was transferred back to my room. As the bed wheeled through the door, I saw Daddy standing there. I was overwhelmed with emotion, so happy to have made it through the surgery, so happy to be back in his company.

I rested, as Daddy sat by my side.  He requested my food and helped me to eat. The drains still such a pain, my armpit still sore.

I struggled to eat, nausea kept turning my stomach upside down! Fish didn’t seem like such a great option now!

We watched some TV and as I dosed off, Daddy kissed me goodbye and headed home for the night.

I was so tired, tired from the diagnosis, still fresh in my head, tired from the surgery, tired of the thoughts of all that lay ahead.

I closed my eyes, and before I knew it, I fell asleep for the night.

Love Always, Mummy

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